Walk a dog – you may just save a life

Dan Yarwood is just one of the many people who have volunteered to spend time with some of the Kitimat Humane Society’s residents.

Shelter manager Maryann Ouellet said Yarwood first visited the shelter when he arrived in town to work on the Kitimat Modernization Project, keen to take part in the dog walking program, along with other KMP camp workers.

“The program was a great success and very beneficial to our shelter, the canines and the cats,” said Ouellet.

“Some preferred cats and would sit and groom them and spend time with them, whereas Dan and the rest of the crew walked our dogs.”

She said many of the workers had family or pets at home, whom they really missed.

“The program allowed the workers to get out and spend time with an animal companion and take a break from the job, which helped them to cope with being apart from their families and pets,” said Ouellet.

“Some took their favourite companions hiking, on fishing trips, even camping.”

She said some of the shelter’s residents were later adopted by the workers.

Yarwood’s favourite was Max the brindle pitbull, the two becoming inseparable friends during Yarwood’s time in Kitimat.

The program suffered a setback, however, when the KMP ended and the workers left Kitimat, including Yarwood.

“It was a sad day to see the camp finish. There was a lot of tearful goodbyes to our new-found friends,” said Ouellet.

Harwood never forgot Max, though, and would come back to Kitimat to visit him, almost knocking him over in excitement when he walked in the door.

She said Yarwood never got to say goodbye to Max, who passed away before Yarwood could make a return visit.

When Yarwood did return to Kitimat, it was to share fond memories of Max, and of course to walk the dogs again.

Harwood again returned to Kitimat a few weeks ago once again and came in to walk some of the dogs, which is when he met his new friend, Kimbo the pitbull mix, who has gone some way in helping him deal with Max’s passing.

“It’s always sad to see Yarwood leave, but we know he will be back,” said Ouellet.

She added that the dog walking program is still available and appealed to Kitimat residents to take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to spend time with the shelter’s residents.

Anyone interested in getting involved can contact Ouellet at the shelter on 250-632-7373 to arrange an evening on which they can take dogs for a walk.

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