Employees from Bechtel and other camp workers have combined with the Kitimat Animal Shelter for a terrific cause. A number of workers have volunteered both time and financial resources to assist in helping animals.
“We had quite a few of the guys who were missing their pets after being in camp for six weeks at a time. They actually approached us to see if we could use dog walkers and we said yes and the word kind of spread,” says shelter manager Maryann Oullet. “Some of the drivers or activity leaders got wind of the idea and they started to arrange dog walking programs.”
The dog walking program has been going on now for about a month-and-a-half. The program eventually blossomed into a sponsor a pet program as well. These volunteers are not only contributing by walking dogs, but by coming by the shelter to spend time and socialize with the animals and also contribute financially.
“There’s a few people now that are sponsoring a pet and what they do with the sponsor a pet program is they pay for spaying and neutering and having them altered, they will help pay towards their care and feed and medical bills and that type of thing,” says Oullet.
In a town like Kitimat with so many transient workers involved in industry jobs, it’s a perfect fit for everybody. The workers can get their animal fix while they are away from home without having the responsibility that comes with owning a pet. Many volunteers have even offered to foster an animal while they are living here.
“They can come in and spend as much time as they want and have their pet fulfillment here and then go home in the end and not have to worry about the permanent responsibility,” says Oullet. “It works great both ways, and in some of the cases if they are living in town they are fostering the animal for us until we can find a place for them.”
Oullet was thrilled when the Bechtel representatives came forward with this idea. She has been blown away by the positive response to the programs and notes it’s been a steady stream of volunteers between Bechtel and the camp workers.
“The last two weeks we’ve had 12 to 15 of them down here walking dogs. Some of them take the dogs on two to three hour hikes and others will come in on their days off to pick up dogs and spend the day with them down on the river and that type of thing,” says Oullet. “The Bechtel workers have also helped with advertising and try to come up with fundraising ideas to help us out.” Oullet is overwhelmed with the success of the programs, and in some cases the bond between the animal is so strong that the temporary relationship becomes a permanent one.
“We are very happy because it helps alleviate some of the stress. In some cases the pets end up being permanently adopted because the families become very attached,” says Oullet.