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Displaced dogs looking for homes

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

KEVIN LAMB/PHOTO 
Joy, a husky mix dressed as a pumpkin and Drift, a German shepherd mix in Batman garb, happily show off their Halloween costumes in advance of the Oct. 28 event that is a fundraiser for local groups that rescue dogs from northern Ontario. Joy was a community street dog in Sandy Lake near the Manitoba border and has now found a home with Dee-Anne Benson. Drift was surrendered by a family that could not afford to keep the dog due to sky-high food prices in northern communities and now lives with Ashley Viger.

KEVIN LAMB/PHOTO Joy, a husky mix dressed as a pumpkin and Drift, a German shepherd mix in Batman garb, happily show off their Halloween costumes in advance of the Oct. 28 event that is a fundraiser for local groups that rescue dogs from northern Ontario. Joy was a community street dog in Sandy Lake near the Manitoba border and has now found a home with Dee-Anne Benson. Drift was surrendered by a family that could not afford to keep the dog due to sky-high food prices in northern communities and now lives with Ashley Viger.

SPRINGWATER TWP. -- Dress up your dog, and yourself, to make a difference during a special Halloween event.

The fifth annual Finding Them a Home (FTH) fundraising walk-a-thon takes place at the Giffen Farm near Minesing on Oct. 28.

Participants deck out their doggies in costume and make a donation to FTH efforts.

The pooch-friendly event is organized by James Bay Pawsitive Rescue, which reaches out to remote First Nations communities in Northern Ontario that have no access to any type of veterinary care.

"Our mission is to help communities along the James Bay coast and other remote locations to reduce the over-population of dogs by finding them forever homes, running spay/neuter clinics and providing donated food and supplies," FTH spokeswoman Shellie Houle said.

More than 1,700 dogs have been adopted out since Finding Them a Home volunteers began their do-good doggy deeds in September 2012, with many of them ending up in loving Barrie homes and across Simcoe County, she said.

The organization reaches out to more than 25 remote communities in Ontario with the assistance of Northern Reach, a rescue network group based out of Thunder Bay. The dogs are flown there from their communities where Northern Reach places them into short-term foster care until local volunteers can drive up with a donated van and transport the dogs to Barrie.

Most will either be a husky, shepherd or lab mix due to the extreme weather that they survive in.

"Once these amazing northern dogs have made it to Barrie, they go straight into foster care, are vet checked, any necessary vet treatment given and then placed up for adoption," Houle said.

"FTH works closely with these communities to not only rescue stray dogs but also with owners who have made the heart-wrenching decision to surrender their animal so that it can have a more peaceful life and get the medical care that it requires," she added.

But the FTH spay/neuter clinics also allow some owners to keep their dogs, Houle said, adding volunteers are the backbone of the organization.

"When we travel to Thunder Bay, we ensure that we have a van full of dog food, crates and dog coats and Northern Reach ships them to the communities in need," she said. "A bag of dog food is upwards of $80 in the northern stores. Imagine how heart breaking it is to not be able to provide basic food to your pet."

Finding Them a Home is a charitable organization recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency.

The Oct. 28 event will take place at the Giffen Farm, 1108 Glengarry Landing Road North and begins at 10 a.m.

To learn more about Finding Them a Home and how you can help, visit www.findingthemhomes.com.

imcinroy@postmedia.com



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