Campaign to help feral dogs on reserves

Bragg Creek: Shop owner collecting dry dog food for homeless pets

By: By Carmen Solana-Martin

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 05:53 pm

Elizabeth Fermor and her Shepard Cross Bruno are accepting donations of unopened bags of dry dog food at the Best Little Wordhouse in the West in Bragg Creek until Dec. 31 on behalf of Dogs with No Names.
Elizabeth Fermor and her Shepard Cross Bruno are accepting donations of unopened bags of dry dog food at the Best Little Wordhouse in the West in Bragg Creek until Dec. 31 on behalf of Dogs with No Names.
Carmen Solana-Martin

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A caring Bragg Creek store owner is once again asking her community to help feed homeless dogs during this season of giving.

Elizabeth Fermor, owner of The Best Little Wordhouse in the West, is collecting unopened bags of dry dog food on behalf of Dogs with No Names until Dec. 31.

Dogs with No Names, an internationally recognized contraceptive implant program for unclaimed female dogs on First Nations communities, was created by Dr. Judith Samson-French, a veterinarian and owner of Banded Peak Veterinary Hospital in Bragg Creek.

The project, which helps reduce the population of unwanted puppies on First Nations communities by implanting feral female dogs with non-surgical contraceptive implants, is recognized by the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs.

“Since the inception of the project in 2001, over 300 dogs have been micro-chipped and implanted,” said Samson-French. “We are looking after dogs that live outside and that no one claims.”

Unwanted dogs are also dropped off and abandoned at the First Nations communities by people from Calgary, according to Samson-French.

Samson-French said she and her team, Lori Rogers, Mona Jorgensen and Alex Bogner, always leave a bag of dry dog food when implanting the dogsWho do they leave the bag with? They just leave the bag on the ground or do these dogs live at First Nation homes? .

She said the dog food program started as a way for her team to get close to the dogs in order to implant them.

“They are so scared and feral and they wait for us to drive away and then get the food. On our third or fourth visit they come out,” she said. “The need to bring dog food came from that (fear).”

On Dec. 16, Samson-French and her team will take 1,000 pounds of dog food, dog houses and blankets, and check on the health of dogs they have implanted.

“There is everything at stake to keep the dogs healthy and alive,” said Samson-French. “It is part of community health and animal health.”

Since 2009, they have dropped off more than 50,000 pounds of dog food to feed hungry dogs on the Tsuu T’ina, Eden Valley and Siksika First Nations.

Besides collecting food for the project, Fermor said she also hopes to raise awareness.

“It’s a worthwhile cause and if you know the plight of the animals you would do it again and again,” said Fermor. “If people treated animals with the same respect they treat each other with, how much more pleasant would the world be?”

People who donate will be able to attach their pet’s photo on a doggie Christmas tree displayed on the window of Fermor’s store.

Last December, Fermor collected 2,000 pounds of dry dog food and she hopes this year’s dog food drive will be as successful.

“At the end of November people were already asking me if I was going to do it again,” said Fermor. “Due to the continued support of the community I would love to make this an annual event.

“It’s exceptional, that at Christmas, such a busy time of year Elizabeth goes through the extra work to help feed the Dogs with No Names,” said Samson-French.

Pet Planet in Okotoks sells Pearlmarks, a bookmark and a pair of fresh water pearl earrings, from Samson-French’s co-owned Lotus Lines jewellery company.

A kilogram of dog food is given to dogs for each pair sold.

“Thanks to all these supporters we can move forward,” said Samson-French.

Samson-French’s latest book “39 Ways To Not Kill Your Best Friend” is available for sale at Fermor’s store and proceeds from the book go towards the project.

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