Helping Paws and Lucky Rabbit's Feet
Kelowna, BC September 22, 2010 -- Animal groups are helping one another in Kelowna on Saturday, September 25th with a Yard Sale, a BBQ and an educational visit at CrocTalk at 4493 Stewart Road East (visit www.croctalk.com for map directions).
The Canadian Disaster Animal Response Team (CDART) is the emergency animal rescue division of Critteraid, one of the oldest animal charities in British Columbia. CDART volunteers visited the CrocTalk facility during the summer with a view to learning how to safely evacuate CrocTalk animals during a disaster. While there, the volunteers noticed an abundance of bunnies and guinea pigs. CrocTalk's Doug Illman explained that the wee critters were dropped off as a gift of food for the crocodilians, but that he didn't have it in him to serve them up as dinner for Lucy, Alli and Lucky, the American alligators with the larger appetites.
As nature would have it, the CrocTalk bunny population and wee pig population grew in size and continued to do so until Doug requested some help from CDART. Saving lagomorphs and cavvies during non-emergencies is not what the CDART team is used to doing. However, based on the experience of the volunteer team, they quickly stepped up and developed a plan to lend a hand to one of Kelowna's animal educational facilities.
With the additional help of the experienced TRACS volunteers, the bunny program was put in place and all the bunnies were examined, and spayed and neutered by Dr. Mul at the Lakeshore Animal Clinic. TRACS volunteers treated the bunnies for earmites. CrocTalk kept one pregnant bunny for their educational program for the younger human visitors and arrangements were made to monitor the birth of the babies and ensure that they would all be examined, spayed and neutered as well. One big white mom, gave birth to a brood of babies at the end of August. The bunnies, all Flemish giants, are a bit more unusual than the Enterprise Way bunnies that Kelowna residents are used to. Flemish giants can grow fairly big and they are not as popular as the more petite bunnies. The TRACS volunteers adapted one of the sanctuaries to accommodate their new friends and within a day, the CrocTalk group was all settled in and they seemed appreciative, away from the fate that they had been heading for.
Guinea pigs were quickly separated into female and male groups thanks to Dr. Mul and the Westbank Animal Clinic's, Dr. Darcy Rae supported the cause with help for the neutering of the male wee pigs. Putting the females under anesthetic was felt to be too risky. As long as the males were all fixed, there would be no more complications with a population explosion (almost every one of the 11 females were found to be pregnant). CrocTalk kept 6 of the wee pigs with Frankie, the patriarch heading the family group. Frankie, now fixed, will no longer be making any babies. So far, nine babies have been born and all are available for adoption. More births are expected within the month.
All the animals were named and personalities noted. People can check these animals out on the TRACS website for the bunnies at www.tracs-bc.ca and the CDART website for the wee pigs at www.cdart.org. Adoption fairs have started at PetSmart, Total Pet, Sunshine Pets and Pet Planet and fundraisers have already begun to help pay for the ongoing costs of the project as well as the initial surgical costs. All the local shops have been absolutely wonderful in helping the CDART team showcase these animals and letting the public know about the needs of these little family pets.
This Saturday, September 25th is the first fundraiser, taking place at CrocTalk starting at 9:00am with a Yard Sale. CDART volunteers are known for putting on excellent yard sales so vehicles with space are recommended! In addition to excellent shopping, a BBQ is also taking place from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Hamburgers and drink for $5 or hot dogs and drink for $3 are offered as well as vegetarian BBQ fare. There will also be guided tours offered throughout the day. CrocTalk has generously donated half the day's guided tours admission revenues towards funding the bunny/guinea pig project. They are very appreciative of the help they are getting from this special team of volunteers.
Watch for more news of future events including an Adoption Fair at Sunshine Pets on Louie Drive in West Kelowna on October 2nd.
The blending of the animal welfare groups to help animals in need is truly inspirational and while nobody wants to see the crocs at CrocTalk go hungry, they just want to spare their diet from the bunnies and guinea pigs that were once thought of as a nice, light snack.