A Calgary-based charitable organization that specializes in keeping owners and their pets together through subsidized pet care for low-income individuals will be hosting a free wellness clinic in Airdrie in partnership with a local vet on Dec. 3.
Parachutes for Pets is an organization that services southern Alberta communities, helping seniors, veterans, foster children, victims of violence, and low-income families care for their pets through accessible programs and resources.
According to founder Melissa David, the non-profit organization is partnering with local veterinarian office Fen Vet for the holiday wellness clinic, which will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants are encouraged to register for the clinic beforehand to reserve their spot.
“If you know anybody in Airdrie that’s struggling right now, we really want to make sure our seniors are aware of this,” David said in an interview. “Anyone that’s struggling with pet care right now and needs their pets [checked], please reach out to us, because we want to make sure they get a slot.”
The organization ensures owners can care for their pets by providing paid-for pet food, and veterinarian services. The holiday wellness clinic, hosted each year around Christmastime, includes free pet vaccinations and wellness check-ups.
David said Christmas can be an especially hard time for many pet owners, financially and otherwise.
“Anything that’s going on you might need help with, we offer this vet clinic, and we go an extra mile, and every pet gets to go home with a stocking full of toys and treats,” she said.
There will also be a goodie bag for the owners to take home with them including some hygiene items and treats as well.
“It’s just a really good, feel-good day, and it is one of the foundations of our organization,” David said, adding the non-profit has hosted the annual clinic for four consecutive years. “We just love doing this [event], we are so excited about it.”
According to David, this year’s event is going to be the most important wellness clinic the organization has hosted due to economic struggles ongoing throughout the pandemic and into 2022.
“Pet care, preventative care, is so important. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” she said. “But right now, when people are paying over $10 for lettuce, they don’t have that extra money to put into preventative care.”
She said it’s important that pet owners provide their furry friends with check-ups. The free clinic aims to alleviate stress and to foster a bond between the owner and their pet.
“We all love our furry friends and it's important that we can provide them the opportunity to have them looked at," she said. “I'm sure it's stressful for [the owners] because it's not that they don't want to get them looked at, but I mean, the money's not there.”
In previous years, the event has been held at veterinarian clinics across Calgary, and this is the first clinic hosted outside the large urban centre, said David.
“This year, we got chatting with the good folks at Fenn Vet in Airdrie and we haven’t been able to offer our services out to Airdrie yet,” she said. “They came on board, and we’ve put it out to the citizens of Airdrie and the response has been really good so far. It’s the first of its kind in Airdrie.”
She said though the organization services communities across southern Alberta, the majority of their assistance and sponsorship comes from Calgary, which is home to more resources than smaller cities and communities.
“It’s tough to get a smaller town or city vet clinic able to free up enough resources to do this event,” she said. “We were so excited when Fenn Vet said they will make this happen. We feel very strongly that Airdrie could benefit from this
“And we’re hoping, other smaller areas will see this and take the initiative and reach out, maybe we can continue this going.”
David said she reached out to Airdrie’s low-income housing support group and senior clubs, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
She added what has stayed consistent over the years is the involvement of the Stampede City Kinsmen, who have put forward a lot of sponsorship each year to make the clinic happen.
“A bunch of [the Stampede City Kinsmen] live in Airdrie, so they’re going to be on-site that day and I think we’re just all excited to come to Airdrie,” she said. “We hope this is the beginning of a lot more in Airdrie.”
To register for the upcoming event, visit parachutesforpets.com