“Saving one animal will not save the world, but surely for that one animal the world will change forever.”
That is the philosophy behind the Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue (RMAR), located near Canmore. The organization rescues hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats from the Morley Reserve every year.
“As heartbreaking as it is, some pet owners who no longer want their pets abandon them on the reserve,” said Rory O’Neill, dog behavourist and director of RMAR.
“Dogs and cats are often abandoned, usually un-sprayed and un-neutered so puppies and kittens are born; they often freeze, starve or are mauled by other animals. It is devastating.”
RMAR has been an official non-profit organization for about two years but O’Neill has been rescuing animals for almost 20 years. She spent two months in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina rescuing abandoned, starving and injured animals.
“I was breaking into houses with axes and crowbars where dogs and cats had been starving for weeks,” said O’Neill.
“It was complete chaos, everything was corrupt. I have never seen anything so devastating in my life. It was so sad.”
Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue also helps Chihuahuas and small mix breeds from the Tijuana, Mexico pound, where street dogs are ruthlessly “rounded up” and killed.
“They are left to die, roaming, starving and breeding. It is really painful for them, they are wounded, scared and starving,” said O’Neill.
In addition, RMAR provides rescue, rehabilitation, socialization, housebreaking, training, foster care and veterinary care for homeless animals in Alberta. The organization is funded by donations only and is struggling financially.
To that end, Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue is hosting a fundraiser in Airdrie, June 26 at the Legion.
“The event will include entertainment by Airdrie’s Steady the Wheel, a 50/50 draw, silent auction items including a kitty condo, dog blankets, framed artwork, purses and scarves and cutlery,” said Shelley Whalen, organizer of the fundraiser.
“It will be a really fun, family-friendly event and it is for such a great cause. Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue is a one-woman show and Rory is amazing. She doesn’t have a shelter and runs this out of her home.”
O’Neill said she hopes the fundraiser will raise about $2,000 and the money will go towards primary veterinary bills, an expansion of the rescue centre and dog and cat food.
She said the organization also needs volunteers and people willing to foster animals.
“There are so many animals that need help and it is such a good feeling to give an animal a home that would otherwise be homeless and could die,” said O’Neill.
Tickets to the fundraiser cost $12.50 and can be purchased by calling 403-316-0034. Doors open at 6 p.m. on June 26 and the show starts at 7 p.m.
If you would like to volunteer for RMAR or are interested in fostering animals, email email@example.com or visit www.rockymountainanimalrescue.com