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Parachutes for Pets facing unprecedented calls for help from Calgarians

Between unprecedented calls for support, and a new low in donations made by the community, Parachute for Pets was unable to support over a dozen furry friends earlier this week.

Parachutes for Pets received 17 calls on Aug. 9 from pet owners requesting help from a veterinarian.

The organization had to decline because of the more than $33,000 that support would have cost. It’s an amount that Parachute for Pets said it doesn’t have available.

“That’s 17 different pet owners that are reaching out to us because they don’t have the funds to support their pets with whatever vet emergency came up,” said Alicia Jeffrey, Parachute for Pets events and fundraising coordinator.

According to Jeffery, the organization has never faced that number of calls for help in a short period of time.

She said the organization was saddened to not be able to support 17 different families in need of vet care, and that they understood these pet owners might not have the financial means to support their pets.

A $25 donation to the organization can support a family, said Jeffery.

Funding harder to maintain for charity

Parachutes for Pets has been struggling financially due to monthly donors cancelling their donations.

Jeffery said monthly donations are down by 40 per cent, largely due to the public not having disposable income that they used to because of inflation.

“There is a struggle in maintaining monthly donors, and we just aren’t seeing as many donations come in,” she said.

Parachutes for Pets succeeds in fundraising for specific pets in need, said Jeffery, but the organization needs more ongoing support.

“We would need more sponsorship support or donations to have a greater impact in our community,” said Jeffery.

“We need support in raising awareness about who we are, what we do, and hopefully with more people aware it will bring more donations to support our most urgent programs.”

Parachutes for Pets will be holding a by-donation stand-up comedy event on Sept. 17, at the Rose and Crown to support the Parachutes for Pets Wellness Clinic.

Donations to the organization can be made on the Parachutes for Pets website.

Helping low-income, in-need Calgarians with their pets

Parachutes for Pets is a charitable organization founded in 2019 by Melissa David. It assists low-income families in Calgary work toward better health and welfare for themselves, and their pets, through accessible programs and resources.

The organization’s mission is to celebrate the human-animal bond and proactively work toward building strong community support systems to protect the connection between people and their animals, said Jeffery.

“Our goal is to keep people with their pets and support responsible pet owners,” she said.

“We’re working with the community to build a strong community, to support systems and to protect that connection between people and their pets.”

Parachutes for Pets runs a variety of support programs, including a pet food bank, vaccine and wellness clinics, grooming assistance, and emergency pet packs.

Jeffery said the organization customizes the food bank hamper to the individual, or for the family that might need something for their pets.

“We’re often out on the street helping homeless individuals, or we’re in the encampments providing water,” she said.

“Social workers can help the individual but they don’t provide the extra water for the pet, and we can kind of bridge that gap and support them that way.”

Hundreds helped each year

Since it started the organization has delivered 13,766 pet food hampers, and 1,282 homeless pet packs.

Parachutes for Pets has helped 295 pets get veterinary treatment, and helped 92 others through the Lily’s Legacy campaign—which supports foster children.

“A lot of the time foster children get a new home and the home can’t afford to take that pet, but we understand that it’s important to have that pet with them and that it helps their mental health and well-being,” said Jeffery.

“We have the funding for that program to help the pet stay with the foster child during that transition.”

The organization has also provided domestic violence assistance 531 times this year to individuals, including 13 times in July.

Parachutes for Pets suggests pet owners have pet health insurance or maintain emergency cash reserves for unexpected health challenges.

“When our pets get sick, it’s good to have that security, and it helps if other things come up.”