Calgary non-profit Parachutes for Pets is beginning a first-of-its-kind expansion, setting up a new way to help the city’s less fortunate and their pets.
Parachutes for Pets introduced their brand new Pet Advocacy Centre in southwest Calgary on Wednesday, which will be a collaborative effort between the non-profit and various other partners.
Their goal is to create a safe space where lower-income pet owners can find help and resources dedicated to making sure that their pets stay safe and healthy.
Melissa David, founder of Parachutes for Pets, said they wanted a single location to provide pet and people services.
“This is going to be the first-ever pet advocacy center in the world that we’re aware of, and it’s going to be a very collaborative effort for us to help any client that comes to our door with their pets,” she said.
“Our goal is to provide them with the support and resources that they need so they don’t need to go to three or four different places to get that help.”
According to information provided by the organization, the new centre, located at 6120 1A Street SW, will “revolutionize” the support provided to vulnerable communities and their pets. To start, the centre will offer a pet supply thrift shop that will help fund the operations. It will have an education space, a vet tech office and a warming and cooling space.
In future phases, they hope to add veterinary care, grooming and other collaborative resources.
Advocacy Centre built on partnerships
David said the partnerships they’ve built have helped move the project forward.
“We’ve got a pet food bank, a pet thrift store, and veterinary assistants on site. In addition to that, we are aware that the guardian may need some assistance as well, so we’re going to have social workers, education programs, we’re also going to have psychologists,” she said.
“We are also going to host practicum students from local post secondaries, just to help us provide these resources and support.”
Rob Kerr, a consultant for Parachutes for Pets, spoke about the growth of the non-profit.
“The vision was about finding better ways to serve a vulnerable population. Just working out of the back of a small van wasn’t cutting it. The capacity just wasn’t there,” he said.
“It was all about building up that capacity. One of the ways we could do that was through making this a collaborative effort, partnering up with like-minded people and giving this vision a process.”
David invites anyone who needs support to come forward, as well as the public to get involved with this initiative.
“We invite the public to donate any items that their pet may have grown out of or anything from when their pet has passed away. We want to keep those items out of the landfill, repurpose them and offer them at a discount rate, so we can put that money back into our programming,” she said.
“We are going to try to help as many people as possible, so please just reach out to us. If you need help, we will do our best to connect you with where you need to be.”
This new space is located beside the Chinook LRT station. The Pet Advocacy Centre is on track to be open by September 16, 2023.