Good Morning Pet Lovers! As you may have seen from our updates on social media, we are heading to the Edmonton Pet Expo January 28-29th! I got in contact with some rescues attending this years event and I will be doing some social media promoting for them, because I love rescues! The fourth rescue we are going to spotlight is Infinite Woofs Animal Rescue Society also known as IWARS. I want to tell you all how much I appreciate and love the people in animal rescue. You know those people who would do anything to help you and your animal out when you really need it. I want to personally thank from the bottom of my heart, Infinite Woofs for helping Rolo & I personally during our evacuation in May. Having an older dog that also has Epilepsy, his health and well being was of the most importance to me. They were able to get Rolo a checkup right away. Not only did they get us an appointment they covered the cost of it as well as a 1 month supply of Rolo much needed medication. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t expect it. I couldn’t believe it when the receptionist told me I was good to go. For someone going through so much at the time, it meant a lot to me. We caught up with Nikki Taylor the volunteer coordinator, a foster parent & acting president of the board for a little Q&A session. Cant wait to checkout their booth!
*Where is the organization located?
Infinite Woofs Provincial Headquarters is located on the west end of Edmonton at 16716 113 Avenue but we are located all over Edmonton and surrounding area, as we rely on foster homes to house many of our animals, but we are also fortunate enough to have a commercial space, our Headquarters facility, where we store and distribute our supplies from as well as use as a meeting space. (Above Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/infinitewoofs/)
*As we all know the Edmonton Pet Expo is coming up January 28 & 28th,
what types of things can we find at your booth?
We will have adoptable animals on site, have pet themed gift baskets and various fund raising merchandise for sale, and there will be a bunch of our shining volunteers on hand to answer questions about us and the attending animals.
*What types of animals do you have at your Animal Rescue/Shelter (if any specific breeds, species)?
Oh boy, you name it! We help whatever we can, whenever we can. Obviously we rescue dogs, there is a ‘woof’ in our name after all, but one of the coolest thing about IWARS is that we rescue cats and small animals too and are actually the only non-shelter rescue in Edmonton that does so. We’ve recently expanded our small animal department to include birds and reptiles. and just yesterday we helped a cockatoo named Harley find her forever home. We’ve even talked about taking in hermit crabs if some ever needed our help! The challenge of working with such a wide range of species is building up the knowledge and necessities needed to properly care for them. Fortunately, we have a very dedicated and diverse volunteer group and loving foster homes that make it possible. It definitely keeps things fresh and exciting for all of us, and I always learn something new with each new species that end up in our care.
*If someone wanted to become a volunteer, how could they?
We have the usual application forms on our website http://www.infinitewoofs.com, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also come check us out at any event (like pet expo), have a chat and get to know some of the team in person right off the hop! Our central hub for coordinating volunteer and foster home activities is on facebook. We have groups set up for ‘volunteers only’ and it is definitely the most effective means of communication we have found to get information to multiple people at one time.. We quickly become like family based on online interaction alone but putting a face to a name and spending time together in person really solidifies the entire team.
*What types of items do you accept for donations?
There are a couple of consumable items that we can never get enough of. Wet kitten food or canned cat food for all life stages is one of them and the other is definitely puppy pads for our little guys that haven’t quite got the hang of going outside yet. Pine or paper litter suitable for bunnies and small animals, as well as clumping cat litter is always in high demand as well! Gas cards, because some of our volunteer admin team drive in excess of 1000kms a week on rescue business, as well as grocery store/ big box store gift cards to buy fresh produce for our small animals and the other miscellaneous supplies it takes to run a rescue. We do accept all sorts of donations though, and when we have an abundance of something we reach out to other rescues and groups in the rescue community to spread the love.
If you have items to donate you can email email@example.com , all that we ask is that the items are clean and in working order.
*Do you sell any shelter swag? If so what?
We do! We have a few tee shirts and hoodies left from our last production run, and we have some big things planned for the coming year regarding our image and the gear that its on too! Along with IWARS clothing, we have pet themed gift baskets that are lovingly assembled by our volunteers that we bring along to some of our events. These baskets are usually a big hit and include items such as toys and clothes for dogs and cats! (Above Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/infinitewoofs/)
*What is the adoption process like?
So our adoption process varies a little bit from department to department but it always starts with completing an application form, either online or in person at one of our adoption events. After your application is reviewed and we check the references, if you have not yet met the animal we set up a meet and greet. In small animal and cat word this process is usually relatively quick, but because dogs tend to be more emotional creatures and the vast majority of dogs that come to us, come with pasts that are less than ideal, the process to adopt a dog is a little more in depth.
A typical IWARS dog adoption can include multiple meet and greets and various correspondence which includes a visit to the potential adopters home. My favorite thing about fostering dogs is that the foster home plays the biggest role in helping a dog choose its new family. When animals come into our care no one gets to know their personality and quirks better than their foster home, so when it comes time to make that transition to their furrever home, the applications get reviewed by the admin team and then forwarded to the foster who then contacts the adopter themselves. Not only does this process effectuate a great match between adopter and dog, but it also allows our foster homes to experience the gratification of completing a family first handl, and it is not at all uncommon for adopting families to keep in touch with updates. Because of our unique ‘match making’ adoption process we actually do offer a matchmaking service for adopters. In scenarios when an application is unsuccessful due to either multiple applicants or a dog just not being the best fit for a particular home and yet we still feel the unsuccessful application is a great home, then that application gets put into a database and matched up with other dogs that meet those criteria. Sometimes that dog may not yet be ready for adoption or in some cases may not have even found its way into our care yet, but the success rate and end result of these types of adoptions make the process worth the extra work for our team and worth the wait for the new family.
Sometimes cats and kittens, and even small animals get adopted in a similar fashion as dogs, but the bulk of cat adoptions happen through our partnership with Petsmart. Cats and kittens vetted and ready for adoption will leave their foster home and go for a stay at a Petsmart adoption center where they try to find that furrever home. In the rare event that a cat does not get quickly whisked away to its new permanent residence with new people to love it, we will rotate the cat back into a foster home for a break from the hustle and bustle of the adoption floor.
Another way we help our animals find their people is through adoption events which we hold a minimum of 3 times a month, typically on a Saturday, and we almost always have some sort of other big special event either lined up or that we are planning for. Word of mouth also helps quite a few of our critters into their new homes.
No matter the kind of animal being adopted, or the means of the adoption, we do our very best to add a human component to the entire process. If we have non identifying background info about an animal’s past, know anything about their lineage or siblings, or even have baby pictures of an animal, we try to share that. Sometimes not much is known about animals that come to us, or for privacy concerns we cannot disclose certain information about an animal’s past but in cases where those issues are not at hand, adoptive families get to go home with as much information on their new family member as possible.(Below Photo Credit: http://www.facebook.com/infinitewoofs/)
*Anything else you want to add?
I could talk about IWARS for days, but to me, our most distinguishing characteristic is the people. We are a completely volunteer driven organization. That means that we have some of the very best human beings this world has to offer working together, tirelessly, to save animals. Our rescue network reaches far and wide, and we take in animals from across Canada when the need arises. The behind the scenes work it takes to keep things running smoothly is tremendous, and the personalities and backgrounds of our entire team differ vastly. Yet with the same goal in our hearts, we find the time and energy in our worlds to keep doing what we do best. We have about 150 foster homes that make this rescue They care for our dogs, cats, small animals or some combination of the three, often in multiples and most of the time while caring for their personal pets as well. Our admin team is the support for these fosters and we try to develop a personal relationship with each home. Our admin team deals with all sorts of emergencies. We take calls at all hours of the day and night; monitor and responds to the needs and inquiries of other volunteers and the public (online, on the phone and face to face); go on crazy rescue missions; drive daily laps around the city as well as frequent road trips to rural areas, neighboring cities and our target communities; canvas for, pick up, sort and distribute all of our supplies and donations; maintain our Headquarters; respond in times of crisis and natural disaster; document and database all of our various records and financial information; book vet appointments and countless other tasks on a daily basis. Most importantly we support each other, through the victories and through the emotional hardships. We do it while working full time jobs, raising families and maintaining households of our own.
We go to bed every night tired, but we go to bed knowing that we are making a difference. In 2016 we helped nearly 1000 animals find their forever homes: 665 cats, 223, dogs, 36 rabbits, 14 guinea pigs, 10 hamsters, 6 gerbils, 2 salamanders, a lizard, a ferret, a frog, a chinchilla, and a llama with 48 adoptions still pending. Along with these documented success stories, I don’t think I could count the number of animals our crew of volunteers have made a positive impact on in some way over this past year.
I am proud to say that with dedication and heart, our organization cultures transparency and teamwork to transform the lives of animals. Together we are home for the homeless, necessities to the neglected, and an advocate for the abused. Ultimately we are a true voice for the voiceless. On behalf of IWARS I would like to thank Confessions of a Rescue Mom for featuring us and all of its readers for their continued and future support.
We look forward to stopping by your booth at the Edmonton Pet Expo!
Edmonton EXPO Centre (Hall A)
Saturday, January 28th (10am-6pm)
Sunday, January 29th (10am-5pm)
General (16+) $15
Youth (6-15) $10
Family Pass (2 General, 2 youth) $40
Children under 5 free
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