Christmas goes to the dogs in Pemberton 

PAWS fundraiser offers seasonal fun for people and their pets

By Cindy Filipenko

Santa’s favourite animals may be reindeer, but dogs run a close second. That’s why the Pemberton Animal Wellness Society (PAWS) is offering pet pictures with Santa as part of its Christmas Extravaganza and Fundraiser this Sunday (Nov. 19) at the Pemberton Fire Hall at 1350 Aster Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition to pet pictures, the fundraiser will feature the music of country rockers, Hay Fever, a bake sale for pets and people, games, prizes, face painting, dog obedience training and dog manicures. While the event is designed with fun in mind, the goal of such fundraising activities is serious.

“In two to five years we want to have collected enough money to start an animal shelter,” said Sharon Soames, PAWS secretary.

Soames says the need for a shelter in the Pemberton Valley area was driven home when she recently visited Whistler Animals Galore (WAG).

“There were 12 dogs at WAG, and all were from the Pemberton and Mt. Currie areas.”

Recognizing the important role WAG plays in assisting Pemberton with its animal control issues, PAWS donated the entire proceeds from its first fundraiser to the organization.

“With the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s donation of $1,000, we raised over $4,000,” said Saomes.

PAWS intends to also give a portion of the Christmas Extravaganza proceeds to WAG.

The need to establish an animal shelter in Pemberton has also been confirmed by Village of Pemberton (VOP) bylaw officer Ben Hansler. Hansler, who has been enforcing Pemberton’s animal control bylaw since June, has formally made the recommendation to mayor and council.

Soames says the VOP has been supportive and PAWS will be assisting the village in promoting dog licensing in the New Year.

The next year promises to be a busy one for PAWS, as they move towards formalizing their society status and undertaking a study of existing shelters and exploring possible space.

“We’ll be looking to WAG and shelters in Vancouver and North Vancouver to see how they set up their shelters,” said Soames.

The group currently has some trailers that could be converted to kennel space and will be looking for property next year. And that’s going to mean more work for the fledging organization that plans to meet regularly come January.

We’d love more people to come to our meetings,” said the secretary. “We’ll be signing up people the fundraisers. Membership is $20 a year and you get a PAWS keychain with the date on it and our quarterly newsletter.”

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