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WAG on the march

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As Jodi describes it, when she came into WAG it was in a negative position. Now, two and a half years later, it is gradually moving onwards and upwards. David credits the current success of WAG to Jodi and her inspirational ideas.

"Hats off to Jodi. She gave WAG a fundamental change in direction," MacPhail says.

WAG began to increase its presence in the community through advertising and marketing a recognizable image. Within a year WAG had corporate sponsorship and the ability to expand.

Projects such as WAG-TV (four episodes, five times a day on Whistler Cable) and the WAG Web site (www.wag.whistlerweb.com) were launched and continue to be successful in spreading WAG’s message around the world. Jodi knows of many visitors to WAG who have heard of it solely through the Web site.

Autumn 2000 saw many new development’s with WAG.

"In August 2000, WAG and the Municipal Pound were successful in implementing a merger," Jodi says. "WAG is now officially running and funding 100 per cent of the day-to-day operation of the shelter."

This meant that WAG now had a shelter, albeit small, in which to house the animals. WAG also took on responsibility for all lost, homeless and unwanted animals in the Sea-to Sky corridor.

Two of these animals would become very special to Jodi. Jed McBubbs, an English foxhound, was the first animal she adopted. Then came Princess Jakey. Both of Jodi’s dogs have special needs, which had made them difficult to adopt. Jed is a submissive urinator who cannot be taken off a leash, but Jodi has cared for him for a year now. Jakey was brought in from Squamish and he has severe separation anxiety which requires a lot of attention and patience, which Jodi has shown since June last year.

An essential volunteer program was also implemented last fall. Jodi says the volunteers are crucial to WAG and its on-going success. She estimates that on average, at least four new people come in every day to volunteer their time helping with animals.

"The volunteer gets from WAG what he or she puts into it… working and playing with animals is a very rewarding and spiritual experience," Jodi says.

She estimates WAG has about 50 volunteers who put in different amounts of time but equal amounts of love, care and attention to the animals. They range in age, nationality and experience but all share a deep love of animals. One volunteer takes the dogs to her house for sleepovers. They watch movies, sleep on her bed and they have been known to go cross-country skiing.