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WAG on the march

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The volunteers’ interaction with the animals helps WAG understand the animals’ personalities, likes and dislikes. It also helps the dogs who, like anyone, enjoy sleepovers and watching movies.

This volunteer program is crucial to understanding the Wag Way. The volunteers who come from places such as Australia and Japan to experience helping with the animals, the vets who perform life-saving operations and the local volunteers who give their time and dedication to care for the animals are all part of the WAG Way. It’s described simply as, "embracing the human-animal relationship in its many forms."

Jodi admits that the WAG adoption screening process is rigorous and highly selective. Potential adopters have been denied because she believes that they would not be suited to the animal. WAG’s aim is to house every animal in their care in one home for life, and so far they have had a 100 per cent success rate. Often the owners stay in touch with WAG and update them on their animal’s development, which Jodi appreciates and encourages.

One such dog who was adopted was Big Benny Littletree, a St. Bernard-malamute cross. He was brought to WAG from Pemberton by his owners, because he was "packing." Benny and other dogs would hunt down cats, small dogs and livestock. It was decided that a farming community like Pemberton was not the best place for Benny. Jodi says many people came to see Benny intending to adopt him but were refused because their situations were not suitable for him.

The volunteers spent a lot of time with Benny, determining his personality, likes and dislikes and especially his interaction with the other dogs. Although he was not the instigator of the pack, his past behaviour was still a concern for WAG and an issue for any potential adopters.

Then, Mike and Linda, a couple from Schwartz Bay whose daughter lived in Whistler, saw Benny on the WAG Web site and were interested in adopting him. They came to Whistler, met Benny and talked to Jodi, who told them all about him. Eventually a perfect match was made. Benny now keeps WAG up to date with his adventures by regular e-mails (on the WAG Web site under Donations, Testimonials and Updates), which tire him out but amuse everyone at WAG.