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Wine and dine your K9

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The word around the fire hydrant is that WAG desperately needs a new facility to provide more space for the animals to run around in summer and a warm shelter in the winter.

"The facility has grown to be inadequate, WAG is a very busy little shelter," said WAG Board Secretary Linda McGaw

"It’s much too small, animal shelters have to be designed in a specific way in order to be efficient, and it’s very difficult for the staff to manage in there."

She said it is a full-time job trying to keep it clean and hygienic for the animals and a purpose-designed shelter would free the staff to concentrate on education programs.

"The staff do an amazing job with education but it’s so hard for them to find time to do that when they have to clean all the time," said McGaw.

The location of a new shelter is also of concern. McGaw said that they were very excited at the prospect of talking to the Resort Municipality about the need for a change.

"We have no idea how far along they are in their thinking at the moment, but we hope to be involved in any plans they might have. We know there’s a problem with getting land to build anything on in the corridor, as you know. WAG is no different," she said.

"WAG receives in between 5 and 6,000 visitors per year, and we would like a location where visitors can still reach us, they are a very important part of it."

McGaw said that she didn’t know what the cost of a new shelter would be, but a local contractor said they would donate supplies and that there was the possibility of an architect donating his services in designing the new facility.

"I’m pretty sure if we can work with the RMOW on finding a location and some land, we can raise the funds to actually build the shelter," she said.

WAG already holds a number of fundraising events to support the everyday operations of the facility, however McGaw said that there will have to hold a lot more if they want to get a new shelter.

Rachelle Johnson of Whistler Trail Dogs, and Caroline Heeney at the Fairmont Chateau came up with the idea of a "K9 Wine and Dine" to raise funds for a new WAG shelter after attending a "Dine with your dog" fundraiser for the SPCA in Vancouver.

They approached Korby Lee, owner of the Three Dog Bakery in Kitsilano to cater a three course meal for the canines of Whistler. Due to his love of dogs, he accepted. His family has also offered to help.

Heeney said that there was some exposure for business participating in the event, but first and foremost the people that are involved really love dogs.

The staff at Trail Dogs, the managers at the Fairmont Chateau and WAG staff have volunteered their time for the event, and donations have been offered from various beverage companies. Chefs at the Chateau Whistler will be preparing the BBQ and beverages for the people.

"This fundraising event will be a way to announce this (shelter) to the community. The WAG shelter belongs to the community and they need to be informed about what’s going on," said McGaw.

Dogs and their adult owners are invited to attend the "K9 Wine and Dine" on the Woodlawn Terrace at the Fairmont Chateau on July 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tickets will be available at the Mallard Lounge from July 12. Dogs are $25 and people $30. For further information call Rachelle at Trail Dogs at 604-905-9273.

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