The falling rain and dark skies looming overhead were not enough to drown out the spirits, or barking, in Kildonan Park on Sat. Sept. 14.
Despite the downpour, nearly 150 dog lovers and their pooches came out to D’Arcy’s A.R.C. (Animal Rescue Centre) annual Woof Walk fundraiser.
By 12:30 p.m., the clouds had parted ways and the sun peaked through just in time for the kick off of the two-kilometer walk through Kildonan Park.
Everything from 130 lbs. Great Danes to tiny 5 lbs. lap dogs were participating with their owners in the event, which was happening for the third year in a row. “It’s something that just keeps growing every year. It just seems to get bigger, more vendors come out every year,” said D’Arcy Johnston, the founder of D’Arcy’s A.R.C.
Johnston and Virgin 103’s Chrissy Troy kicked off the walk with a few opening remarks. Wild Dogs Sports Club put on performance-dog demonstration before and after the walk.
There were also several vendors setup along with a silent auction and a barbecue. In total, the event raised $15,000, a much-needed boost for the shelter that has a daily budget of $1,500.
Johnston says that there are currently about 30 dogs at the shelter and about 150 cats, which are higher numbers than usual.
“It’s at the end of the year, winter’s coming and it gets busier because we want to get all these animals off the street before the snow hits,” said Johnston. “But there’s just no room right now to bring anybody in, so we’re at capacity.”
With this many animals and only seven staff, the dog and cat shelter relies heavily on their volunteers. One of the most dedicated being Alice Gamble, the senior volunteer at D’Arcy’s A.R.C., who has been volunteering her time and efforts for nearly six years.
“I had started here after I just left a really terrible work environment, and I needed something different,” said Gamble.
“I needed a break from the service industry so I volunteered here and I’ve been here ever since.” Gamble comes to the shelter every morning from Monday to Friday to feed the animals, clean the rooms, help with laundry and dishes, and to give the animals some loving attention. Gamble also fills in on weekends whenever an extra hand is needed.
“It gives me a sense of doing something for the community and doing something for somebody else instead of just for me,” said Gamble.
“Just seeing the animals as they grow and change, looking after them and being some help in a small way is rewarding.” Gamble says that volunteering at D’Arcy’s A.R.C. is not only beneficial to the animals, but also to her.
“That’s why I do it, just for the interaction with the animals. It’s brought me out of my shell a lot,” said Gamble.
“I suffer from depression so it’s made a difference in that respect, it gives me something else to think about besides myself. I keep coming because I fit in here.”
Johnston says that the shelter could not be more grateful for Gamble and the other 90 volunteers that help out. He says that without them, D’Arcy’s A.R.C. couldn’t continue to operate.
“If it wasn’t for the volunteers like Alice we would not be able to keep the facility going,” said Johnston. “There’s so many animals, there’s so much work to do, and we just do not have the money to pay people to do it all, so for one staff we have eight volunteers. That’s something we need. And for all the volunteers that come in, we thank them so much.”
For more information on D’Arcy’s A.R.C. visit www.darcysarc.ca