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2020 President's Message

As 2020 comes to a close, it comes as no surprise when we say that many animal rescue organizations were put in a tough spot during the COVID-19 outbreak. To say this year has been “ruff,” is an understatement. Stray animals still need a place to go; the animals in care still need food, medical care, and new homes; and volunteer animal foster parents still need support. Public events were cancelled and many programs and opportunities became virtual events or have been paused.


Fundraising is of even greater importance these days and, because of your generosity, homeless animals received shelter, food, and life-saving veterinary care this year. Through your support, we were able to rescue and make a direct difference in the lives of 10 dogs.


First, Momma Marina and her 8 chubby, days old, puppies were rescued from under the lake lot trailer of our Executive Director, Karen Veitenheimer, on the Labour Day weekend. This canine family moved into the very capable care of a brilliant foster home with a partner rescue. Marina was adopted by her foster momma and all eight puppies moved to new beginnings.


Every year there is one animal that touches the hearts of our Executive Team. This was our 10th rescue pup, and such a special pup he is!! We brought Blue in from one of our partner communities after an unfortunate social distancing experiment with a porcupine that went horribly wrong. Blue was injured, scared and in need of medical intervention. Thanks to donations from supporters like you, our friends at Terwillegar Vet treated Blue for an impacted quill, vaccinated, microchipped and dewormed him, partnered with the careful guidance and much love from his wonderful foster Momma, Blue became healthy and trusting again in just a few short weeks. Blue can’t say thanks, but we can! We are so grateful to have supporters like you making stories like these a possibility for helpless animals! Blue is learning how to be a dog – he has learned to play, bonded with his foster brother Bear, and is learning leash skills and other dog duties with our trainer and Director, Nina McLaughlin.


We reached another milestone of over 5,000 fans on our Facebook page this year! We are very excited that we continue to grow in this important area of social media that helps spread the word about Berkeley’s Place, drives adoptions, encourages fostering, and grows awareness for the many challenges facing rescue today.


Although our visibility has grown substantially, nothing could be “fur-thur” from the truth. We are a very small organization that relies completely on the generosity of others. Your individual donations are extremely important and greatly appreciated and the extraordinary support of our partner stores has allowed us to ensure no animal goes hungry.


What does the future hold for us? Our goal moving into 2021 is that we will be able to resume the many programs we launched, including That B.I.T.E.S., prepare our T.R.A.I.N. team for a trip to Inuvik to meet with the Mayor and Peace Officers to present our Bite Prevention Program, but to also visit the shelter that we were able to transform, again, possible because of our supporters generosity.


We are currently working with liaisons in First Nation Communities to bring programs that support sustainable food practices, basic health education and proof of guardianship. Through these relationships, our Foundation has also learned more about issues that different communities are facing; and, as such, have begun working in partnership to offer solutions. It is our honor to work with Indigenous leaders and band members to deliver sustainable animal welfare education, services, and resources to communities that have asked for our assistance.


Continuing to operate Berkeley’s Place from our home, as we continue to grow, has presented its own set of challenges and in 2021 our Foundation will actively seek to secure a business space to house, not only the Pantry Program but our T.R.A.I.N. series of classes, as well as our new Foster Orientation Program.


The possibilities are endless and we know that with the support of our community, great things will happen. Thank you for standing with us!


On behalf of the Executive, and all the volunteers of Berkeley’s Place, have a safe holiday season, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.




Lillian Courtney, President

Berkeley’s Place Foundation

December 2020