A Year-End Message from the President

Berkeley’s Place was started in memory of a special needs rescue dog named Berkeley. As I reflect on the past year, I am in awe of how far we have come over the past seven years and want to thank all of our supporters for being invested in the work we do. Your donations and extraordinary support have helped us to care for neglected animals and have had a direct impact on the communities we serve. You have helped make a difference in the rescue world, and we are beyond grateful for your support makes doing this work possible.

It was because of your support that we were able to intake four dogs and help them find their forever homes. We also welcomed senior cat, Hum-Furry Bogart into care as a permanent Berkeley’s Place sanctuary animal. Our strong and much-valued partnership with Meika’s Safehouse continued to allow us to provide additional financial support for vetting for Casey, an additional bird that needed a wellness exam and medications when he was brought into care. This was over an above, our yearly sponsorship of Stratos, the military macaw.

While not part of our Foundation mandates, we found ourselves assisting guardians who reached out for medical care for their companions. Senior dog Jozzie received badly needed dental services, Chico, the chihuahua, received a wellness exam, x-ray, and medication, and Lily’s mom and siblings all were vaccinated, dewormed, flea treated, microchipped, and spayed/neutered, thus preventing the spread of more unwanted litters.

This past year pushed us to our boundaries and beyond. Receiving Charity status from the Canada Revenue Agency in May of 2021 was bittersweet. This meant we had difficult decisions to make that included only being able to provide financial and other supports to other CRA registered rescues, leaving smaller Alberta registered rescues vulnerable.

Despite some very impressive fundraisers to support our wildlife and bird rescues, I walked away feeling like we didn’t make an impact in the rescue community. Part of this can be attributed to having to say no to requests for help outside of our jurisdiction and being subjected to less than kind comments about picking and choosing who we help. With charity status came new responsibilities and rules that must be followed. The basis of Berkeley’s Place has been to operate with transparency and having that called into question has been hurtful. The Foundation’s focus will always be Edmonton and area rescues first, followed by the commitment to our First Nation community support programming.

While our education programming has been put on hold indefinitely due to the pandemic, we can no longer continue to do the great work we do without broader supports in place. We have long run out of operating space and the effects of the physical work involved in running our Pantry Program have taken their toll on our bodies and our home.

In order to continue, it will be critical in 2022 that decisions on maintaining/continuing a pantry program, finding affordable space and more manpower will all need to be addressed. The thought of having to make changes regarding running a pantry program breaks my heart but we can no longer continue to operate the way we have been. The bulk of the work has fallen to two of us – moving thousands of pounds of food in frigid temperatures, hours spent sorting, shelving, and pulling orders for rescue. We got into rescue to help animals in our spare time, but it quickly took over all our time and resources, becoming the only thing in our lives. One too many times this year I wanted to quit but I can’t. Animals and rescue depend on us, and we MUST call on the support of our community to continue to be a resource for animals in need.

After seven years, the time has come, we need to change and that means sourcing operating capital and a place to call our own.

Your support has made an impact that will last well into 2022. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, and the animals you have helped to support.


Lillian Courtney

Berkeley’s Place President