Fort McMurray Dog Owners Welcomed at Saskatoon Contest
A group of Fort McMurray dog owners say they’re grateful for the special welcome they received at a Saskatoon agility contest.
Organizers of the NADAC-sanctioned agility competition at the Sondog Agility acreage west of Saskatoon offered the Fort McMurray residents free entry, lodging and other amenities during the event Saturday and Sunday. Though most of their homes were speared by the fire, the evacuees – and their animals – have been living out of trailers and with friends and relatives for weeks since the wildfires caused the mass evacuation.
Organizer Lois Mierau said there were “a lot of tears” when the Fort McMurray crew arrived on Friday. Most of the competitors see each other at competitions during the year, and have become close friends.
“It’s been an absolute blast,” said Fort McMurray resident Kelly Maertens-Poole, describing her weekend at the agility trial. She has been staying with relatives during the evacuation.
“It’s nice just to give them a break from me, my, boyfriend, two dogs and a cat.”
Koralee Samaroden, at the agility event with her mom Betty, said they were grateful for the hospitality. Her house was not affected by the fire, but her agility business and all the equipment were destroyed.
“It’s always good to be around people who support you,” she said.