09 May 2016

Pet Rescue Goes to New Heights - First Class Flights for Fort McMurray Animal Evacuees

When Fort McMurray was evacuated, many people had to go North and were housed at oil company camps. They then needed to be evacuated from there.

Some were able to drive in convoys while others were flown south by Canadian North and WestJet airlines.

Despite strict airline policies about the transportation of pets, in this extreme circumstance pets were actually allowed in the cabin with their owners.

And the internet exploded with photographs and gratitude. 

Marshall Lutz
“Just like to give a huge shout out too the WestJet employee that went over and above what they had to do for me and my little aurora. First a gal that noticed my poor baby girl was way too scared to leave my side and cut the ties to her crate and told me i could bring her on to the plane for the flight, then the flight stewardess tried making her a bed. She was being stubborn and one of the employees gave up their seat so she could sleep on my lap. You guys are the real MVPs.” Marshall Lutz on Facebook

“Words cannot not express how thankful I am for your amazing customer service representatives in assisting me with getting my dog home after the Fort McMurray evacuations this past week. Two paws up💕” Dallas Dodman on Facebook.

Canadian North ended up having custody of a feline friend longer than anticipated when her owner went into labour. They’ve posted a series of tweets while caring for the cute cat. 

“1 of our evacuee passengers from #YMM has gone into labour so our #yeg flight ops team is looking after "Meow Meow"!” Canadian North tweeted.

When asked by various media outlets how many animals they have flown, Canadian North couldn’t give a number. They simply say "a lot" and everything from dogs and cats, to turtles, gerbils and birds.

"There really were no other options," Canadian North spokesperson Kelly Lewis told CBC. "We weren't going to let people leave their pets behind. We know how much they love them and we love animals, too."

WestJet and Canadian North made a huge impact on the lives of people who have been through a harrowing time and have deservedly generated a ton of corporate good will.

Other businesses have generously supported the Fort McMurray animal rescue efforts with Champion Pet Foods donating food and Pets Plus Us, HomeSafe and Kijiji offering complimentary use of the HomeSafe automated online lost and found system to help reunite pets with their people.

Any Fort McMurray evacuee can receive a lifetime subscription to HomeSafe at no charge for their pets.

Numerous animal organizations are working to rescue and reunite animals, including the Edmonton Humane Society and Alberta SPCA.

InfoStream reached Fort McMurray SPCA staff on Friday when they were still an hour away from returning to their facility which is, thankfully, still standing. They expressed gratitude for all of the support and encouraged anyone interested in helping to make a donation through their website.

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