Q&A with Danika Kalmbach, financial coordinator of Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue Association

Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue Association’s location on 12220 104 Avenue in Grande Prairie.

How long has Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue Association been around?
Bandaged Paws Animal Rescue Association was founded in 2012 as a foster-based, volunteer organization. In May 2018 we moved into a facility to increase our capacity and ability to help more animals and families in the Grande Prairie area.

What made you get into rescue?
We are all here for the love of the animals and the need in our community to help those who can’t help themselves.

You have a physical building now, how is that making a difference for your rescue?
We have been able to take in and rehome more animals this year than ever before. Having space outside our foster homes has given us a central location to intake animals, quarantine them and then move them into foster homes.

What are the most common stigmas faced by animal rescues and shelters today?
I have heard people say that all animals that come from rescues or shelters are “damaged” or have “baggage.” There are so many amazing animals in our facility that can make great companions.

What would you like people to know about animal rescue organizations such as yours?
We are a primarily volunteer-run, charitable, not-for-profit organization. We rely on the generosity of the community to support us in helping these animals.

Some people may worry that a rescue animal comes with a lot of baggage, how do you respond to that?
Some of the most amazing animals have come from our rescue. Not all animals in rescues come from a negative past; there are many reasons they might come into our care.

Do you try and match people with the personalities of animals? How would I know which animal would fit my family best?
We always keep animals for a minimum of 10 days to get to know them prior to adoption as well as screen for any medical or behavioural concerns. This gives us a good idea of what type of home would suit them best.

What are the questions you would like to have potential adopters ask you?
We always want to hear that potential adopters are prepared to take an animal into their homes. Seeking more information on training, caring for, and spoiling the animal is always wonderful.

Are all the animals you adopt out spayed or neutered? What happens if they are too young yet?
All animals adopted from us that are over six months old are spayed/neutered prior to adoption. If they are under six months, we book an appointment for you at our vet to have the procedure done when they are old enough at our cost.

What would you like the public to know about adopting senior animals or animals that keep getting overlooked?
Senior animals are the best. They are often calm, trained and just looking for a cozy lap to call their own.

So I am ready to add a pet to our family. What are the steps you suggest I take before I bring an animal home?
Speak with your family and consider what it means to bring an animal into your home, who will care for it, who will watch it while you’re away, etc. Everyone should be on board with bringing an animal into the family.

How do you deal with the highs and lows of working at an animal rescue?
We are very lucky to have an amazing team that makes working in the rescue a happy place to be. We deal with the highs and lows as a team and support each other through it all. We also have recently hosted a mental health inservice where we discussed things such as compassion fatigue and empathy burnout with a trained psychologist.

How does a foster home work?
Foster homes care for our animals in their home while they are awaiting a forever home. The cost of animal care including veterinary care, food, etc. is all covered by the rescue. We just ask for the fosters to open their homes and care for them as their own pet.

How do you adopt out animal that are in foster care?
All of our dogs will go to a meet and greet at the adopter’s home prior to finalizing the adoption. This gives the chance for everyone to meet and decide if the dog is a good fit for the family. Cats will move into adoption centers around town to be met in person. They can be visited at Whisker’s Cat Café, Pet Valu, PetSmart and our facility.

How can people best help support their local animal rescue?
Adopt. Foster. Volunteer. Donate.

Why is supporting animal rescues in our community important?
There are so many animals without homes in our community and many families that are unable to care for their current animals. By supporting our rescue you are helping support those animals and families in the community.

Can only people in the Grande Prairie area adopt from you?
Anyone can adopt from us. We always require an in-person meeting with the animals, but we are more than willing to work with adopters to find homes for our animals.