Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It’s been eight days since the wildfire forced the residents of Fort McMurray to evacuate, leaving unimaginable destruction in its wake. We’ve seen the chilling photos and videos that some have taken as they fled, showing just how little time people had to escape, and we’ve heard from many of the evacuees who were forced to leave beloved pets behind. I can only imagine how difficult that was and how anxious these pet owners have been waiting for news.
Well, late last week animal control, SPCA, and Humane Society officials began going door to door. They have already rescued hundreds of pets of all shapes, sizes, and species. These pets are being cared for in a facility here in Edmonton until they are well enough to be reunited with their owners. Yesterday morning I had the honour of spending a few hours conducting health assessments and treating these frightened and bewildered animals. I can’t tell you how rewarding it was to play a small part to reunite these animals with their families, families that I know will benefit tremendously from the comfort of their beloved pets during these difficult times. I was struck, but not surprised, by the selfless dedication of my Alberta Veterinary Medical Association colleagues, veterinarians and animal health technologists, some who have been there on duty for days with only a few hours’ sleep.
Pets enrich our lives in immensurable ways: they have become integral parts of our families; they give unconditional love; and they bring us joy, laughter, companionship, and comfort day in and day out. We know that in the days since the evacuation these fourlegged companions have been greatly missed. We also know that in the difficult days ahead, they will play a vital role in the healing process.
Mr. Speaker, Albertans have contributed their unique skills and expertise in countless ways to help the people of Fort McMurray. I’ve always been proud to be a veterinarian but never more so than yesterday. I’m thankful that I can put my skills to use and be of assistance during this crisis.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
On May 11, 2016, Richard Starke focused on the need to protect pets evacuated from the Fort McMurray wildfires.
PC Caucus in the Legislature
PC Caucus members have proposed and passed bills, amendments and motions. Read about them here.