Dog rescuers from the Kindersley area who rescue condemned pets from the States via an ‘Underground Railroad’ of volunteers hit it big after they appeared on Global News Saskatoon in two broadcasts that aired last month and again on September 4th.
On TV in Saskatoon last Sunday was Netherhill, Saskatchewan, local Dhyann Keller with her pitbull Moo Moo, who was rescued from a California shelter last January, together with American volunteer Cambria Hankin from Los Angeles, and Winston, their latest rescued dog.
“We were contacted by Global News earlier as word had gotten out to them of the Vancouver Observer story online, so they wanted to do a piece on the Underground Railroad rescue of the pitbulls and that was aired about a week ago,” said Keller.
After the first broadcast, Global asked Keller and her fellow rescuers to keep them posted, and last Friday four more dogs were flown up to Calgary from Los Angeles, escorted by Hankin.
The animals, rescued from LA’s East Valley Shelter where they faced death by lethal injection, were Winston the blue-nosed pitbull, Chihuahua mix Mickey, mixed Akita Treasure, and Hazel, a pitbull mix.
Hankin was met at Calgary airport by a welcoming committee of Canadian volunteers after she landed with the dogs in Calgary, and spent last weekend travelling across Alberta and Saskatchewan with Keller, giving interviews in Saskatoon while at the same time spiriting dogs to new owners in western Canada.
The very next day, Cambria attended a fundraiser held in Brooks, Alberta, again with Canadian volunteers, before continuing east to Saskatoon with Keller for the interview with Global News that aired on Sunday.
“It’s great to be recognized for what we’re all doing. Now we’re getting more recognition down in California,” said Hankin.
Alongside recognition comes more volunteers wanting to help, with two people down in the U.S. offering to raise rescue funds to fly up more condemned dogs, after reading or watching news on the Underground Railroad that runs from Los Angeles up to Canada.
Cities such as Calgary, Saskatoon, and Vancouver serve as both important transit points and final destinations for rescued pets who find loving new homes in Canada after riding the Underground Railroad.
Smaller towns such as Brooks in Alberta or Kindersley, close to Keller's Netherhill home, serve a similar purpose, as pets from pounds in California and elsewhere in America are now safe with new owners there, while other animals carry on east to new lives in Saskatoon, often staying overnight in the homes of local volunteers.
“People are seeing more value in Los Angeles rescue dogs,” said Hankin.
Plus, people working at shelters such as East Valley are starting to realize that Hankin is a reliable rescuer, both easing the burden on their spaces and getting out animals who are sometimes just hours away from their death sentence.
She was also happy to watch positive news from Canada, which she said made a pleasant change from the usual stories of murder, crime, and gang violence that are a staple of many US newspapers and TV stations.
Anyone interested in getting involved with dog rescues can call Dhyann Keller on 306-463-1914 or 780-872-9241, or email [email protected]
Alternatively, people living Stateside can get in touch with Cambria Hankin in Los Angeles on 818-261-2543 or message her at [email protected].