BY BILL PHILLIPS
The wood still has that yellow tinge that wood has before it gets weathered. That’s how you know it’s new.
And it’s the first thing you see when you pull into the Prince George Equine and Animal Rescue Centre off Bendixson Road.
New wooden fences surround a handful of paddocks that have doubled in size since the summer. The wood is part of a donation to the centre from the Brink Group of Companies, which has committed to give the centre $50,000, in cash and materials, over the next five years.
“John (Brink) asked what kind of help we needed and I said … well, wood,” says Nicola Redpath who, along with her stable boy (partner) Grant, operate the facility.
Wood is something Brink Forest Products has a lot of.
“It was such a small thing to him but such an incredible, incredible gift because for us to do a paddock, it’s very difficult.”
Operating on the generosity of supporters, the centre would have to save up money to do one big project a year. This year they got five big projects done and they ran out of time or more would have gotten done.
They did manage to double the size of their paddocks and next year the Brink wood will help build more shelters for animals in need.
Brink found out about the centre in the spring and after a short tour, decided to help out.
“What Nicola and her partner are doing is amazing,” says Brink. “It makes you realize that if they were not doing this, what would happen to these animals. It fills a need and the commitment by them is huge. It’s so rewarding for us to be part of this.”
In the past year the centre has rescued about 100 cats, 85 dogs and 40-50 horses. It also rescued a herd of sheep and some goats. Redpath works with the SPCA and Humane Society to help animals.
“Our mission is to go out of business,” says Redpath with a laugh.
In reality the goal is simple to be available to people who have a need for a home for their animals. People fall on hard times and can’t take care of their pets, seniors often can’t care of their pets any longer, the centre takes in some animals may not qualify for other shelters.
The acreage on Bendixon Road is the ideal environment for horses and livestock, of course, but also for dogs who get to run around the property all day. The dogs don’t end up in a cage all day, they have a home environment.
“At the end of the day, these guys are tired because they’re out with me all day,” says Redpath.
With the larger animals, the centre is getting a little more selective on what it will accept.
“We try to keep it a definite necessity,” says Redpath “We don’t want to be a dumping ground for people who don’t want to deal with their old horse. Now we’re focusing on horses that are really, really in need … horses that are really emaciated and on death’s door.”
And it’s not for the faint of heart. Dealing with animals in distress, often human caused, can be an emotional thing.
“You definitely have to have a thicker skin,” says Redpath. “When you get to see, daily, how life changes for them from the minute they come through our doors, that makes it all worth it.
We also see the giving of so many people. We get these little children who come and save all their birthday money to give to help the animals.”