By Cole Parkinson
Work has officially begun on the Taber Lost Paws Society facility.
After forming in early 2019, the group has been hard at work fundraising to build a dog control facility for the community.
“The Taber Lost Paws Society has been actively fundraising for our new dog shelter in Taber, since January 2019. Our goal is to raise $160,000 and the Town of Taber has contributed $100,000 of capital expenditure on top of our goal. To date, we have fundraised $128,000 of that goal through cash donations, Town of Taber donations and ATB Cares donations, and we are continuing to fundraise to meet that goal,” explained Carolyn Terpstra, president of the Taber Lost Paws Society, in an interview with the Times.
While some may question why a smaller town such as Taber would need a dog control facility, Terpstra explains it will allow stray and lost dogs to have a safe place to stay until they are taken home.
“We have a safe home for our dogs so why do we need a shelter? We need a shelter for people’s dogs that run after the neighbour’s cat because you left the gate open and someone finds it at the other end of town. It’s taken to a shelter to keep safe, or maybe a neighbour sees a skinny dog with bones protruding and it’s neglected and tied up all day and night with no food or water. It needs a safe place to go. There are so many reasons that dogs end up in shelters. But the best part of this is, these dogs will go home with their owners or they will find those forever homes that are suited for their needs. This is the reason why we started the society…a safe, caring, shelter till they find their forever home.”
Preliminary work on the facility started late last month and will continue for the next several months.
M.D. crews got things started as part of their motion to provide an in-kind for the project.
“Construction for the groundwork started on September 22, with the MD of Taber donating employees and equipment to get us started. This was a pretty happy day for us and together with our partners — Town of Taber and Taber Police Services, we dug out some shovels for a groundbreaking picture. With the construction of the steel building arriving shortly in October, construction will be going on this fall,” said Terpstra, who also stated she expects construction to last until early in the new year with operations starting shortly after.
While the finish line in terms of constructing the building is finally in sight for the society, they realize a big reason is thanks to the many donations that have poured in from the community.
Whether they be big, small, medium or large donations, they wanted to recognize anyone who has contributed.
“This dog shelter for our community would not be possible without the Town of Taber, organizations and businesses in and around our community, and of course, the many people who have generously donated to this needed shelter. The donation Facebook posts are always exciting for us to post as it doesn’t matter if it’s $20 or $10,000 because every dollar makes a difference,” continued Terpstra. “Thank you to all of you who have given donations or have offered donations in kind to help us get this shelter underway for these dogs in our community. We have been blessed with businesses such as DA and MPE donating the engineered drawings for the facility, Taber Home and Farm with a pallet of new windows for our facility, just to name a few. It is incredible to see the community response and support for this shelter. These donations/in-kind help have reduced our costs in getting construction completed. This shelter will depend on donations from the community and community grants, and provincial grants to be successful for years to come and we look forward to doing our best with the help of our community to make this shelter a successful one.”
Terpstra also made sure to thank the many volunteers who have been a big help for Lost Paws.
“We do appreciate our volunteers and there are not enough thanks to them for all the time and effort that they have given to this society, even though they have part-time or full-time jobs and families to spend time with. Your commitment does not go unnoticed and we will always be grateful for your sacrifices.”
On top of those volunteers, the actual society themselves have poured plenty of hours into making the facility a reality for Taber and area.
Whether it be fundraising drives, attending council meetings or many of the other required tasks, the group is happy to be able to not only get this far but also continue ahead with a running facility.
“From our society perspective, this journey from the start seemed like we were looking through a long, dark tunnel and couldn’t see the light. There was a lot of learning and some research, not to mention Googling. Things we had to organize from fundraising ideas, doing presentations, bylaws, policy and procedures, grant applications, health and safety info, insurance, finding a contractor, building design, costs, quotes, permits….this list is pretty long. There is a lot going on right now to be prepared for operations soon,” continued Terpstra. “Our contractor from I-Beam has been exceptional with her knowledge, advice and guidance and we are so thankful for Sara (Wynker) and her direction, time, effort and commitment to this project. We would definitely be lost without her, but we are certainly learning a lot about some of the processes and timelines. We have a new appreciation for contractors and all the hard work they do. We can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel now and are working tirelessly to see that light get a little brighter.”
If you are interested in donating to Lost Paws, you can go to atbcares.com and search Taber Lost Paws, go to the Town of Taber’s office in the Administration Building, message the Taber Lost Paws Facebook page or call Carolyn Terpstra at 403-360-6448.
If you are interested in volunteering, you can fill out a volunteer form on their Facebook page.