A local group is bringing hope to people who were forced to leave their furry family members behind in a dangerous situation.
This week thousands of people evacuated their homes in Bloodvein First Nation and many other communities due to wildfires. Now displaced, many families are heartbroken and worried not only for their homes but also for their animals. Frontline K9 Community Outreach is one of the organizations caring for the animals left behind.
"Animals are left behind not by choice. No owner wants to leave their pet behind, It is heartbreaking, it is difficult, it is emotional," Director Meghan Heuchert says. "While we were there there were busses that were still continuing to evacuate people and these busses that evacuate people do not allow pets on them. If they put a pet on the bus that's a person that can not go."
Bringing pet food, water, and other supplied, crews from Frontline K9 arrived in Bloodvein First Nation and Berens First Nation Wednesday.
"It was significantly smokey. There were lots of active fires we could still see. Fortunately, there was a lot of rain so that did help a lot but the winds shift all day long, so it is concerning to see that much smoke and that much fire still happening," Heuchert says while clearing her throat, affected by the smoke she inhaled.
Filling things like a kiddie pool and four-litre ice cream pails, crews got to work creating relief stations in the area, trying to "bring as much access to food and water as we possibly can."
Heuchert says they do not know how many animals their efforts will help, but says they brought around 3,500 pounds of food with them and over 100 gallons of water Wednesday. The director says she is honoured to be able to help pets and families.
People are texting and messaging the group to tell them about animals that may need help. On the other end of the phone, Heuchert is updating families on how their pets are doing.
"It is really nice to have that connection and that personal moment where it rewards all the difficult parts that may have happened."
As more than 130 fires continue to burn across the province, Frontline K9 is preparing to head out again this weekend. For those wanting to help, Heuchert says one of their big needs is for four-litre ice cream pails. She says people can also work with their sister charity, Feed The Furbabies Canada. They are also looking for temporary foster families for the pets as their owners are staying in Brandon and Winnipeg hotels.