Meet the Saskatoon shelter owners who rescue animals from Sask. – and beyond
A local animal rescue is gearing up for their busy time as the weather gets colder - and they have their sights are set on fundraising for a bigger facility.
Hanna’s Haven rehabilitates animals and finds them homes.
Brian and Laura MacKay currently have 25 dogs in their shelter which also doubles as their home.
Because of that they don’t have much of a usable living room because the dogs are part of their family and take up most of the furniture and their dining room is home to about a dozen kennels full of dogs.
The Mackays have been rescuing and finding new homes for animals for 15 years.
The name Hana was the name of the first dog they rescued. They take in mostly dogs, but they get the odd deer or even horse.
Most of them have health issue like Callie who’s blind because of severe cataracts or Skylar who wears a cast after being hit by a car; that scenario not uncommon for them.
Somebody drove over three-year-old Shania with a car in Saskatoon, they say.
The owner couldn’t afford the vet bills so surrendered her to the MacKays with the hopes of eventually getting her back.
“She’s got massive pelvis injuries and crushed left femur and hip as well as severe lung damage so she’s on strict kennel rest,” MacKay says.
Getting the animals nursed back to health takes money as does basic procedures like spaying or neutering and deworming.
“A lot of times out of our own bank account it’s about $15,000 to $20,000 a year.”
A fraction comes from fundraising and local vets offering discounts. They have a GoFundMe page.
trying to raise money to move their shelter operation to a larger building.
They have big plans to expand what they do to include at-risk kids into the program.
“Every dog craves love; every child craves love. We would get trainers to teach them to train the dogs. What an experience for these kids to be able to do that,” Mackay said.
They have more dogs now, due to COVID-19. The MacKays say they get eight calls a day about owners wanting to surrender their pandemic pup. Cold weather is also a factor.
“Right now, we’re kind of in a panic to get animals out of there because it’s getting very cold and they freeze,” she says.
That’s because most of their rescues come from northern Saskatchewan. They partner with shelters there too.
Ten of the current 25 dogs that are staying at their home were shipped from Ghana. The Mackays say they were rescued from the meat trade.
Their laundry room is typically their puppy room but now they call it “the Ghana room.”
They’ve had inquiries coming in from Iraq and Qatar where rescue facilities there want to protect dogs in dire situations.
They’re becoming well known around the world and one of the popular rescue services when people check online.
Both the MacKays have day jobs and luckily 125 volunteers pitch in to help taking care of the animals.
The new building would ideally be on an acreage, but they are working with a realtor to find a warehouse with a lot of space that could be renovated to include a large bathing room and have enough room for the dogs to run and play.
Ultimately a new larger space would help them help more animals in need.