The rescue of 100 dogs from a Northern Saskatchewan community mobilized within hours, despite uncertainty about how it was going to happen.

The owner of Paws Republic Centre for Pets in Martensville was the catalyst of the rescue mission to save the animals. The stray dogs were brought to Martensville by a group of volunteers who have committed the last week to finding them homes and getting them healthy. The lives of 100 dogs were spared because of a few who cared enough.

“We had to get them out because within hours they would be gone,” Paws Republic Owner Kristine O'Brien told CTV News.

O’Brien started the process last Monday after seeing the town of La Loche was trying to deal with their stray dog problem by offering $10 a head for each stray brought in, and eventually, woulld be euthanized. Despite so many unknowns, O’Brien, along with other rescues like The Streetz Rescue Foundation, were certain they wanted to save as many dogs as they could.

“How do you take in 100 dogs," said O'Brien. "No rescue has that ability.”

But they did have the ability, thanks to the help of rescue volunteers who drove almost 20 hours to the community and brought the dogs to Martensville.

“I think they had a 20-foot trailer donated by Flaman and they gathered every crate they could find."

A building next to Paws Republic was donated by the Owner and is being used for the rescue operation.Calls were put out on social media for volunteers and supplies, from blankets to toys and food, with donations pouring in. Veterinarians from Erindale, Corman Park and Martensville clinics have even offered some free services.

After many of the dogs were adopted and fostered the past six days, only 24 remain, and only seven aren’t spoken for.

“This truly for a lot of us has brought back hope in humanity,” O'Brien happily explained.

The positive response has even stretched across provincial borders, with Manitoba rescues taking 21 of the dogs, and nine going to a Siberian Husky rescue in Alberta.

All dogs are given their shots and treatment for lice and ticks or fleas. The one thing they don’t do is get them spayed or neutered, but O’Brien says each adoptive dog owner has to sign a contact saying they will get that procedure done on their pet.

They’ve had volunteers coming from Saskatoon, as well as Martensville, and a regular volunteer comes from Dalmeny.

“We’ve taken laundry home and we come here and we spend some time with the dogs," explained volunteer Charlene Bowes. "They need walking, they need kennels cleaned, they need new water and new food."

The greatest need at the moment is cash donations, according to O’Brien, to help pay for extra vet costs, including for a dog who needs hernia surgery. That alone will cost about $1000. But even with steep costs, giving the dogs the care they need isn’t an option.

They admit there is a misconception that all stray dogs are feral and mean. Bowes says the ones that have come in so far don’t fit that description, as they seem happy to have human contact and love.

“Sometimes they’ll just come out of their kennel and place a paw on you to say thank you, they have so much love to give."

O’Brien isn’t ruling out taking on a project like this again in the future, whether it’s in La Loche or another community, and building on the things they learned, knowing the public will get behind it.  

“This was an un-planned, unexpected miracle that I think could be done again.”

They’ll be getting 30 more dogs from residual drop offs in La Loche. Some residents have continued to drop off dogs since last week’s pick-up. That new group of dogs will be brought to Martensville, and will need support in the coming weeks.