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Calgary organization will help care for homeless people’s pets during extreme cold

Calgary’s Parachute for Pets will be helping the city’s most vulnerable house their pets amid the frigid cold weather.

Calgary is expected to see highs of -27 C, -31 C and -29 C on Thursday, Friday and Saturday respectively, putting anyone without a home at risk.

Despite the extreme cold, there are still Calgarians experiencing homelessness who may not head to a shelter for fear of abandoning their pet.

Calgary has no shelters that accommodate animals.

This is why Parachute for Pets is, new this winter, offering overnight safekeeping for unhoused pets in danger of losing their lives due to inclement weather.

Those sleeping rough who wish to take advance of the program can drop their pets off at Parachute for Pets’ Pet Advocacy Centre, located at 6120 1A St S.W., between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.

There is also a 24/7 ‘angel team’ that can assist clients after hours.

“Owning pets is a barrier to accessing shelter and supports for many unhoused with pets. It shouldn’t be,” said Melissa David, Paracutes for Pets founder.  

“Pets provide a great mental/physical support system, and may be the only family a person has.”

The program, which is offered in partnership with the Calgary Homeless Foundation and Distress Centre, started on Dec. 1, 2023 and will continue until March 31.

Overnight care is only available for three nights maximum, but can be adjusted on a case-by-case basis.

The organization also has a warming space for people with and without pets at the Pet Advocacy Centre from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.

“We are committed to the human-animal bond and keeping both safe,” David said.

For more information on Parachute for Pets, you can visit their website.

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