Although most kids save up their allowance to buy the latest toy or video game, two kids from Whitecourt, Alberta had very different plans for their hard-earned cash.
After working all summer, Olivia Vandekerchhove babysat and her brother Zach cut grass, the two decided to put away some of their money to put towards a cause close to their hearts – the Whitecourt Homeless Animal Rescue Foundation (WHARF).
Karen Evasiuk thought suggesting it to the kids was a great idea, however, she had no idea the pair had made $400 and wanted to donate half of it.
“Last week they come to me with $200. I had no idea they had that much,” said Karen Evasiuk.
Olivia, Zach and their mother Karen headed for the dollar store with the hard-earned money. The three purchased as many leashes, dishes and other pet necessities as they could.
The idea to raise money for WHARF came about only a few short months ago after the family’s two long-time dogs passed away. Heartbroken by their passing, Evasiuk told her family they would not be adopting any more dogs – of course, that idea only lasted for one month.
“I’d been looking at dogs for a long time but I didn’t want to tell them and get their hopes up,” said Evasiuk.
One dog in particular, caught her attention. The dog, named Pi, was a street dog who had been rescued from Mexico. The dog only had one eye and was in need of a loving home.
“I kept looking at the WHARF site and kept going back to Pi’s picture and I figured that had to mean something.”
It only took a phone call for Evasiuk to decide that Pi was definitely the dog she had been waiting for.
Of course, one dog is never enough. The family continued to look at the WHARF website until they came upon another needy dog who had only three legs. This dog, named Dizzy, had been rescued after forest fires ripped through Slave Lake, Alberta.
“We were in Manitoba when they were doing those adoption days and we were worried someone was going to take her,” said Evasiuk. “But when we got back they said they had a few interested but they shied away for whatever reason.”
When the family went to pick up Dizzy, they caught a glimpse of all the dogs in need of a good home.
“After we saw the magnitude of it, and what they needed, I told the kids they should put away a percentage of their money towards it.”
“Every time I got money, I’d put away a percentage of it,” said Olivia.
The organization often requires volunteers to purchase supplies out of their own pocket as they struggle to get enough donations. This is why Olivia and Zach wanted so badly to help make a difference. The two worked hard all summer as they saved up to make a significant donation.
“I’m very frugal, I’m careful with money and what I’m putting it towards,” said Olivia.
The family knew the money was going to an excellent cause, as they respect the way WHARF handles their animals.
“They’re very up front with you. If the dog has a temperament, they’ll tell you it might be best if it didn’t go to a family with small children. They want to adopt the dogs out to permanent homes, they don’t want to see them come back,” said Evasiuk.
“The adoptions really rejuvenated our family. They’re young and full of energy and playful.”