When Karl Ranch animal sanctuary owners Martha Rogers and Brad Schneider made the move to the Boundary last year, theirplanned destination was Westbridge, where they had put a down-payment on a property that suited them and their plans foran animal rescue shelter in the region. All that changed when the Rock Creek/Westbridge fire tore through the Highway 33corridor, destroying much of the couple’s vision.
Fortunately, a realtor found them another property on Bubar Road in Rock Creek, a riverside acreage surrounded by natureand the Trans-Canada Trail, and it is there that Karl Ranch came into being.
Moving from Calgary to B.C. was an easy choice for Rogers and Schneider; both love the mountains and, with most land inAlberta being flat farmland as well as cost-prohibitive if near a town of any sort, the Boundary appeared ideal for bothpersonal and business-related reasons. Add to that the couple’s impression of the community’s coming together during thefire, and their decision to make the area their home became an easy one.
“After seeing the way the community here banded together during the fire, we knew this was the type of community wewanted to be a part of and we have certainly not seen anything to make us feel otherwise,” Rogers said. “Everyone we’ve metand had dealings with are beyond helpful and welcoming.”
Schneider has been a certified dog trainer since 2004, conducting obedience, puppy and movie tricks classes, while Rogers iscurrently half way through a two-year clinical pet nutritionist degree program. Rogers also gained her pre-vet degree thoughthe University of Calgary. The couple shares ideals in terms of the rescue aspect and dogs in general.
“We both believe that the dogs we have do well with us because we firmly believe in setting them up for success and notfailure and both of us are very well versed in reading a dogs body language,” Rogers said. “Our ultimate goal is ensuring theyare happy and well adjusted.
“We’ve had dogs that were abused to the point they had completely shut down and that we’ve been able to bring their selfconfidence back and get them adopted out to the right home. We’ve put years into working with dogs and then once we seethem confidently leave with their new families, it proves that it takes patience and knowing what the dog needs to move pastany traumatic experience they may have experienced.”
In Calgary, Rogers fostered for various rescue organizations for six years, fostering over 450 dogs during that time span,often ending up with the problem dogs and medical cases because of her experience. Both Rogers and Schneider gainedvaluable knowledge through working with numerous rescue groups in Calgary and decided to approach the Just Love Animals(JLA) Society to suggest a partnership.
JLA runs the Petapalooza events in Victoria, Vancouver and Calgary and is looking to expand to other cities in the next fewyears. Rogers and Schneider have the property, space and vast canine experience with which to support JLA’s animal welfaremandate.
“Our ultimate goal is to offer boarding, daycare and training, in addition to nutrition consulting to help fund the rescue,”Rogers said. “We know that working with animals may not make us millionaires but helping to save every animal we arecapable of is what matters most. We are lucky enough to have wonderful partners in the JLA Society that will be doing most ofour major fundraising for our rescue and sanctuary animals (our permanent, un-adoptable animals that will live out their liveswith us).”
Karl Ranch is currently in the process of having donation boxes put into stores, with over 30 businesses already agreeing toshowcase them. At the Petapalooza events, the couple will be looking for donations of cash and supplies needed to supportthe sanctuary, such as food, dog beds, leashes, collars and toys.
Rogers and Schneider are also hoping to attract donations of building supplies for the construction of a rescue building,which will house incoming dogs during a quarantine assessment period as they are readied for potential adoption. They arealso in need of fencing and fencing materials to enable the ranch to expand their rescue efforts to include animals such ashorses and other livestock.
“Currently the JLA Society assists the ranch with some spay and neuter costs,” Rogers said, “and we plan on expanding that aswell. They also help with food donations for those in need and there are many other programs we are hoping to start up in thefuture. Karl Ranch was the original name for our facility and since we’ve teamed up with JLA we’ve expanded to JLA SocietySVU (special victims unit) at Karl Ranch Rescue and Sanctuary.”
“While our facility grows, however, we will continue to ensure the care of each animal is top notch and that our goal remainsthe same as it has with all of the animals who have come into our care.”
In addition to offering adoptions out of Karl Ranch, Rogers and Schneider will begin holding “adoptathons” at Sunshine Pets inKelowna as soon as they have dogs ready to place. The store has already helped the couple’s fundraising efforts by staging avery successful “Pet Pics with Santa” campaign last December. Adopting will cost around $300, which includes vaccinations,spay/neuter and physical and behavioral assessments.
“Once I started fostering,” said Rogers, “I noticed there was such a high demand for foster homes, especially ones that couldhandle dogs with certain issues, including medical and behavioural problems. Since then it has become my full-time job, and Icouldn’t be happier.”
Karl Ranch can be reached through Facebook and the JLA website is www.jlasociety.com.