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Local animal rescue pleading for bolstered support to keep pace with service demands

Saving Grace Animal Society near Alix is struggling as donations and adoptions have slowed

Saving Grace Animal Society near Alix is struggling as the number of animals in distress increases while donations and adoptions have slowed.

Through the ongoing Brick by Brick Campaign, the Society has also been trying to raise funds to build a private vet clinic right next to their current shelter.

With a goal of $500,000 in place, they have so far raised $290,000 to date, but donations have come to a halt, explained Amanda McClughan, the Society’s development director.

And with the increase they are seeing in medical surrenders, their bank account is at the lowest it has been in the last year, she said, adding it’s a scary time not only for the Society but for the animals in need of help.

“We’ve had this huge increase in medical cases with a lot of animals that we are taking in lately,” she said. It’s even at the point where room for healthy animals is very tight as there are so many ill ones to provide care for.

“A lot of the animals we are then taking in have medical concerns, to the point that if we don’t take them in, it’s a life or death situation for them. Those (cases) have been at an all-time high,” she said, adding that of course the financial impact on the Society of that is huge, too.

“We’ve also noticed how donations are just lower coming in.”

In the meantime, staff has launched a Community Brick fundraiser for the month of October to encourage folks to come together to raise funds by donating any denomination.

Specifically, through the Thanks for Giving Community Brick Campaign, they hope to reach a goal of $20,000 by the end of October.

There are also some ongoing fundraisers for folks to get behind, such as the Gift of Flight raffle with WestJet.

Up for grabs is a flight, a hotel voucher and $500 cash.

“Sales for that are a lot slower then they were last year when we did it,” she said, noting the ongoing uncertainty of pandemic restrictions being a factor.

And unfortunately, a comedy night fundraiser which was planned for Nov. 6 in Lacombe had to be cancelled.

“I think that also a lot of the other rescues are in the same kind of situation,” she said, referring to the hike in demand and the drop in funding help.

“It seemed like at the beginning of this year, it was normal numbers. And at one point in the summer, it was even a slower pace. And then September hit, and the phone has not stopped ringing and the requests are coming in daily. I would say that some days, we are turning away about 20 animals,” she said.

She also explained that there is a rise in the number of neglected animals coming in as well.

“A lot of the animals we are getting in are cases where they have had something happen and they haven’t been helped.

“So the situation has progressed to a point where it’s now a severe medical case instead of something that could have been simply treated had it been caught right when it happened.”

McClughan said the need for the new vet clinic is more urgent than ever as the rescue is heading to vet clinics multiple times a week and their partner vet is no longer able to keep up with the demand as its grown so significantly.

Those interesting in offering support can go to or

The rescue is also continually looking for businesses and sponsors to partner up with.

Those interested in doing so are asked to contact McClughan at

Founded in 2018, Saving Grace Animal Society operates the shelter in Alix as well as an off-site sanctuary for the rescue and recovery of animals of all sizes.

The Society also works with trainers, veterinary staff and volunteers to rehabilitate animals to ensure every animal receives a ‘saving grace’ and an opportunity for a new home and life filled with love.

With more than 3,000 adoptions and 15 major rescue missions to date, the Society relies solely on a donation-based operating budget.

And its services don’t just take in the immediate area – since its inception, Saving Grace has been the ‘go-to society’ for 24-7 emergency calls, rescuing animals from all over Alberta and into Saskatchewan.


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