All in, $29,000 has now been raised in a spinoff from two annual major fundraisers of the Cochrane and Area Humane Society (CAHS).

In the spring, Hair of Dog had to be shelved due to COVID-19. Concerned for the society, its five major sponsors stepped forward to donate $5,000 with hopes of eventually being able to hold the event and raise more. It was not to be.

Then, the society was devastated when it had to cancel its annual gala in November.

But this is Cochrane, and that's not how the story ends.

Many items had already been donated for auctions that are typically a major part of both events. Several others were added and the first online fundraiser of the Humane Society was born, running from Nov. 20 to 27. The troops were rallied and it raised $12,000.

It gets even better.

Midway through the event, Hair of Dog founder Kendra Watt, of CIR Realty,  announced that she would match the final amount raised from the auction. That turned $12,000 into $24,000.

Watt, a long--time supporter of the humane society, says she made the pledge in hopes of inspiring others to place bids on the items in the auction.

"I have a real soft spot for animals, and for the Cochrane and Area Humane Society specifically, because of all the hard work that the staff and volunteers do year-over-year just to give these animals a safe place to be and a chance at adoption at a new home," says Watt.

"This year especially has been difficult for everybody, but I know the Humane Society really counts on generating revenue through a lot of their education, programs, and courses that they put on for the public, and not being able to hold those has really put a big dent in the revenue that they are able to generate this year. So, anything that we can do to help I know is appreciated and I know it goes to such a great cause."

CAHS communications coordinator Lisa Kedian says they were thrilled with the response to their first-ever online fundraiser and ecstatic when Watt fuelled the fire by offering to match the funds raised.

"Kendra's definitely been a huge supporter," says Kedian. "She's very involved in a lot of the events that we do. She's always so generous, and she's always looking out for the shelter. She's always been a foster home for us, she's had a few foster fills as well, so she's definitely one of our biggest supporters."

Kedian says the Humane Society has been adjusting to the new environment to raise the funds they need to provide support for pets.

Additionally, a long list of their normally hands-on programs are now offered online.

"Because we have had to cancel so many of those things, we've had to change how we do things. So we decided to give it a go with running things virtual, and we're so happy with the response that we have received. We have so many supporters locally and around Calgary and Airdrie. We're just so thankful that everybody is so supportive of CAHS."

You can learn about the vast offerings of CAHS here.