Everyone loves a birthday party, including wolfdogs.
The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, about 14 km west of Cochrane, continues to show their creativity in fundraising during the pandemic. Their most recent is a "Design a Wolfdog Birthday Party."
On Saturday, Apr. 25, they held their first one, and have two more coming up soon.
While they don't breed wolfdogs, 13 of those in the sanctuary have birthdays this spring. As a way to celebrate, they are hosting virtual birthday parties to allow supporters the opportunity to sponsor their favourite pack, design their ideal birthday party, and get a gift in return.
Sanctuary manager Alyx Harris says their first birthday party for the five members of the Yamnuska pack was thoroughly enjoyed.
"The wolfdogs got a turkey birthday cake, so they got a full turkey with a big dollop of whip cream on top, and I think they very much enjoyed that," says Harris.
They also wrapped a box in birthday paper and stuffed it full of meat and other nutritious goodies
"They got to unwrap it, and it was so much fun."
Up next is the Rundle pack's party this Thursday, Apr. 30. The Engadine pack’s turn is on Sunday, May 3.
The crew at the sanctuary has other projects up their sleeve.
In honour of Mother's Day, Yamnuska is launching an exclusive Alpha Female Tea blend that a local Calgary company has created specifically for them.
This tea blend will be part of a package that also includes contains a personalized wolfdog themed thank-you card as a way to celebrate Mother's Day and support local.
In the spirit of #GivingTuesdayNow taking place on May 5, the sanctuary will also be focusing on promoting its GoFundMe to raise $75,000 to help care for the wolfdogs while the facility is closed to the public. They've raised about $50,000 so far.
Revenue generated from tours of the sanctuary is an essential financial component of caring for the animals. The facility is now closed to the public due to the pandemic, and that's making it especially challenging.
Harris says they are focusing on how to keep people in touch with the wolfdogs, even if it's on a virtual basis.
"The new normal for us is we still want to keep involved with the wolfdogs. We want people to have their days kind of brightened up by seeing the wolfdogs."
She also believes it will help people understand why they need to raise the funds. Caring for each wolfdog costs about $1,800 per month.
You can learn more about the sanctuary and how to participate in these fundraisers by visiting here.