Planes, trains and automobiles bring pet food to the North

by | Northern projects |

CN donation, food donation, Ontario SPCA

Container loaded on railcar

When you run low on food for your pets, where do you go to get more? For many people in Ontario, they have several different options nearby that sell pet food. In remote communities in Northern Ontario, it’s not always that simple.

Many barriers exist in the North that do not exist in the South. Resources and access to animal welfare services, such as veterinarians and spay/neuter services, are often limited. Even getting supplies to many of these communities comes with obstacles, as many are accessed by air only. Extreme winter weather also complicates the delivery of supplies and services for much of the year.

Thanks to a special partnership between the Ontario SPCA, CN Rail, North Star Air Ltd. and Rolf C. Hagen Inc., a shipment of over 28,000 lbs of pet food was sent to remote communities in Northern Ontario to support pet owners.

“In remote Northern communities, resources and access to animal welfare services are often limited and getting supplies to many of these communities comes with obstacles, as many are accessed by air only,” says Judi Cannon, Director, Partnerships & Community Outreach, Ontario SPCA. “We are thrilled to be able to share this food with pet owners in the North and would like to thank Rolf C. Hagen Inc. for generously supplying the food, as well as CN Rail and North Star Air Ltd. and the Feeding Program for Northern Dogs for making this initiative possible.”

The shipment of food arrived at North Star Air’s Pickle Lake base on May 4 and is in the process of being distributed by plane to the various remote Northern communities that North Star Air serves. The 29 pallets of cat and dog food were shipped by CN rail from the GTA to Winnipeg where the food was then trucked to Pickle Lake, located approximately 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

ontario spca, pickle lake
Food unloaded in Pickle Lake.

“Part of what we do at CN is support our neighbours and the communities where we operate,” says Daniel Salvatore, Manager, Public Affairs Ontario, CN. “Railroaders have big hearts and are good at getting things done, this project was no exception. CN employees involved in transporting the donated goods by truck and train on our network from Mississauga, Brampton, Winnipeg, and Thunder Bay were proud to be of assistance.”

The dog and cat food was donated by Rolf C. Hagen Inc. and is one of the largest in-kind donations in the history of the Ontario SPCA.

“Hagen has continually contributed to and supported many animal welfare organizations over the years; but always with a strong focus in Canada, where the company was founded, and is still currently headquartered,” says Katherine Bosina, Manager, Dog & Cat Consumables with Rolf C. Hagen Inc. “We are fortunate enough to be able to help offset some of the tremendous costs the Ontario SPCA incurs to protect and care for animals in need; in all areas of Ontario, including the remote northern communities. We hope this donation will bring attention to their important work in these areas.”

The donation comes during the Ontario SPCA’s Year of the Northern Dog initiative, a program aimed at bringing awareness, attention and action to a serious animal welfare issue in Canada – Northern dog overpopulation. In response to many caring and compassionate Northern communities, the Ontario SPCA and its partners have developed a network of individuals, organizations and communities aimed at bringing awareness to the issue and working alongside Northern communities with a common goal – to change lives.