Siksika Nation will soon have a new sanctuary for stray and neglected dogs to help them find a forever home.
Wayne Solway and his husband are working with local animal services to get dogs off the streets both for their well beings, as well as for that of the local community.
“I have been working with public safety and I have seen, working with animal services, the sad situations with the dogs on Siksika. I have seen starvation and I have seen suffering from all the homeless dogs and packs,” said Solway. “We have situations where we have dog bites and dog packs running around chasing people and the people in the community seem to be afraid of walking around just anywhere without a stick or something.”
Noting a lack of an appropriate facility within Siksika for stray dogs, Solway decided to open his own, utilizing an inherited property from his mother to do so.
Development on the shelter has been ongoing for roughly six months on Solway’s own dime to create appropriate kennel space for incoming animals.
“We finally have got most of it built to be functional now, so right now we are taking in animals as a dog daycare in the meantime while we wait for a contract with animal services to start taking in stray dogs,” said Solway.
Prior to the establishment of “Soulway’s Dog Sanctuary and Shelter,” dogs that were picked up in Siksika Nation were directed off to Calgary, Red Deer or even further away.
Solway said there are currently 10 kennels ready for strays to be housed in at the moment, but he intends to increase capacity and there is still a ways to go before the facility is up to Siksika Nation standards.
He added there has been a great deal of support for the facility pouring in both from Siksika Nation, as well as surrounding communities.
“I am quite surprised at how much people have noticed … now that we are doing this, the community and the Chief and Council have been really supportive and helping me to get what steps I need to do,” he said. “It has been a process doing the approvals of the land, approvals of the space, approvals of a business on Siksika … and in the meantime, getting it built before all those approvals. It is exciting just to have this opportunity to have this business going.”
Ultimately, the service will take in animals from Siksika Animal Services for temporary housing, feeding and care until they can find forever homes.
Those who are potentially interested in donating to the shelter, or volunteering once the facility is taking in animals are able to contact Solway at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 587-834-5634.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times