Winnipeg Blue Bomber, Edmonton Elk team up to rescue dogs from flooded Peguis First Nation
A Winnipeg Blue Bomber teamed up with a CFL player from a rival team to rescue three dogs from Peguis First Nation, Man.
Running back Brady Oliveira said one of the paramedics working in the flood-ravaged first nation contacted him to let him know about three pups in need of rescue.
The community, about 150 kilometres north of Winnipeg, has been under a mandatory evacuation order since Sunday, forcing over 1,400 people to flee their homes.
Oliveira works with K9 Advocates Manitoba, a non-profit organization that helps First Nation communities manage the overpopulation of stray dogs.
According to Oliveira, a Peguis resident alerted paramedics that their dog and her two puppies were left in the community when they were evacuated. The paramedics had the key to the home, and asked Oliveira to transport the dogs back to Winnipeg.
The Blue Bomber has done a number of rescues for the organization, usually alongside his girlfriend. This time, she was out of town so he called on Edmonton Elks receiver Shai Ross, who is originally from Winnipeg.
The two are training together in the off-season, and Oliveira thought he’d be the perfect teammate for the rescue, except for one hitch.
“Shai is actually pretty allergic to dogs, so he just took a ton of allergy pills before he got in my truck and before we headed out to the community,” Oliveira laughed.
They met up with paramedics in the community who took them to the home and gave them the key to get inside.
The two had to wade through thigh-deep, ice-cold water to access the home.
“The closer you got, you started to see (the dog) on the deck, and then the closer you got, you just started hearing her cries and cries and cries, and it was just so heartbreaking knowing that she had nowhere to go. She was surrounded by water,” he said.
Together, Oliveira and Ross carried back the mother dog and her two pups and drove them to Winnipeg.
According to Oliveira, their owner surrendered them to K9 Advocates Manitoba. The pups are currently being fostered.
The dogs will then go to Boxer Rescue Ontario where they will be adopted to forever homes.
Meanwhile, Oliveira is calling on whoever is able to donate to a GoFundMe for K9 Advocates Manitoba. Money raise will help offset the costs of the dog rescues and ongoing care.
As for Oliveira, he said this won't be his last rescue.
“I'll do this ‘til the day I die. I love being a voice for the voiceless, and that's what keeps me going back and back, rescue after rescue. It's just something that is a passion of mine now,” he said.