All her life, Debbie Knabke has cared about animals. She had a long history with various animal organizations such as the Victoria Humane Society and Quesnel’s Crooked Leg Ranch. Currently, she is volunteering with a Spirit’s Mission program. This organization is promoting a highly innovative Wellness and Sterilization program for companion animals who reside in B.C. First Nations communities. Spirit’s Mission volunteers also accepts any animals the band wants to surrender, and in return, the band will stop the culling of unwanted animals and will promote spaying and neutering. Its five-year contract with Saik’uz Nation outside Vanderhoof is in its fifth year.
However, possibly her biggest volunteer commitment is with the organization she started in 2012 with other Noah’s Wish trained volunteers, Pet Safe Coalition Society of Canada.
During the South Okanagan fires in 2003, Debbie took training with Noah’s Wish to assist animals during an emergency or disaster and continued to work with that group, with deployments all over B.C. until they pulled out of Canada in 2011.
It has taken Debbie and her volunteers several years to gain the recognition for the emergency needs of animals.
“We don’t go anywhere we’re not invited; people have to ask us to assist their animals,” she says.
Currently, they have a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Quesnel, and during the fires last summer, Pet Safe Coalition was very busy assisting animals and maintaining safe shelter for these animals in Alex Fraser Park and other locations.
Debbie is also a member of the Emergency Social Services of Quesnel as the pet liaison.
“I volunteer with organizations I believe in, such as Crooked Leg Ranch; organizations for which I can make a difference,” Debbie says.
Although she prefers to stay in the background, she is honoured to have been nominated for Quesnel’s Volunteer Citizen of the Year for 2017.
The 2018 Quesnel Volunteer Citizen of the Year Banquet and Awards Ceremony is Wednesday, April 18 in the Billy Barker Casino Showroom.
Tickets are available at Quesnel City Hall. Doors open at 6 p.m., dinner service starts at 6 p.m., and the ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m.
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