International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

January 13, 2015 16:36 ET

Guelph Students Build Warm Homes for Dogs in the Frigid North

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 13, 2015) -

Notes to editors: There is a photo opportunity, to interview and document students building the dog houses at College Heights Secondary School at 11am on January 14, 2015. High-resolution images of students building the dog houses are also available upon request following the event on January 14.

Dogs in remote parts of Ontario and Quebec, who would otherwise have to brave the elements on their own, will be warm and dry this winter thanks to a partnership between Habitat for Humanity, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and students from the Upper Grand District School Board.

The dogs are part of IFAW's Northern Dogs Project, which works in remote First Nations communities and provides assistance in the form of dog houses, vet care, education and mentorship. Many dogs in the communities in which IFAW works live outside, year-round.

The partnership between IFAW, Habitat for Humanity and the Upper Grand District School Board was set in motion when a remote First Nations community made an urgent plea to IFAW for dog houses to keep their community's dogs warm in the frigid winter months.

"Temperatures up north are dipping fast, so when IFAW received calls from two of our partner communities, one in northern Ontario and one in northern Quebec, asking if we could help by providing houses to keep their dogs warm, of course it was easy to say yes," said Jan Hannah, IFAW's Northern Dogs Project Manager. "IFAW supporters donated the funds to purchase materials, what was going to be tricky was building enough dog houses fast enough to get the dogs out of the cold. That's where Habitat for Humanity jumped in."

"I felt strongly about this project right from the start because as Habitat for Humanity's key focus is giving a hand up to needy families through affordable homeownership, there is such a need to help these vulnerable animals find shelter to survive the winter in the north. I immediately thought of Habitat's wonderful partnership with the Upper Grand District School Board, whose students had already worked with us and contacted them for the manpower to build the dog houses," remarked Sharron Riley-Persson, Director of Marketing, Communications and Resource Development for Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph.

The Upper Grand District School Board is a partner of Habitat for Humanity, assisting with several projects in the region. The Construction Students at College Heights Secondary School are part of the Province's Specialist High Skills Major program. They are getting involved with this build as part of their class work and final exam.

Charles Benyair, SHSM/Technological Education Lead with the Upper Grand District School Board said, "We're very excited about this project as it will benefit our students and the communities involved immediately. It's all about the transfer of skills and applying them to something meaningful."

Carol Beatson, College Heights Secondary School Technological Education Head said, "I always look for ways to make the work 'real' for students. This provides them with the opportunity to use the skills they have learned and practiced through the semester in a way that will have an impact."

Once the partners set the project in motion, the next question was how to deliver the end result. Habitat's Sharron Riley-Persson added, "My next thought was how Habitat for Humanity could facilitate both the cost to build the houses as well as transportation to the northern location. That's when both Home Depot and AMJ Campbell stepped up to the plate to help with the cost of building materials and transport."

According to AMJ Campbell VP of Sales, Paul Paquette, "When Sharron contacted me I was ready to help get the houses to the communities fast. AMJ Campbell is a locally-owned company and we are always excited to assist our community partners when possible."

With temperatures dipping into minus double-digits consistently up north, these dog houses are vital to the health and survival of the dogs. This unique partnership bridges communities and provides benefits to both humans and dogs.

Contact Information

  • To schedule an interview, contact: IFAW Canada
    Michelle Cliffe
    Communications Officer

    Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph
    Sharron Riley-Persson
    Director of Marketing, Communications & Resource Development

    Upper Grand District School Board
    Charles Benyair
    SHSM/Technological Education Curriculum Lead