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'Weegz and Wagz' animal wellness program aims to keep pets with their owners

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Calgary Flames defenceman MacKenzie Weegar and his fiancée Maggie are teaming up with a local organization to help make a difference for animals, off the ice.

The couple paired up with Parachutes for Pets to set up the Weegz and Wagz pet wellness program. It will help people who are down on their luck get free veterinary care for their animals.

Weegar is an animal lover and says saving these animals is what it’s all about.

“You know to save a pet from passing away or whatever the case may be through tough times or whatnot. You know, keeping them around is huge and it’s a privilege to be a part of this charity,” he said.

 HELPING ANIMALS 

The Weegz and Wagz pet wellness program opened up on Wednesday.

It’s a service that will help a lot of Calgarians. Melissa David is the executive director and founder of Parachutes for Pets. She says Weegz and Wagz provides a holistic approach to pet care.

“Vet care and safekeeping,” she said. “We’re seeing a housing crisis in Calgary right now so unfortunately a lot of these people are about to become un-housed and now they have to surrender their pets.

“We’ve got a safekeeping program, we have a grooming program. Grooming is very expensive and a lot of dogs do need it medically so we can do in-house grooming. We also have our pet food bank and our vet clinic days. So it’s just whatever barrier we can remove to allow people to stay with their pets is what we’re trying to do with this program.”

 DOGS MEAN A LOT 

Leslie Schamehorn is homeless. He brought his two dogs into the clinic to get checked out.

Schamehorn says he doesn’t know what he’d do without Sam and Sky.

“They’re my everything,” he said.

“They’re my therapy and if it wasn’t for them I’m not sure where I’d be today. They give me motivation and the desire to keep on keeping on.”

HIGH DEMAND FOR SERVICES

Dr. Cody Creelman says having partners like the Weegars is crucial to helping save pets and the demand is endless.

“There’s endless pets out there that need medical attention but even just preventative care. Like this today is really important for preventing diseases in the future. Providing base-level vaccinations and de-worming is integral from a health standpoint," he said.

LOVING HIS DOGS

The Weegars have two dogs and Mackenzie says he shudders at the thought of having to give them up. That’s why this program is so near and dear to him.

“You know we love them to death and you know I’m thinking about them now and I don’t know what I would do without these two dogs,” he said.

“They mean the world to me and I couldn’t imagine somebody going through a tough time and having to give it up and it’s emotional even thinking about that.”

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