Our Community: Donation will save pets’ lives

Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, birds and reptiles in the Saanich Peninsula can breathe a sigh of relief with this week’s announcement that fire departments in their community will now carry pet-appropriate oxygen-resuscitation masks.

The masks were donated by the North Saanich Dog Obedience Training Club as part of its community outreach program.

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Fire engines from the North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney fire departments will carry pet-friendly mask kits.

Each kit contains one small, medium and large mask, allowing firefighters to treat a variety of different-sized animals. In the past, firefighters treated pets with oxygen masks intended for humans.

“As a volunteer organization, we’re pleased to offer this donation to the Peninsula’s firefighters, many of whom volunteer to protect our homes, families and pets under all sorts of conditions,” said Rod Deacon, club president. “We are more than a dog club — we’re a community service organization — and we’re proud of our contributions on the Saanich Peninsula over the past 60 years.”

The Victoria and Richmond Fire Departments were among the first to use the pet oxygen masks in the province. The company that sells the kits has delivered more than 6,300 for use at 3,000 fire and rescue departments in North America.

“Pets are often on the scene in emergency situations and, like humans, they are susceptible to health risks arising from a fire,” said Brett Mikkelsen, Sidney fire chief. “While our members never hesitate to assist an animal in distress, this donation means that we now have the proper equipment to save a pet’s life during an emergency.”

Repair Café aims to reduce waste 

People who aspire to live a green life now have one more R to choose from with the introduction of Victoria’s first Repair Café on Valentine’s Day.

People who regularly Reduce, Reuse and Recycle can now Repair whatever they own. Broken toasters, bicycles with wobbly wheels, even clothes full of moth holes will be repaired at the one-day event.

By promoting repairs, organizers hope to help reduce mountains of waste.

“We throw away piles of stuff each day, even things that could be made useful again with a simple repair,” said Michelle Mulder, one of the organizers. “Repair Café wants to change all that.”

Volunteers, including electricians, knitters, glue experts, sewing enthusiasts and bicycle mechanics will be available to help visitors repair their broken household items.

Tools and materials will also be on hand for those willing to roll up their sleeves and attempt to fix an item themselves. People can bring in their broken toasters, lamps, hair dryers, clothes, bikes, toys or crockery.

The event is also an opportunity to connect within the community.

“Volunteer repairers, many of whom are elderly, have an opportunity to share knowledge,” says Mulder. “Visitors to the Repair Café learn skills that our society has almost forgotten. Better yet, when a participant repairs something with a volunteer fixer, the two people build a connection. The next time they see each other on the street, they might say hello. Conversations start. But above all, we want to show how much fun repairing can be and how easy it often is.”

The Repair Café concept arose in Amsterdam, where the Repair Café Foundation has regularly been organizing gatherings since 2010. The local organizers are planning future events. The second Repair Café is scheduled for Saturday, May 30.

The event is free. It runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 at the Central Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, 735 Broughton St.

Jaguar car show a boon for Hospice

The Jaguar Car Club of Victoria recently announced a donation of $4,500 to the Victoria Hospice. The donation was made possible from entry fees from the club’s 2014 Jaguar on the Island Concours d’Elegance, held last July at Windsor Park in Oak Bay.

The car show boasted the largest gathering of the iconic British brand in North America, attracting 146 Jaguars, from classic to modern models, to Victoria for the annual event.

Organizers hope the contribution will help enhance the quality of life for those facing advancing illness, death and bereavement through compassionate care, education, research and advocacy by Victoria Hospice. For more information, go to victoriahospice.org or jaguarcarclubofvictoria. wildapricot.org.

Variety telethon promises surprises 

Organizers hint there are a few surprises in store for viewers as the 49th annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon airs Feb. 14 and 15

The two-day show features heartwarming stories of children in B.C. helped by Variety - The Children’s Charity, musical entertainment showcasing the industry’s biggest stars and innovative ways for viewers to engage with the show.

“The Show of Hearts Telethon is our biggest fundraising event of the year,” said Bernice Scholten, executive director of Variety. “We see each child as a champion, capable of achieving remarkable success. Our show salutes the little victories of kids across the province and we invite viewers to celebrate with us.”

Variety - The Children’s Charity provides lifesaving support to special-needs children in the province. Viewers who tune in will hear about how the children celebrate their individual victories and see how donations make a difference.

Vancouver’s pre-eminent blogger, Miss 604, joins the team this year with live and interactive social media updates using the hashtag #SOH2015 from the new Show of Hearts Social Lounge sponsored by Miss 604 at the event. People can join the conversation by including @Miss604 and @VarietyBC in their tweets.

Viewers will also have a chance to win a new Ford Fiesta provided by Ford Canada.

Since 1966, Variety has raised more than $170 million for sick children.

The telethon starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 and winds up at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15. on Global B.C. For more information and a lineup of the entertainers, visit variety.bc.ca.

Charity concert to benefit Honduras 

A University of Victoria student and the big band she has been playing with are holding a charity concert Monday to provide medical relief to rural communities in Central America that have no access to health care.

Natasha Olive is a cornet player, microbiology student and member of the UVic chapter of the Global Brigades, who bill themselves as the largest movement for global health and holistic development. The organization will be sending a local team of 35 students to Honduras during Reading Break, Feb. 6 to 13. UVic is the first Canadian university chapter for the organization, which is active in Europe and other parts of North America.

The goal of the concert is to raise money for medical supplies to treat people who will be visiting the clinics.

Tickets: $10 donation at door. The concert runs 7:30 to 10 p.m. Monday at Hermann’s Jazz Club, 753 View St. For more information, contact Olive at tash-olive@hotmail.com.

Popsicle-stick playgrounds benefit United Way 

There is still time for engineering companies to enter an interesting fundraiser to benefit the United Way.

Six local engineering firms are building playgrounds out of popsicle sticks — yes, popsicle sticks.

The larger the donation to the United Way, the more material is available for contestants to spruce up the playground. The starter kit is a $500 donation, medium $1,500 donation and large $2,500 donation.

“This is a great opportunity to get involved and have some fun outside of the formal work environment,” said Kate Ulmer, P.Eng., vice-president of the Victoria Women in Construction Group.

Two Andrews are credited with promoting the initiative — Andrew Higginson, owner of Higginson Consulting, is the person leading the charge to connect businesses to charitable giving, and Andrew Beckerman is a United Way donor who is willing to match up to $10,000 raised by the challenge.

“The impact of this challenge will make our communities a better place; there are no rules here — just creativity, team-work and having fun,” said Higginson.

Companies have until Feb. 26 to complete their projects, with a wrap-up party, showcasing the completed playgrounds. Judges will determine the winning entry and the firm will receive an Engineering Cup.

Donations to United Way’s 2014 community campaign are being accepted until March 31 at the United Way office, 1144 Fort St., via phone 250-385-6708 or online at uwgv.ca.

You can give old bikes new lease on life

The Spokes Bicycle Program at the University of Victoria is looking for donations of adult bicycles for its refurbished-bike loan and rental program.

The program combines recycling with cycling, with volunteers giving new life to old, unwanted bikes to create safe, green and affordable transportation options for students, faculty and staff.

“We have finally got to the end of our supply of unwanted bicycles and are now looking for donations from the community,” said William Rondow, a longtime Spokes volunteer. “Donations don’t have to be in perfect condition but they do need to be adult-sized and have some hope of repair.”

The initiative, which started in 2003, has more than 400 bicycles in circulation and almost 13,000 bike loans to date. It has a proven history of waste reduction, sustainable transportation and supporting a green economy.

The group has a workshop on campus where people can drop off bikes. Those who have a bicycle to donate but don’t have transportation can email the group for a pickup at spokes@uvic.ca.

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