Firefighter calendar nets $21,000 for animal shelter

Firefighters plus puppies turned out to be a winning combination for the Whitehorse Firefighter Association’s charity calendar fundraiser.

Firefighters plus puppies turned out to be a winning combination for the Whitehorse Firefighter Association’s charity calendar fundraiser.

The project saw firefighters pose with shelter dogs and cats to raise money for the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse.

Shelter manager Betty Irwin was overcome with emotion today as she accepted a cheque for more than $21,000.

“We are so grateful for this help,” she said.

“I can’t believe it. These guys have just been unbelievable.”

The size of the cheque came as a total surprise, said Irwin.

“I heard a rumour that we might get $2,000.”

“I kept lying to her for a while,” said Nicholas O’Carroll, one of the firefighters who led the project, with a laugh.

The money has come in at a crucial time, said Irwin.

“This being the wintertime, our expenses go up for taking care of the animals,” said Irwin.

“The heating bill just goes sky high.”

The money will help keep the lights on and the doors open and the animals warm and fed, she said.

“Being a non-profit organization, we depend on people like this … to keep the shelter open and to make sure that the animals are well cared for.”

It’s been about 10 years since the last time the firefighters put out a calendar, said O’Carroll.

They were looking for a local charity that they hadn’t sponsored in the past, he said.

“My wife actually was the one that influenced me to look at Mae Bachur. Her mother was a part of the board here in the late ‘90s, and she knows that at this time they’ve been going through a lot of changes and they could use a little extra help, a little extra cash for the animals.”

The association teamed up with GBP Creative to take the photographs and produce the 2015 calendar.

Some firefighters posed with dogs and cats that were up for adoption at the shelter, and others brought in their own pets that they had previously adopted, said O’Carroll.

“A lot of our guys have been adopting shelter dogs for years,” he said.

The sleek, black-and-white calendars show off the strength of the firefighters, the adorableness of the pets and closeness of the bond between them.

It’s no wonder they were a major hit.

About 940 calendars have sold so far, said O’Carroll.

There are still a few available at the Feed Store, he said.

They had been selling for $20 each, but now they are available by donation.

“If you feel you want to give more, or even less – that’s fine, too,” he said.

“We’ve met our goal. We were quite happy with that.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at jronson@yukon-news.com

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