By Leann Soon

Parachutes for Pets would not be where it is today without our wonderful volunteers and partners! To give you a glimpse behind the scenes, we would love to introduce you to Erika, one of our volunteers, and Unleashed, one of our partners. 

Erika

Erika has been volunteering with us for just under a year, and mostly picks up donations for us from our partners (such as Unleashed – more on them below) and drops them back off at our warehouse to put together for our clients. She first heard about us from social media and following the Calgary Flames on Instagram. Starting right before Christmas, she was able to drop off donations in a Santa hat and have some fun while doing good. 

A typical donation pick-up/warehouse drop-off trip takes Erika about 30 minutes for a round trip, about once a month, depending on how many donations our partners have collected – it’s a very simple task but really makes a huge different to Parachutes for Pets and our clients. For Erika, it’s also very fun and it feels really good to give back and make a large impact. We know everyone really appreciates her time and help!

Which brings us to…

Unleashed

One of our great partners is Unleashed, a local shop for your pets – Erika herself is a customer and loves visiting for donation pick-ups as well as her own pets’ needs! Unleashed has always supported a number of charities by accepting cash donations on their behalf at the store, but when COVID hit, they really identified that the need was greater. They have always followed the growth of Parachutes for Pets and are such great advocates!

Once Unleashed was able to re-open last June, they started mentioning Parachutes for Pets to their customers, and on top of continuing to collect cash and credit card payments on our behalf, Cristina, one of the team members, created a donation box and sign at the front desk to bring more awareness to our cause. The donations Unleashed collects come directly from customers (many buy something extra when they shop), staff members and the store itself. If there are discounts or supplier relationships that Unleashed can leverage, they’ll used that as well – this year, they are getting us dozens of holiday toys for pets!

Recently, a regular customer’s dog passed away, and she donated three boxes of toys – the toys were so clean that other people asked if they were for sale, and it’s great to know her love for her dog is bringing joy to others. This partnership has been such a success that Unleashed is certainly going to continue this even after COVID – they know firsthand that everyone needs their pets, especially people who are going through a tough time. 

If you need some presents for your pet this holiday season, or want to visit a great local business and contribute some much-appreciated donations to Parachutes for Pets, or even if you want a present gift-wrapped (they are doing this for donations again this year), our friends at Unleashed are here to help. 

To Erika and the entire team at Unleashed – thanks so much for everything you do for us!

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