The Canadian Football League (CFL) season is just around the corner and though the Grey Cup is on his mind, Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira is also wading through flood water.
Oliveira’s pet rescue is the focus of this week’s Sports with Stranger segment.
Oliveria works with K9 Advocates Manitoba, a not-for-profit founded by First Nations nurse Jasmine Colucci.
On top of rescuing animals, they help communities manage the population of rez dogs and cats, and provide spay and neuter services for owners who can’t afford the expensive procedure.
“Now we have over 150 fosters, we have a team of about 10 that are really actively involved, and we pull in like 2,000 dogs a year and work really closely with around I’d say eight to ten communities are our main communities, including Nunavut now,” Colucci said.
Colucci’s passion is matched by Oliveira’s.
“I always say I love being a voice for the voiceless and that’s why I do it. There’s these helpless innocent dogs that are being mistreated, neglected, abused, whatever the case is and they have no voice and I love being a voice for the voiceless,” Oliveira said.
He recently traveled to flooded out Peguis First Nation to rescue pets people had to leave behind.
“I have been on, I don’t even know how many rescue missions I’ve been on, a ton, and that definitely is up there for one of the most insane rescue missions that I’ve ever been on and I mean just walking through ice cold water, the highest point it got up to was like mid thigh and that is freezing cold water,” he said.
“It wasn’t just a five-minute walk, from the road to the house it was a 15-minute walk so you’re walking 30 minutes in ice cold water but then you’re still walking back with an adult dog in your arms all the way back to my truck.”
Colucci said he is an inspiration to communities throughout the province.
“With somebody who’s a positive influence for the kids to look up to and see how passionate Brady is towards the animals as well, they want to get dog food as well, they’re going around helping us feed stray dogs and have them realize they’re not as scary as they were raised to think that they maybe are and that they can be saved and there’s people like brady and rescues out there that can help the communities,” Colucci said.
Oliveria said there’s always a huge need for help.
“Honestly just there to be a positive good help for the community and I think it’s so important to help out these First Nation communities because as you know the farther north you go the more remote it gets and the more dogs there are and the less resources these communities have,” Oliveira said.
“What I want to do going into these communities is just being a person where the community members can see me and know hey that’s Brady, I can go to his truck and grab dog food or hey I can let him know about a dog that needs help or hey that’s just a good guy that is trying to help my community.”
Both Colucci and Oliveira said donations are desperately needed and there are a number of rescues across the country.