First-ever dog sanctuary in Siksika First Nation rescues strays, abandoned pups

After noticing the heartbreaking situation stray dogs of Siksika First Nation live in, a local couple launched the community’s first-ever dog rescue.

Wayne Solway started Soulway’s Sanctuary and Rescue in the community east of Calgary four years after moving there with his husband Donovan.

They provide dog daycare and care to stray and abandoned pups while they wait to be adopted.

Solway said they quickly noticed the demand for such a service, as it was very apparent that street dogs were running rampant, oftentimes sick and hungry.

“A lot of them were starving. I’ve seen … several of them scrounging for food as they ran around in packs,” he told CityNews.

“It was heartbreaking when I saw it — first started seeing them. I never knew it was like this before. Now that I see it, it is just sad. And I hear about cases of abandonment and people leaving dogs and cats to survive on their own. They get puppies and don’t know how to take care of them.”

Wayne Solway, left, and his husband Donovan in two separate photos at Siksika First Nation, Alta
Wayne Solway, left, and his husband Donovan in two separate photos at their sanctuary in Siksika First Nation, Alta. (Courtesy Wayne Solway)

Solway said the band immediately approved their idea, especially since stray dogs are a big problem in the community.

He says not only do they wander the streets hungry and sometimes sick, but they’ve been known to attack residents, making it unsafe for everyone.

“Often when these dogs are running around, they, when they’re in packs, they can be dangerous,” Solway explained.

“It’s just not even safe to, a lot of times, to even walk in the communities because there’s so many dogs.”

Since opening in August, the rescue has taken in four dogs and has eight heated indoor and outdoor kennels.

Wayne Solway plays with several dogs at his sanctuary in Siksika First Nation, Alta
Wayne Solway with several dogs at his sanctuary, Soulway’s Sanctuary and Rescue, in Siksika First Nation, Alta. (Courtesy Wayne Solway)

Solway says he couldn’t stand by and watch animals suffer with no one to turn to, so he and Donovan knew they’d have to do something, even though it meant pouring their own money into the project.

“I just wanted to make sure there was help for them. I grew up on a farm and I think every dog has special little personalities… it just kills me that they have to suffer like this,” Solway said.

“So I want it to be able to help the community in any of the dogs’ situations and be able to get them homes and shelters and safety.”

They are raising funds to expand their operations come the springtime, with a goal of reaching $20,000.

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