Canada is famed for its wildlife, and Alberta especially is brimming with bears, moose, wolves, bird-life; its a natural haven that supports truly magnificent ecosystems. Georgina works for the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, so we were eager to talk to someone that knows this wild side to Alberta so well…
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do…
I am the Executive Director of Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. Our mission is to provide a rescue resource for wolfdogs to come to when being displaced from their homes. We also offer educational programs for visitors to learn all about the wolfdogs.
Take us through a typical day for you…
The first task of the morning is getting the wolfdogs and the sanctuary ready for tours. This includes checking the fence lines, feeding, watering and cleaning up after the wolfdogs. Setting up for the tour includes getting the treat bags ready and setting up the viewing area. Most of the day is occupied running our visitor programs. We operate four guided tours per day. Guests participating in this tour are brought into the wolfdogs’ enclosures and learn all about our animals. When these tours are in progress, other volunteers complete daily tasks which could include cleaning deadfall, mowing the grass, or answering the heavy flow of emails we receive. When tours are not booked, we spend the majority of our time interacting with the animals, as well as other important administrative duties, errands, or facility maintenance. At the end of the day once all our guests have left we will do all our nightly duties. This includes another round of feeding, watering, and any miscellaneous duties.
What has been your most memorable moment at the sanctuary?
The best memories are formed when the guests, tour guide, and wolfdogs are all enjoying the experience. It makes for a great experience when all of the wolfdogs are engaged by treats given to them by the guests, and the guests are enjoying the presence of our animals. As a tour guide, tours are more enjoyable to give when the guests are engaged by the information we are teaching about the wolfdogs. Furthermore, even when the tour is over, guests that continue to ask questions and are interested to learn all they can make for the best memories because when we teach someone about wolfdogs, often that person will teach others what they have learned. Information will travel by word of mouth and sometimes make it all the way back to us here at the sanctuary. Every person we actively educate about wolves and wolfdogs alike makes great memories for all of us here.
Tell us a bit about your (wolf)dogs, where do they come from?
All of the wolfdogs that now reside at the sanctuary are surrendered by their owners or transferred from other rescue organizations. Some of them have been raised from a few weeks old while others have been obtained at adulthood.
When you are not working, where do you go to unwind?
Since my weekend days are Tuesday and Wednesday, I take advantage of the Rocky Mountains without a flood of tourists. I enjoy peaceful kayaking in Kananaskis or Canmore, while some days I will do a hike in Banff with a few friends. Otherwise, if weather is permitting, I will lounge around my house and spend time with my five non-wolf dogs.
Where should we go to witness Alberta’s most spectacular scenery?
Banff National Park would be among the best spots for breath-taking scenery. If you are looking for an area will less tourists, Canmore and Kananaskis have hundreds of hikes and several lakes to visit still within the mountain ranges.
If we’ve only got one day in Alberta, what should we do?
Come for a guided or self-guided tour at Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary of course! Stopping into Banff National Park is a must-do as well.
What is your favourite time of year and why?
Personally, my favourite time of year is spring. I enjoy the warmer weather after a cold winter as well as the blooming of all the flowers and greening of the trees. All of us here at the sanctuary would definitely agree that we do very much miss the beautiful winter coats of the wolfdogs when the temperature stays above zero degrees.
Do you think it is important to experience both urban and rural sides of the province?
We do believe that seeing both urban and rural sides of Alberta is important. Alberta has a lot to offer! Alberta has everything from the largest mall in Canada to the scenic views of the Rocky Mountains.
Describe Alberta in 3 words.
Diverse, Scenic, Inspiring
GEORGINA’S TOP 5
Kayak in Kananaskis
Hike in Canmore
Visit Banff on a weekday for spectacular scenery without the crowds
Come say hi at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
Travel in Spring and see the flowers in bloom