In May 2016, Alberta’s most devastating wildfires fiercely raced towards the city of Fort McMurray.

It was one of the largest mandatory evacuations in Alberta’s history as 80,000 people were forced to flee their homes. The wildfire was aggressive and unpredictable, engulfing everything in its ever-changing path. Hundreds of residents had to flee from wherever they were, unable to return to their homes to retrieve their beloved pets.

As we all watched the news coverage in disbelief and started seeing footage from incredible escape journeys, our thoughts went immediately to the hundreds of pets left behind. In that moment, it felt as if time was standing still. We all felt the urge to do something…anything…to help both the people and their pets.

ALBERTA STRONG, every corner of the province rallied together. Within a few days, it was safe enough for authorized rescuers to enter and a number of Animal Welfare Organizations were called in to assist the Municipality. The Animal Extraction Team was created to respond to the hundreds of incoming pet rescue requests and take action to extract and provide care for animals trapped within homes across the city. Teams, which included Animal Rescuers, Animal Control Officers, Certified Locksmiths and local Peace Officers, worked day and night to retrieve animals and respond to their immediate needs. Animals were then transferred to the Edmonton Pets & People Re-Unification Centre.


Pets Extracted, Reunited or Relinquished into Rescue Organizations.

“No Life Too Small.”

To this day, we reflect on the scale of the disaster and the efforts of so many people to rescue and reunite families with their pets.