GPRC volunteers care for evacuees’ furry family members

Some of the GPRC faculty and staff who helped look after the evacuated animals Tiffany Duncan, Katey Johnston, Lin Roy, Bonnie Danielson, Dr. Chris Mizzi, Lisa Coady, Carl Ball, Rhonda Shaw, and Shannon Ball.

GPRC’s Fairview campus became home for some important members of families evacuated from northwestern Alberta due to wildfires.

First year Animal Health Technology student Dayna McKay who is living on campus during the summer is lending a hand.

The College’s Animal Health Technology program put out the call offering to house any animals for displaced families shortly after the mandatory evacuations started in northwestern Alberta. A few days later, when the Town of Manning was placed under evacuation notice, the local veterinary clinic reached out to ask GPRC to look after the animals it had been housing for evacuees.

“We wanted to make sure the animals were safe somewhere else,” said Kaitie Koch, manager of the Manning Veterinary Clinic.

Shaylene Syrota, RVT, Educational Lab Technologist AHT – Animal Sciences Department and Dr. Christy Barlund, DVM – Instructor – Animal Sciences Department were two of the faculty and staff volunteers.

The clinic had already housed animals from families evacuated from High Level for about 10 days.

When the animals arrived on campus, GPRC’s animal health faculty and staff did an amazing job, said Koch.

“They were incredibly helpful and knew what exactly needed to be done,” she said.

Over the course of the evacuation notice, GPRC housed a total of 11 dogs, one cat and one hamster. The program faculty and staff continued any treatments the animals needed and monitored them daily to ensure they were doing well, explained Rhonda Shaw, Animal Health Technology instructor.

The animals were weighed in and weighed out, had their appetite and attitude monitored daily, and were fed and walked twice a day. The dogs all got time to run in the College’s round pen.

Volunteers would send videos and pictures of the animals to their owners so the owners knew their pets were doing OK. Volunteers hoped the photos would help reduce some of the stress the evacuees were experiencing.

“We were grateful to be able to provide some comfort by having the evacuees know their animals were safe and well cared for,” said Shaw.

Lin Roy, Program Assistant – Animal Sciences Department and Rhonda Shaw, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department with the first evacuee heading home.

Jill Gaudet’s dog Spike was one of the animals that were cared for by GPRC staff on the Fairview campus.

“I have to thank Manning Veterinary for ensuring Spike was safe by taking him to Fairview,” said Gaudet. “And thanks to GPRC for taking care of Spike. During a very stressful time, it is a relief to know your pet is safe and well-cared for.”

Marcella Parenteau was also evacuated from Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement and her dog Lolly was at GPRC Fairview.

“I’m so grateful,” said Parenteau. “Being evacuated was very stressful and scary, and having Lolly looked after in Manning and then in Fairview was a relief for me. Thank you for watching her for me.”

Volunteer students, faculty and staff at the Fairview campus provided all this help. They even had a waitlist of people wanting to volunteer.

Cathy Srayko, Toolroom attendant motorcycle certificate program donated five bags of dog food to send home with evacuees when they pick their pets up.

“Staff have been amazing. We had an abundance of people helping,” said Shaw.

All the volunteers received a mini-training session before they had contact with animals.

“You were there for us in our time of need,” said Koch. “We really, really appreciated it. We know how much work it is to look after that number of animals. It took a huge stress and worry off our plate.”

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped feed, water, walk and play with the animals in our care:

  • Lin Roy, Program Assistant – Animal Sciences Department
  • Lisa Coady, Program Assistant – Motorcycle & Recreational Powersports Department
  • Katey Johnston, RVT, Educational Lab Technologist AHT – Animal Sciences Department
  • Shaylene Syrota, RVT, Educational Lab Technologist AHT – Animal Sciences Department
  • Rhonda Shaw, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Shannon Ball, Toolroom Attendant – Automotive, Parts, & Engineering Department
  • Carl Ball – Instructor – Motorcycle & Recreational Powersports Department
  • Tiffany Duncan, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Bonnie Danielson, RVT, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Chris Mizzi, DVM, Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Christy Barlund, DVM – Instructor – Animal Sciences Department
  • Dayna McKay, first year AHT student
  • Taryn Dodds, first year AHT student


GPRC Animal Health Technology Staff make sure the animals the college housed on the Fairview campus get to spend plenty of time outside.

Animal Health Technology students make the news

Have a read or give a listen to GPRC’s Animal Health Technology students’ work feature in local media.

Samantha Shirley, top left, Jaime Kuckuk, top right and Hayley Graham standing in front.

Students Samantha Shirley, Jaime Kuckuk and Hayley Graham appeared on Kix FM radio in Peace River about the work GPRC does with the Peace Regional SPCA. Check out the interview

Their fellow students Quinn Assinger, Stefanie Neukom and Dayna Faye Mckay also highlighted the benefits of adopting animals in their article that was published in the Fairview Post.

Quinn Assinger, Stefanie Neukom and Dayna Faye Mckay.

You can read it here:


The desire to become a Registered Veterinary Technologist (RVT) often stems from the wish to help, care for and save as many animals as possible. Coming to the GPRC Animal Health Technology program in Fairview has made many of us more aware of this desire.

GPRC students work closely with the Peace Regional SPCA (PRSPCA) to increase the adoptability of their dogs. For students  we have the opportunity to learn appropriate and accurate ways of handling all kinds of amazing animals.

Peace Regional SPCA already does a remarkable job of caring and finding homes for all their rescues. In 2018, it had more than 500 cats and dogs come through their door. Each animal is given their basic needs of life: food, water, love, and any medical treatment they need prior to finding their forever homes.

The staff at PRSPCA are trained to be able to place any and all kinds of animals into appropriate homes that will benefit both the future owner and the animal.

They have come to know and understand these animals and they have the knowledge to inform you whether or not they believe that the animal in question will make a good addition to your family.

When you adopt an animal from the SPCA you are giving that animal a chance at a good, loving home. Additionally you are helping to break the cycle of overpopulation often seen with mass breeding.

Often people get caught up in puppies and kittens, however, adopting an adult or almost full grown dog or cat from a shelter can give you optimal insight into their behaviour, size, energy levels and many other important aspects of your future pet.

A dog or cat adopted from the PRSPCA is microchipped, vaccinated, dewormed and spayed/neutered before they’re adopted out, these things are included in the adoption fee, so often you see more value in adopting rather than purchasing a puppy or kitten from a pet store or private breeder.

First year students in the Animal Health Technology program, come to know and love many of the animals who have come from the shelter, and many of us have wanted to adopt these animals.

We urge anyone who is contemplating on a new addition to their family, to look into their local shelter, like the Peace Regional SPCA.

Great work by our AHT  students!

GPRC AHT Promote Awareness of Pet Toxicity!

GPRC AHT Promote Awareness of Pet Toxicity!

Check out the awesome work being done by our Animal Health Technology students on our GPRC Fairview campus.

Melissa Zizek, Kelsey Dolen and Madison Williams wrote an awesome article about potentially toxic items for your beloved pets that can be found in your home! Check out their full article below to stay informed and look for their piece to be published in the Fairview Post this month.

GPRC Animal Health Technology students, Melissa Zizek, Kelsey Dolen and Madison Williams.

Check it out and look for it in the Fairview Post! 

Read more of their Toxicity article here.

Way to go Melissa, Kelsey and Madison!

GPRC AHT Promote Getting your Pets Vaccinated!

GPRC AHT Promote Getting your Pets Vaccinated!

Check out the awesome work being done by our Animal Health Technology students on our GPRC Fairview campus.

Reagan Boucher, Haylee MacLean and Katrina Mullen wrote an awesome article on the importance of getting your pets vaccinated. Look for their piece to be published in the Fairview Post this month.

Left to right: Reagan Boucher, Haylee MacLean and Katrina Mullen.

Check it out and look for it in the Fairview Post! 

Way to go Reagan, Haylee and Katrina!

Puppies and Kittens Available Through GPRC AHT Program

Puppies and Kittens Available Through GPRC AHT Program

Did you know that our Animal Health Technology (AHT) program on our GPRC Fairview campus takes in animals from the SPCA and local shelters?

Taking in these animals gives our AHT students the opportunity to experience the care of animals at all ages but also lets them experience the care for newborn kittens and puppies as well as being able to follow them through their series of vaccinations and deworming allowing them awesome practical experience.

Currently our GPRC AHT department has three puppies and five kittens in their procession, who are all looking for new permanent homes.

All of these adorable furry bundles of joy have had their vaccines and in most cases, are already spayed or neutered.

Now, let’s get to the fun part and meet these adorable animals.

First year AHT students, Sabrina and Genevieve with three black and white puppies currently in the care of the department.

Pictured with the puppies are first year AHT students, Sabrina Fagan (left) and Genevieve Milner (right).

These black and white puppies in order from left to right are male, female and male. They are currently 5-weeks old, have been dewormed and are getting their first vaccines next week.

The puppies are owned by In the Woods Animal Rescue. The GPRC AHT department took on these little pups and their mom for In The Woods Animal Rescue to help out and to give the students the opportunity to experience caring for newborns dogs.

These little pups will be ready to go home the week of December 11 and might we add, will make the perfect Christmas gift. These three are pretty shy but sure like to snuggle.

As for the current kittens on our Fairview campus, the department has five left out out of the original 13 which means eight kittens have already found their permanent homes!

Let’s introduce you to the five remaining kittens.

Meet Spike. He is 7 months old and a black and white domestic, short-haired, neutered male. Spike is up to date on all vaccines and deworming. He is our shy guy who is finally coming out of his shell. He’s the type of kitty that doesn’t like a lot of commotion and really just loves to curl up on the couch with you and chill.

Next up… nanananana, Batman! Batman is black and white with a couple black marks on his nose much like Spike. He too is a 7 month old neutered male up to date on all vaccines and deworming. He is much more outgoing than his brother, Spike. The AHT department likes to classify him at the happy medium between Spike and our next up kitty, Shroedinger!

Shroedinger!! Oh this boy is our resident trouble maker. He is so darn cute you just cant get upset with him. He is full of energy and would keep any little girl or boy busy for hours. He is also a 7 months old neutered male. Mostly black with white feet, chest and tip of his tail.

Now onto our ladies…

Little orange Petrie. She is such a cutie. Youngest of the bunch only 6 months old. Domestic short-haired. Still needs to be spayed but can be booked into the clinic after Christmas. She is quite the snuggler. Students are often seen with her curled up on their lap.

Last we have miss Glitz. She is a busy girl who is full of energy. She is spayed and ready for her new home at 7 months olds and full of love.

If you or someone you know is interested in taking one of these adorable furry friends home to their forever home, please contact Tiffany Duncan through our GPRC Animal Health Technology department at  780-835-6707 or by email at