Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for a cause
Tuesday, Feb 21, 2017 06:00 am
Cody Shepherd, the owner of the Place 4 Paws Boarding Kennels, leaves Feb. 28 for Tanzania where he will climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.
Shepherd, 29, isn’t new to the world of fundraising for a worthy cause or to wolfdogs. He cycled across Canada in 2013 to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation and he’s had wolfdog for the past 11 years.
“It’s one of the seven summits and the tallest mountain in Africa,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and the timing worked out really well.”
The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, located west of Cochrane, opened its doors in June 2011. The sanctuary operates both as a rescue organization and as a vehicle for providing education about wolfdogs.
“The work they do out there is just fantastic. It’s a great resource,” Shepherd said. “I’ve been involved with them for a few years, helping out with behavioral cases. There were about a dozen dogs from Milk River that went to the sanctuary that needed extra help so I took them in here to work with them.
“If ever they have a surrender that needs a bit of socialization work or behavioral work, I like to help out with those ones.”
The Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) seized approximately 200 dogs from a woman in Milk River, Alta. in December 2014. Many of the animals were starving or were in rough physical shape. It is the largest seizure in the history of the Alberta SPCA.
Wolfdogs are a hybrid between a canine and a wolf. According to Shepherd, they can have varying degrees of wolf content. His own wolfdog, Tundra, is low content.
“They’re very different. Tundra is an observational learner – which I don’t think a lot of dog-dogs are. She can watch you do something like open doors and she learns how to do it,” he said. “They’re handfuls – high energy. They need a lot of mental stimulation and they can lead to a lot of destruction if not handled properly. If they don’t have a good outlet for their energy, they can be destructive.”
Shepherd will be joining a group in Tanzania to make the ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro. The mountain rises approximately 4,900 metres from its base to 5,895 metres above sea level at the peak. Shepherd’s group will take about seven days to reach the summit, beginning the climb on March 2. Eventually, Shepherd said he’d like to climb all seven of the seven summits, including Mount Everest.
“On the last day, you get up at about 1 a.m. to do a night hike. The idea is to be at the summit for sunrise so you get to see that looking out over the Serengeti,” he said. “It will be incredible.”
Shepherd will spend two additional weeks in Africa, spending time with the Masai tribe and then travelling to Zanzibar before heading home.
Shepherd has set his fundraising goal at $1,500 but says he’s happy for any donations. He has set up a GoFundMe page and had raised $780 as of Feb. 15.
More information about the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary, including information on tours, is available at yamnuskawolfdogsanctuary.com.
Shepherd’s fundraising page can be found on GoFundMe.com – search for Summit for Sanctuary.