Friday, 21 June 2013

Hope, however small, is in southern Alberta

Dave Hancock sat in his office several years ago when he was education minister and made a profound statement over an early morning cup of black coffee. “I am in the business of providing hope,” he said — not only of the his specific role, but provincial government’s position in every day life. Hancock’s creed echoed throughout the province Friday as southern Alberta remains in a state of emergency after Mother Nature unleashed punishing blows.

Heavy rains cause unimaginable flooding from Canmore to Lethbridge, stopping in Calgary where, perhaps, damaged is felt the most. News reports Friday afternoon estimates 100,000 Calgarians are without homes. That number grows because many people in the surrounding areas are also at danger. It is horrible. The damage and repairs to southern Alberta will take decades.

Hope, though, is on the way.

Alberta premier Allison Redford and prime minister Stephen Harper — both with strong Calgary ties — toured the damage in a helicopter Friday. They promised both governments will provide financial assistance, and more importantly, moral support for the people who need it the most. It could very well be impossible for people to even think about the future when they have lost so much. We understand that, absolutely.  But we all need to be reminded people care and want to help. Nobody is going through this journey alone. Family, friends and total strangers will help. Two levels of government — governments who are criticized all the time — are providing a small glimmer of hope when it’s needed the most. And so Dave Hancock’s statement has a new meaning this weekend.

Photo via Twitter from Neal Barton from the premier's office taken from a government aircraft late Friday

Giving pets dignity at that sad time


One of the best parts of my day happens seconds after I set my head on my pillow, just before 11 p.m. My wife Joan puts our dog Thomas on our bed beside me. Thomas, a Chihuahu-Yorkie, scampers his way up to my pillow and gets comfortable for a 10-minute chat. Darn, he’s a good listener. Then, he walks down and retires for the evening at my feet. Thomas is my buddy and, sadly, I have thought about the day down the road when he will jump into Doggie Heaven: I know he had many years ahead of him.

But when that time comes I am comforted knowing there is a place where Thomas can be remembered in dignity. Because for years I have been troubled hearing people say “I took my pet into the vet today to have it put to sleep.” I imagined how terrible the car ride home must be.

It doesn’t have to be that way, anymore. Part of The Family Pet Memorial allows family pets to me remembered with one word: dignity. They offer the same funeral services as for human beings. There’s even a viewing room and a chapel for a memorial service. On Saturday, Part of The Family is having an open house from 1 til 5:30 p.m. for folks to learn more at 11904 - 113 Ave.

We all love our pets. And maybe the biggest thing Part of the Family does is soften that rough ride home after we say our farewells. It’s late, now — so I have to cut this short. Thomas is calling for me.