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Gaming’s gone to the dogs

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Gaming’s gone to the dogs

Animal rescue services combine gaming and fundraising to animals in need

On the weekend of Mar. 18—19, The Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS) will be facing off against CaliCan Rescue in a 24-hour video gaming marathon. Gamers must raise at least $200 to play for their organization of choice, and all funds raised go directly to the animals.

CaliCan is an Edmonton-based small dog rescue that accepts unwanted animals and also travels to California to save dogs from high-kill-rate shelters—hence the organization’s name.

GEARS is a similar operation; it’s an animal rescue organization dedicated to saving and rehabilitating at-risk pets within the Edmonton Capital Region.

“We’re completely foster-home based. We don’t actually have a shelter, just volunteers that take the animal until they’re (the animal) adopted out,“ says Jillanne Bowler-Veltman, marketing and education director of GEARS.

The administrative and technical staff at GEARS also work on a voluntary basis, and the organization relies solely on donations.

“We’re not-for-profit. We’re a registered charity, so we can give tax receipts to those who donate to us,” Bowler-Veltman says.

Videogamageddon began at CaliCan Rescue four years ago. Originally called “Play 4 Paws,” and later “Gaming for the Dogs,” last year marked the first time GEARS joined in on the event.

“We call it a friendly competition against CaliCan … and they were the ones who originated the idea,” Bowler-Veltman says. “Last year was the first year we did it with them, and we just had so much fun playing video games and fundraising that we decided to do it again this year.”

The event will be held at OverKlocked Gaming, a local “gaming hub,” with a complimentary dinner provided by Padmanadi Vegetarian Restaurant. Bowler-Veltman stresses that the goal is “just to get as many people involved as possible.”

In order to keep their operation up and running, GEARS puts on multiple other fundraisers throughout the year, as well.

“On Mar. 11, we’re having a … board game night at Bannerman Community League, which will be five dollars a person to come play board games and have snacks,” Bowler-Veltman says.

“Beers for GEARS,” which takes place on Apr. 1 at Ellerslie’s Canadian Brewhouse, “is basically a night out at with a silent auction and 50/50 tickets …. That’s always been a big fundraiser for us,” Bowler-Veltman says. “And in the summer, we’re putting together a music festivalmuch smaller than some of the big ones in the city.

“It’ll be an outdoor afternoon of music and games. This is our first year doing that …. And in September, we have our … five kilometre charity run,” Bowler-Veltman says.

Both CaliCan and GEARS are committed to the betterment of the lives of those who aren’t able to speak for themselvesanimals. There are a ton of ways to donate and fundraise for these organizations, but be sure to check out GEARS’ and CaliCan’s “Videogamageddon 2017” events on Facebook and help some Good Samaritan gamers make a few bucks to help our four-legged friends!


Cover photo courtesy of Yelp