Klassic Kennels named shelter of the year

Klassic Kennels was recognized for its exemplary animal care over the weekend, receiving the Sheltering Provider of the Year award

Klassic Kennels was recognized for its exemplary animal care over the weekend, receiving the Sheltering Provider of the Year award at the 2014 Urban Animal Summit in Lake Louise.

The animal shelter, located just north of Red Deer, was one of two finalists nominated for the award. The accolade arrives at a time when the shelter’s animal return-to-owner rates sit among some of the highest in the continent.

But despite the recognition, owner Jim deBoon is focused solely on improving operations even further.

“The first thing I tell anyone is we’re far from where we need to be — in my opinion, we’re not even close to where we need to be,” he said. “I do appreciate that we’ve come a long way … and I’m pleased with how it’s going, but I’m not pleased with where it’s at.”

The awards ceremony, held at Chateau Lake Louise, saw the attendance of about 100 people from animal shelters, veterinary clinics, humane societies and retailers.

A presentation on service dogs for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) proved a particular highlight for deBoon, who echoed the importance of the cause.

“Right now, they think one in six military people either has or is in the process of basically developing PTSD, but that number also applies to firefighters, EMTs and peace officers,” he said. “That’s a million service dogs that are going to be needed in the next five to 20 years. It’s almost mind crippling.

“I found that to be way more important than anything I was doing there.”