CultureEvents July 19, 2023

Safe at Home: The Story of Friendship Between Coldwell Banker Canada and the Homes for Dogs Project

July 19, 2023 

Donna Pyette surveyed the joyful scene at Fox & Hound Canine Retreat near Sarnia, Ont.—the dogs, the sunshine, the people, the laughter, the barking, the splashing, the community spirit—and she didn’t waste her words. 

“This is unbelievable,” she said. “It’s really incredible.” 

Pyette is the executive director of the Sarnia Humane Society. She was one of 2,000 or so people and the hundreds of dogs who turned out on a lovely day in June for the 5th Annual Dog Festival presented by the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project. The festival raises money and awareness to meet the plight of shelter dogs looking to be rescued.  

The issue isn’t going away.  

“Typically, for the Sarnia Humane Society, we see about 3,000 animals a year,” Pyette said. “That has increased substantially since Covid has ended. We’re seeing intakes of dogs, especially, that we haven’t seen in 30 years.”  

The Covid exit has not been especially kind to dogs, who were adopted at elevated rates as so-called “pandemic pets.” In a routine year, the humane society’s 32 kennels would be half to three-quarters full, and the dogs would come in and get adopted out quickly, said Pyette. 

“Now, the stay time is longer and there are more of them,” she said. “We’re full.”  


Dock diving is a big attraction at the dog festival in Sarnia. 



To the rescue 

A little less full now. This year, the Sarnia festival adopted out 39 dogs (and counting) and helped raise $48,000 (and counting) for the humane society.  

“It’s just the whole community coming together to support us and to support the vendors, to support Fox & Hound,” she said. “What’s really nice about it is that the dogs in our care that we brought along all have appointments for meet and greets with prospective owners”. 



Creature comforts 

Summer Scott attended the festival, too. Scott, an animal rescue veteran herself, is Vice-President, Marketing & Communications, at Coldwell Banker Canada. She was struck by the vital role that pets continue to play in the lives of their owners.  

Scott said that inescapable fact has been underlined during a summer of forest fire evacuations in her home province, Alberta. 

“When emergency evacuations are announced, evacuees are reminded to take three categories of things with them,” she said. “They’re told to take important documents and to take their medications—and they’re also told to take their pets.”  

Scott said that those emergency evacuation orders answer the old hypothetical question, what would you take with you if your house was on fire?  

“We are told to take proof of our existence and the medicine we need to stay healthy and to not forget the sense of home that pets provide,” said Scott. “Pets bring with them the precious feeling of home.” 


Rob Longo, Broker/Owner, Coldwell Banker Southwest Realty, Sarnia, Ont.  



“We love supporting Homes for Dogs” 

Rob Longo was also at the festival in Sarnia. Longo is sold on the role that dogs and pets play in helping to make a house a home. Longo is the Broker/Owner of Coldwell Banker Southwest Realty. His brokerage sponsors and helps organize the Annual Dog Festival presented by the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project. 

“We love supporting the Homes for Dogs event,” Longo said.  

“The biggest thing that we find is when we’re selling homes, we’re not just selling houses. We’re selling a place for your family to live—yourself, the kids, the grandkids, all your pets and animals. And we know how important that is for homebuyers.” 


Coldwell Banker Canada’s Homes for Dogs project in action. 



Putting heart into Homes for Dogs 

Karley Chamberlain worked for months to ensure the dog festival ran smoothly. Chamberlain is the Marketing Director at Coldwell Banker Southwest Realty in Sarnia. She said dogs deserve the same feelings of safety, companionship and love that humans rely on them to provide. 


Karley Chamberlain at the 5th Annual Dog Festival presented by the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project, June 2023. 


“You want to find a home for a rescue dog as much as you want to find a home for a person, just on a different level,” said Chamberlain. “It’s so easy to put your heart into something like that.”  

That virtuous circle is why Coldwell Banker Canada representatives have dug into the Homes for Dogs Project. Homes for Dogs started as an initiative of Coldwell Banker in the United States. It’s been adopted by Coldwell Banker Canada, where affiliates across the country have volunteered time, organized supply drives, raised and donated money, taken to social media and hosted and helped at local adoption events.  


“Home is where the dog runs to meet you!” 


Globally, the Coldwell Banker network has helped to find forever (also pronounced “furever) homes for more than 100,000 dogs. The Homes for Dogs Project has reached more than 1.8 billion people on social media.  

“At a corporate level, we love to get our hands dirty at our local shelter partner, the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, where we help by cleaning enclosures, sorting supplies and socializing animals,” said Coldwell Banker Canada’s Scott. “Between raising awareness and monetary supports, Coldwell Banker Canada believes in trying to make a difference.” 

Making a difference for the people whose lives are enriched by pets. And making a difference for the likes of Ziggy in Kelowna. 



Crunch in Vancouver. 




Bubba from Winnipeg. 



And Kipper in St. John’s. 




Safe at home 

Coldwell Banker Canada’s Homes for Dogs Project is built on the priceless feeling known to homeowning dog lovers everywhere: home is where the dog runs to meet you.  

That warmth deserves to be gifted back to the warmth-making dogs themselves. 

“It’s a mutual thing,” said Scott. 


Summer Scott, VP, Marketing & Communications at Coldwell Banker Canada, has more than a decade of animal rescue experience herself.