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New Crossfield thrift store to help low-income families with cost of vet care

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 12:23 pm

Govanna Carabella holds a photo of her beloved pug Trooper, who's life and companionship inspired Carabella to start up Treasures from Trooper Foundation after the pug's passing in 2013. The foundation helps low income families pay for emergency veterinarian costs for pets and is opening a new thrift store in Crossfield on June 2.
Govanna Carabella holds a photo of her beloved pug Trooper, who's life and companionship inspired Carabella to start up Treasures from Trooper Foundation after the pug's passing in 2013. The foundation helps low income families pay for emergency veterinarian costs for pets and is opening a new thrift store in Crossfield on June 2.
Allison Chorney/Rocky View Publishing

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In June of 2001,Trooper the pug came into Govanna Carabella’s life as a very small puppy with little chance of survival. He weighed only two ounces and had a cleft palate, which made it virtually impossible for him to nurse from his mom.

Her heart melted for the little pup who was going to be euthanized and she opted to tube feed him in an attempt to give him a fighting chance. Sixteen weeks later, the little guy was happy, healthy and preparing for surgery to fix his cleft palate.

“I would never change anything (about that experience). He was my hero. I saved his life and he saved mine,” Carabella said of Trooper.

Over the span of the pug’s nearly 13 years, Carabella estimated the little guy racked up about $40,000 in vet bills from a number of surgeries he required but she maintains, “every penny was well worth it.”

He became her constant companion and filled her life with much love and happiness but in 2013 his pain became too much and she made the difficult decision to end his suffering by having him put down.

She describes the day of his death as one of the worst days of her life but soon took her love for her best friend and turned it into a way to help others provide care for their pets.

She said if one dog could result in such a large cost for veterinary care, she could easily see how it could be difficult for families in need to cover those costs and wanted to help.

“I got this fortune cookie and it said, ‘You find treasures where no one else sees them,’” she said.

“It was just a sign for me and I started up Treasures from Trooper in March (2013).”

With that the Treasures from Trooper Foundation was born and the non-profit foundation helped 11 low-to-mid-income families get their pets the emergency medical care they need in 2013.

The foundation started out in Airdrie in the garage of the Airdrie Animal Clinic and held three large garage sales and two bottle drives in 2013 to raise funds for the 11 animals in need.

“People budget for food, for yearly shots but nobody budgets for their pet getting hit by a car,” she said of the need for the foundation.

However, she soon found bad weather was severely impacting the foundation’s ability to hold fundraising yard sales and she had to turn away three families this past Christmas because of lack of funding.

“It just broke my heart to turn three of them away at Christmas,” Carabella said.

She said this prompted her to find a solution so the foundation could bring in daily income for these animals and she created Treasures from Trooper Foundation Thrift Store, which will open in Crossfield on June 2.

“We sell everything except for large furniture and large appliances,” she said, adding they will have shoes, clothing, linens, household goods, books and more.

One hundred per cent of the profits from the store will go right back to the foundation to help with emergency vet costs.

“I’m glad we are in Crossfield but I’m praying people from Airdrie will come and shop too,” she said.

The store is located at 112 – 1010 Railway St., on the south end of The Arches condominiums, and will be open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Carabella said the store is happy to accept donated goods during opening hours and can do pick-up service for donation in Airdrie and the surrounding area.

“Even after yard sales, what I’d like to do is pick up the left over stuff,” she said.

She added the foundation is in desperate need of volunteers to help with the shop and said there is a particular need on Saturdays.

To arrange pick up or to volunteer at the store, contact Carabella at 403-805-3578.

To make a cash donation to the foundation, visit the RBC Royal Bank on Main Street in Airdrie and ask to make a deposit to the Treasures from Trooper Foundation account.


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