Bombers running back rescues dogs in spare time: ‘It’s a passion of mine’

Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Brady Oliveira is not only passionate about playing for his home town team, but is dedicated to rescuing dogs in remote communities across Manitoba in his spare time. Alex Karpa reports.

By Alex Karpa

Brady Oliveira may be a big tough guy, but he has an even bigger heart.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back spends his time off the field a little differently than other professional football players.

Oliveira is passionate and dedicated to rescuing dogs across Manitoba in his spare time.

“I have to make a difference here,” said Oliveira. “I have to make a difference in the city I’m from and the province that I’m from.”

The 12-2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers just came off their second bye week of the season. And star running back Oliveira used his spare time to do something he loves outside of the game.

“It’s a passion of mine, and like I said, I don’t get much time to do that passion with football season, because of the busy schedule,” said the five-foot-10 Bomber. “So this past bye week, we had the entire week off. It was the perfect time to go and fulfill that passion of mine and rescue as many dogs that I can.”

Oliveira went up to Sandy Bay First Nation, about 177 kilometres north of Winnipeg, where he distributed dog food and rescued a homeless canine family, including eight puppies. He says rescues at this time of year are more important than ever.

“Before our severe winters start to hit, puppies like that will never make it through the winter at that age,” he said. “So it’s just a great feeling that we got those puppies out of there and they will be in a warm home and won’t have to live outside in the winter.”

Vicki McNevin, the founder of Northern Manitoba Paws in Need Pet Rescue, echoes the statement made by Oliveira, that rescuing dogs before the freezing temperatures approach is crucial – especially up north.

“We have female dogs that are giving birth outside in temperatures of minus-50 and pups just don’t survive,” she said. “To get them in before they freeze to death or have no food becomes more drastic.”

McNevin says having a lack of veterinarians and animal hospitals in northern Manitoba is extremely frustrating, as some communities are three to five hours away from the closest vet clinic where she is in Thompson, Man.

“I’ve had pups flown in to me from the reserves that don’t arrive until after the hours the vet is closed,” said McNevin. “So even getting them here, if we can get them here early, fantastic, but if we don’t get them here early enough, then we are out of luck. We’ve had those nights where they make it in and don’t survive because they have been in such bad shape.”

Oliveira says he is trying to do everything he can to alleviate the stress dog rescue organizations face in remote and northern communities. He has been rescuing dogs for a few years now and plans to continue this long after his football career.

“I was in Mexico in the winter, and was doing rescuing out there,” he said. “I’m now planning another trip this winter to rescue. It’s a passion of mine. I want to do it all over the world, not just my city, because it’s an issue all over the place.”

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