OTTAWA -- The Rocky Road Rescue in Ottawa looks after an average of 150 dogs each year and has been doing that for the past five years.

On Saturday, they held their first fundraiser since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, inviting supporters and passers-by to stop and shop for pet apparel.

They setup a physically distanced outdoor pop-up shop at 171 Lees Ave. on the tennis courts.  All of this effort on a somewhat cold and dark day is to support their rescue operations.

Although COVID-19 shut down business and communities, furry friends still needed help.

In the spring, they were called to a sled dog business in northern Quebec that could no longer afford to keep their huskies.

Adoption coordinator Barb Weeks says they reacted quickly and had 30 dogs safe in Ottawa within two weeks.

Unknown to them, three of the huskies were pregnant which added another 15 puppies into the mix.  One of those puppies needed heart surgery to survive, so they put out the call to their supporters and managed to cover the extensive vet bills. Today, that pup, named Pearl, is thriving with her new forever family.

"Unfortunately we have dogs come into care with pre-existing conditions, we don’t always know what we are up against," Weeks said. "With not having a source of income, we rely on events like this to cover our vetting costs”

Pearl’s new family could not be happier with her, she is fully recovered and is doing very well.

"We adopted her about three months ago and it’s been amazing, she’s been a real treat, she is happy all the time," said Logendra Naidoo. "There are clearly so many dogs that need shelter and to be taken in by people."

If you would like to learn more or help support, you can do so on the Rocky Road Rescue webpage.