The 12 Days of Christmas - 12 Stories to warm your heart
During the 12 Days of Christmas,
We bring you 12 stories to warm your heart.
Visit this spot daily over the next 12 days for 12 stories of extraordinary people and animals.
Each year, BC SPCA branches across the province care for more
than 34,000 animals in need – animals who are lost, sick, abandoned or
abused – and who badly need a forever home. The love, compassion and
generosity of those who respond as SPCA supporters, donors, foster
families, adopters and volunteers make a life-saving difference every
day of the year. On behalf of the animals, we want to say thank you. You
are our heroes.
December 23, 2011 update
Cindy Soules — Volunteer president and hero to homeless cats
The BC SPCA has been a significant part of Cindy’s life since she
first joined the society 12 years ago as a grassroots volunteer. Due to
her deep and abiding love for cats, she found the ideal volunteer job as
a cat adoption counsellor at the Vancouver shelter where she educated
people about the responsibilities of being a cat guardian and the need
to love, shelter, feed and care for their companion throughout his or
her life. Cindy, who personally helped find homes for more than 400
cats, says nothing felt better than making a successful adoption match
and removing a cat from his or her cage to go to their new “forever
Six years ago she was recruited to join the society’s Board of Directors,
where she has offered her business and strategic skills to help oversee
the governance of the organization. During her time as a board
volunteer, Cindy chaired the society's advocacy committee for two years
and is particularly proud of that group's successful End Animal Cruelty
campaign, which ultimately saw increased protection for abused and
neglected animals through new cruelty legislation enacted by the
provincial government. She has also chaired the Governance Review
Committee, and in 2010 she became president of the board and is serving
her second term as volunteer president of the BC SPCA.
remains a dedicated champion for homeless cats, recognizing that there
is still much work to do in educating society about the value of the cat
as an animal companion. Cats are being relinquished to shelters in
increasing numbers and she urges people to adopt a homeless cat, foster a
cat or volunteer at their local shelter.
Photo caption: BC SPCA Board of Directors President Cindy Soules with Taz.
December 22, 2011
Pacific Coastal Airlines — Heroes to sick and injured animals across B.C.
Pacific Coastal Airlines
is a family-owned and operated airline servicing B.C. coastal and
interior regions. For many years, they have demonstrated their
passionate commitment to help animals in need by providing
transportation for animals to and from SPCA shelters across the
province. “They have flown dogs, cats, small animals, wildlife, reptiles
and even goats,” says Burnaby SPCA branch manager, Ryan Voutilainen.
In many cases animals are being transported due to medical concerns.
Overland travel that would be very distressing for the animal or, in
some cases, not possible at all, is provided by Pacific Coastal
Airlines. The reduction in travel time and stress to the animal is
greatly mitigated through the airline's assistance.
“The staff at Pacific Coastal Airlines are always friendly and caring
towards the animals, doing what they can to ensure they are well cared
for during the flight,” says Danielle Jackman, Trail SPCA branch manager, “and they are always eager to help when asked.”
Pacific Coastal Airlines' support has helped save the lives of countless animals around the province.
December 21, 2011
Leila and Sheila Kullar — SPCA heroes since 2002
Sheila and Leila Kullar have changed the lives of literally thousands
of animals. But if you ask them, they’re just doing what they think is
right. “People think we’re doing something courageous but we’re not,”
The sisters began volunteering at the BC SPCA’s Surrey Branch in
2002 after the shelter issued an urgent plea for volunteers to help
care for and foster animals. They began fostering (over the years that
has added up to 44 dogs and 15 cats) and soon added dog walking and
adoption counselling to their repertoire. Then they took on increasingly
responsible roles organizing fundraising events and delivering humane
education programs in local elementary schools, all the while donating
significantly to the Surrey shelter.
Sheila has co-ordinated the Scotiabank & BC SPCA Paws for a Cause Walk for
the past two years, and has been involved with the event for eight
years altogether. She has also organized the popular Surrey Animal
Lovers’ Gala for the past three years. Together, the two events have
amassed almost $240,000 under Sheila’s leadership.
In addition to making numerous financial contributions to the BC SPCA
the sisters have also financed many of the expenses associated with
caring for the animals they’ve fostered, including veterinary surgeries
and professional training and rehabilitation. “It’s a different way of
contributing, and if we can help, that means there is more money for
another animal,” adds Sheila, who has also served as the community
council president of the Surrey SPCA Branch and currently serves on the
BC SPCA Advocacy Committee.
Photo caption: (Left to right) Leila and Sheila Kullar with
Oliver and Patrick. Photo courtesy of Mambo Mutts Big Air Photography.
December 20, 2011
Stella — Animal hero
This holiday season Stella, a young pit bull cross, will be relaxing
at home, safe and warm with her human family. This brave girl was
honoured earlier this year with the BC SPCA Animal Courage Award. Despite her rough start in life, Stella has managed to triumph.
Stella was just seven months old when she gave birth under some of the worst conditions Cowichan BC SPCA Branch manager
Sandi Trent has ever seen. Attending a call about a neglected mother
and her eight pups, Trent found pups scattered all over the yard, some
under bushes or rocks, three already dead. Stella was lying motionless
at the end of a tether. She was horribly emaciated at 33 pounds, nearly
half her normal weight, severely dehydrated, and had a serious uterine
infection. Both she and her pups were covered in fly eggs and maggots.
Trent and staff worked hard to save the pups, but despite all efforts,
over the next week, the puppies died, one by one.
Cowichan residents rallied financially for Stella and Trent fostered
her until someone stepped forward to give Stella a forever home. Trent
says Stella is an exceptional dog. “I have never seen more courage than I
did that night with Stella. She tried so hard to save her babies and I
will never forget her worried look when we took her puppies away so we
could tend to her as well as them. She was so sick, but her first
concern was for her pups.”
Photo caption: Animal Courage award-winner Stella enjoying her new life and some fresh air at the beach.
December 19, 2011
Beverly Schultz — Hero to Herman the cat
Beverly Schultz is a woman with a big heart and tons of compassion.
Before Herman the cat came into Beverly Schultz’s life, he came into her
living room by way of the BC SPCA’s weekly Adopt-a-Pet segments on
Global BC’s Noon News. Besides having been abused, Herman was getting on
in years, diabetic, suffering from kidney and dental disease and a
heart murmur. This was a kitty who needed a special guardian. Schultz
was so moved by Herman’s tragic story of being rescued after being
severely beaten on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside she found herself
“I was crying my eyes out watching,” Schultz recalls. “As soon as I
collected myself I phoned the number on the screen.” Herman was soon in
his new forever home with Schultz, who gave Herman his twice daily
insulin injections until within months his diabetes subsided. She also
provided ongoing care for a myriad of other health issues the aging cat
“The first time I saw him and held him, he wouldn’t stop purring,”
Schultz recalls. “It was like he knew he was finally safe.” Herman spent
his days in Schultz’s lap, and his nights on top of her pillow with his
whiskers touching her cheek. “We definitely shared a special bond.”
Sadly, Herman passed away from cancer a year to the day Schultz adopted
him, but he left a deep impression on Schultz’s heart.“To know that he
found love again and was just so trusting enriched my life,” she said.
“I’m the lucky one to have experienced it.”
Photo caption: Herman happily enjoying a peaceful nap.
December 18, 2011
Moji — Animal hero
Nine-year-old pit bull-whippet cross Moji wasn't always the happy-go-lucky,
well-loved dog that he is today, but thanks to the attentive care of
his new forever family, he has moved on from a past in which he was
abused and neglected.
Moji's previous "home" was one in which he was routinely beaten,
tortured and starved. His former guardian burned Moji with a cigarette
lighter, choked him and kicked him while Moji was helplessly chained up.
Moji was also denied urgently needed veterinary care.
Despite his horrific past, Moji adores people, and is totally devoted
to his new family. His guardian, Evelyn Walsh even sends BC SPCA
special provincial constable Dale Bakken, who investigated Moji’s case,
progress updates. “Every time she sends me an email about how happy he
is, I get choked up, remembering where he came from,” says Bakken.
Walsh says one of Moji’s many endearing antics is hiding his toys
around the house and the yard and challenging his guardians to find
them. When he tires of his hide-and-seek game he can often be found
enjoying the home-cooked meals prepared especially for him. Moji appears
to love life and everything in it, with the exception of rain. “He
hates the rain, and sometimes lies on the sidewalk to protest walking in
it. We bought him a rain jacket, which seems to make him a bit
happier.” Moji was honoured earlier this year with the BC SPCA Animal Courage Award.
Photo caption: Animal Courage award-winner and extraordinary survivor, Moji.
December 17, 2011
Jesyka Clarkson — Sonny's hero
Jesyka Clarkson has a dream for her horse Sonny, a young thoroughbred she adopted after he was seized in a cruelty investigation last summer. Clarkson, who works at for the BC SPCA Cowichan & District Branch,
met the young horse when he and his mother were seized after their
owner failed to comply with orders to improve the animals’ living
conditions and obtain veterinary care for the colt.
Sonny was a mess: just 16 months old, the spirited horse was severely
underweight. His coat was dull from poor nutrition and dirty from never
being brushed; his hooves were overgrown and one was abscessed; he
limped, and he was extremely frightened of people.
Jeskya opened her heart and her home to Sonny, taking him back to her
farm where she nursed him back to health. For the first year and a half
of his young life, Sonny had grown up without adequate housing, food,
or contact with people. Because he had never been handled before, Sonny
couldn’t even endure a blanket over his back for protection from the
elements. Jesyka was one of the few people Sonny allowed to touch him.
“Just someone looking at him scared him,” said Clarkson. Sonny
wouldn’t tolerate a farrier either and it wasn’t until seven months
after Jesyka took him in and after three attempted farrier visits that
he finally let Clarkson address his back hooves. “I just sat there and
cried because he had needed help for so long.” Under Clarkson's loving
care, Sonny has put on 500 pounds. And her special dream for Sonny? “I
look forward to getting on this special guy some day and riding off into
December 16, 2011
Thomas Sze and the students of West Point Grey Academy — Heroes to Vancouver animals
The BC SPCA runs a wide variety of education programs for children and youth, who, as tomorrow's leaders, are integral in creating positive change for animals. One of the programs is the BC SPCA Kids Club,
which provides opportunities for young people to attend workshop and
special events, as well as to receive publications that educate members
about animal welfare. Young Thomas Sze had just joined the Kids Club
when he decided he wanted to do something to help animals.
Deciding to hold a fundraiser at his school, West Point Grey Academy,
Thomas contacted Paula Neuman, humane education manager for the BC
SPCA, and invited her to speak to students about the work the BC SPCA
does for animals. Thomas feels that the presentation was an excellent
first step in motivating his fellow students to get involved. Then he
organized a shelter supply drive for the BC SPCA Vancouver Branch.
More than 25 boxes full of new leashes, collars, chew toys and pet
food, plus office and cleaning supplies were collected. On top of that,
the students raised more than $1,000 for the animals.
Thomas says one of the things he learned from the whole experience
was that kids can make a big difference by making positive changes to
help animals. “When kids speak up, people listen,” Neuman says.
Photo caption: Point Grey Secondary student and fundraiser Thomas
Sze with the hundreds of donations he and his fellow students obtained
to help Vancouver-area animals.
December 15, 2011
TELUS Communications and TELUS Employees — Volunteer heroes
Animals across the province benefit from the generosity and
compassion of TELUS Communications and its employees. This past year,
the company donated more than $76,000 to the BC SPCA to help animals in
need of critical care and attention. TELUS employees contributed more
than $38,454 through their employee giving campaign and their company
matched the funds.
In addition to donating funds to the BC SPCA,
TELUS employees are also dedicated volunteers, giving of their time to
help animals. This past year, more than 30 TELUS staff members
participated in the annual TELUS Day of Giving program, volunteering to clean out the barn at the Surrey SPCA, which is home to many farm animals who have been rescued in animal cruelty cases.
Whether it is raising money or applying some elbow grease, together
this company and its staff and their passionate commitment to help has
made a difference in the lives of animals in B.C.
Photo caption: TELUS employees and their family members cleaning
out the barn and doing landscaping at the Surrey SPCA this past May as
part of the TELUS Day of Giving program.
December 14, 2011
Katie — Hero of a different kind
Katie, a six-year-old border collie-Australian shepherd mix, is a dog
on a mission. The dogged fundraiser collects thousands of discarded
bottles and cans in her hometown of Prince George, preferring walks
along the roads and ditches in her neighbourhood to pleasant park paths.
Last year alone, Katie turned up enough recyclables to generate more
than $1,600, which guardian Cheryl Giannisis donated to the North Cariboo Branch of the BC SPCA.
Katie's enthusiasm knows no bounds. “Sometimes I have to call my
sister to come and get us because Katie’s collected more cans and
bottles than I can carry home,” says Giannisis. So Giannisis is training
one of her other dogs, Myah, to pull a wagon on their walks, and hopes
to soon be able to put Katie’s cans and bottles in Myah’s wagon so she
doesn’t have to phone her sister for a ride.
Katie began collecting bottles for charity a couple of years ago when
Giannisis’ neighbour needed a wheelchair ramp after losing her legs to
diabetes. Katie raised $400 collecting recyclables to put toward the
cost of the ramp.
Giannisis says Katie is a one-in-a-million dog. “When people see her
coming out of a ditch with a bottle in her mouth, they can’t believe
it.” Katie and Cheryl's generosity to animals in need is greatly
appreciated. “Heroes come in all shapes and sizes — and species," says BC SPCA chief development officer, Rosemary Conder. "We are very grateful for the funds Katie raises that go to help animals in her community.”
Photo caption: Katie the can-collecting canine in action.
December 13, 2011
Cory and Doug Bond — Heroes to senior animals
Cory and Doug Bond have been adopting senior and special needs dogs
for 20 years. The retired Victoria police officers believe that an
animal is never too old to benefit from a safe, loving home. And whether
their dogs have only been with them in the living world for a few
months or a couple of years, they are forever in the couple’s hearts.
As anguishing as it can be to lose a pet, Cory Bond views an animal’s
advanced years as a reason for, rather than against, adoption. “Of
course it’s always very sad toward the end of their lives, but the joy
you see in their eyes and on their faces — especially animals who have
gone into the shelter at an old age — makes it all worth it,” says Bond.
The couple's commitment to taking care of senior animals often
involves a great deal of time — and sometimes money. These are resources
the couple are happy to share with the animals in their lives. Animals
such as Vinnie, an abandoned 15-year-old border collie found tied to a
street pole, or Ben, a 12-year-old shepherd mix abandoned by his
guardian on Christmas Eve, 2009; Jerry, a deaf springer spaniel; and
Peppy, a 15-year-old border collie whose former family surrendered him
to the Victoria SPCA when they were downsizing their home.
The Bonds have been touched by all these animals, and have done
everything they can to make the last years the best ones possible. “I
think you end up loving the seniors more because you know that you don’t
have a lot of time with them,” says Bond. “It makes the relationship
even more special.”
December 12, 2011
Justice Janveaux — fundraising hero
To say that teen Justice Janveaux is an animal lover would be an understatement. Not only is she fond of animals, Janveaux has become a fundraising superstar to help the animals. The Campbell River native is extremely active in her community raising funds for animals in need and educating her peers and other community members about animal welfare issues.
One of Justice’s many achievements includes campaigning for pet-safe antifreeze. She has raised awareness in her community about the lethal effects of ethylene glycol-based antifreeze on animals and presented 1,000 signatures to parliament calling for a ban on the sale of toxic forms of antifreeze. For the past seven years, Justice has also been the top youth pledge collector for the Scotiabank & BC SPCA Paws for a Cause Walk. In 2010, she earned the award for overall top individual fundraiser.
“Hearing the amazing survival stories and meeting the animals that the BC SPCA cares for keeps me motivated and excited every day,” said Justice after finding out she was the top pledge collector for the 2010 event. Justice hopes to one day turn her passion for animal welfare into a career as a veterinarian.
Photo caption: Justice Janveaux with Marguerite Vogel, past BC SPCA Board president at the annual BC SPCA awards ceremony. Justice won the Stu Rammage Award for her outstanding efforts on behalf of B.C. animals.
The BC SPCA is a non-profit organization funded primarily by public
donations. Our mission is to prevent cruelty and to promote the welfare
of animals through a wide range of services, including cruelty
investigations, emergency rescue and treatment, sheltering and adoption
of homeless and abused animals, humane education, advocacy, farm animal
welfare, spay/neuter programs, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.