(With the Saint John SPCA facing closing down, and desperately needing support, our owner Liz wanted to share her SPCA story.)
Last November, I visited the Saint John SPCA Animal Shelter and immediately found a dog that stood out. It was a black lab named Storm.
In any city that I’ve lived I’ve always visited their SPCA. Most times I went to donate something (food, newspapers, toys) and I did it on days when my day felt like it had been a rough one. Visiting the SPCA quickly put things in perspective for me by making me understand that my days are never as bad as the lives and stories of these animals. (Not all are bad stories – just sad circumstances.)
Over the next month and a half I went back to the SPCA. One visit included a walk. Or I should say Storm walked me? He was a big guy. Finally, I asked about how fostering works. With running the Deli, I didn’t think I could manage the commitment of keeping a dog BUT … Christmas was fast approaching and like most people, the heart strings are vulnerable.
Whiskers was adopted from the Saint John SPCA a couple of years ago.
Knowing there was a spoiled cat at home named Whiskers (who had been adopted through the SPCA two years earlier) I was convinced another pet would be too much. (Whiskers has my husband John – John Mallory Fitness – trained just perfectly. It’s very cute.)
A week before Christmas and I went back to the SPCA to ask if Storm was still there and was told that a mom and her daughter had been in to see the dog and were coming back with the dad that night.
My heart sank but I was also happy to know someone was going to take Storm home.
I went back just after Christmas and to my surprise Storm was still there. No one had come back to adopt him.
This is when I filled out the foster-to-adopt paperwork.
Storm and John (John Mallory Fitness) reminds us that a happy dog is an adopted dog and without the Saint John SPCA Animal Rescue animals like him would be without a friend.
My husband and I left for a couple days to Moncton and on the way back to Saint John on New Year’s Eve I asked him if I had showed him the dog I had noticed at the SPCA. He laughed and said, “You’ve been to see that dog at least six times!”
Storm was beautiful and I couldn’t believe he had been brought into the SPCA twice. A family gave him up to the SPCA and he had been immediately adopted. But that family returned Storm thinking he could not be trained and that he did not get along with their cat.
Knowing this, my heart was sad. Every time I had visited him and I would try to pat him through the bars of his cage, he would just push against the bars into my hand and want to be petted. He never barked, whined or anything. He would just look at me with those sad brown lab eyes.
John and I got to the SPCA and he petted him, talked to him and immediately said, “We’re taking him home.”
I was thrilled. I told John I already had the fostering paperwork done.
Fast forward to mid-January and we still have this ‘foster’ dog named Storm. John takes him snow shoeing, walking and running each day. We’re now signed up for obedience classes in February. And our cat Whiskers is no longer hiding. One day Whiskers walked across the room, jumped up on the couch, reached out and swatted Storm across the head with a big meow. Since then their boundaries are set. Now they hang out quite happily.
It was a great way to bring in the New Year and Storm was finally adopted – by us. He goes to work every day with John and they’re inseparable.
Mamasita with her kittens - She is still waiting for a permanent home
Fran, our manager for Italian by Night recently fostered a mom-to-be cat and has spent a few sleepless nights ensuring the mom and her kittens have the best foster care. She’s kept us posted on the family and unfortunately has lost two of the kittens. Fran has given her time and money and has gone above and beyond in her caring for mama cat and her kittens. Her vet has also been kind and generous and has also gone above-and-beyond in supporting Fran.
At times we think there is not enough room or time in our lives for these animals others give up for their various reasons. But I think there is a pet out there for everyone who can reasonably have one.
There are a ton of great causes to support. Right now, the Saint John SPCA needs ours.
(We’re also happy to say that this past Christmas eve staff and customers at the Urban Deli / Italian by Night worked for free and donated both their time and tips to the Saint John SPCA – customers generously donated and we were able to bring them a cheque for nearly $700.)
Do you have an SPCA story? Share it in the comments or on our Facebook page. And please, if you can, help keep Saint John’s SPCA open. We need them so much!
(You can make a donation online at http://spcaanimalrescue.com/donate/ )
These are Mamasita's kittens and they all have a home except for the second kitten in this photo. You can help our SPCA by adopting, fostering or volunteering.