Two women from St. John’s have found a unique way of helping vulnerable animals while remembering their own beloved dogs that brought so much joy to their lives.
Thanks to Kathy Morrissey and Krista White over 1,000 lbs of dog food and other pet supplies have found their way to Labrador while still other supplies have been distributed to animal rescue groups on the island portion of the province.
After Morrissey’s dog died in 2014, she decided to take on a project to help people who may not be able to afford to buy cat food or other necessary supplies.
Her first year (2015) saw her collecting about 80 cans of cat food and numerous boxes of kitty litter and donating the supplies to the St. John’s-based groups Heavenly Creatures and Pleas for Paws.
When Morrissey’s co-worker, Krista White, found out what she was doing, White said she’d like to help with next year’s project.
In 2016, Morrissey and Krista bought a print and sold tickets on the artwork. The fundraiser was a tremendous success, Morrissey said. The duo used the money from the ticket sales to buy food and pet supplies which they distributed to several animal rescue organizations – all based in the St. John’s area.
“We knew then that people really wanted to give to this kind of thing. So this year (2017) we decided to give to organizations out around the bay. Because the further you go out (of the St. John’s area) the harder the food is to get and the more expensive it is.”
The women donated this year’s supplies to some groups in St. John’s as well as animal organizations in Lethbridge, Bonavista Bay, the Burin Peninsula and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador.
The SPCA in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is dear to her heart, Morrissey said.
“I just love what they do rescuing pups from (other communities),” she said.
Thanks to Air Borealis – an airline operated by Pal Airlines - over 1,400 lbs of dog food and other pet supplies were shipped free-of-charge to Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA will distribute the food to Natuashish and Nunatsiavut communities for residents who own dogs. Supplies will also be given to people in the communities who care for stray dogs until the SPCA in Happy Valley-Goose Bay can take the dogs into their care.
Both Morrissey and White felt it’s better to donate food and supplies rather than merely send money.
“That way (the organizations) can take money they raise and use it for things like vet care, shelter, spay/ neuter. Money that they would normally have to use for food,” Morrissey said.
When contacted by phone about the partnership between PAL Airlines and Air Borealis to dog food donations free of charge to coastal Labrador, Air Borealis Vice President, Business Development, Philip Earle said Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are very giving people. It’s rewarding, he said, to help people meet their goals when they undertake such food drives.
The dog food heading to Labrador is normally earmarked for Nain and Natuashish, he said.
“As long as the shipment is identified as food that’s going to the SPCA, that’s the trigger that makes (the program) work,” Earle said.
The need for dog food is great in some Labrador communities, Earle said, particularly this time of year.
“We do this for the love of the animals and for the community. We are happy to have the partnership with the SPCA and to be able to make the contribution to the coastal communities,” Earle said.
Following the arrival of the food in January, Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA president Lee Hill thanked the women for their generous donation.
“This donation to our shelter is appreciated more than words could ever express. This will help us feed so many of the animals and the stray dogs more than we could do within Labrador and also some locally that need help,” Hill wrote on Kilo’s Babies Facebook page.
The women have named their annual fundraiser “Kilo’s Babies.”
Kilo was Morrissey’s dog’s name. White’s dog, who has also passed away, was named Babie.
“We just want to keep their memory going and help all the animals that we can possibly help,” Morrissey said.