It’s been a challenging year for many in Langley due to the pandemic – including some of the four-legged furry members of society.
For Langley Animal Protection Society, COVID-19 have changed day-to-day operations at the Patti Dale Animal Shelter with all the added safety protocols. As well, many of the fundraising efforts for the non-profit have been altered, explained executive director Jayne Nelson.
The charity isn’t, for instance, able to host its in-person events, such as the annual pet photos with Santa or the fall Furry Tail Endings Gala – which went virtual and still managed to raise $100,000 for the shelter.
“So, we are having to be extra creative in raising funds to support the animals in our care, as well as to support community outreach programs,” Nelson said, explaining a few new and existing holiday initiatives being undertaken this Christmas.
Back by popular demand, the shelter’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas campaign kicked off last week, and runs until the end of December. This is an adoption-based campaign, where the goal is to empty the shelter by finding every one of the animals a new, forever home before the clock strikes 12 on Christmas Eve, Nelson explained.
“Interestingly, we don’t have many animals to find homes for this year. I think it probably is due to the pandemic,” said Nelson.
“We’ve had such a high interest in adoption of all the animals we’ve had in the shelter this year,” she said, attributing it to the fact that so many people are working from home and in a better position to offer the love and attention needed for a pet.
She’s predicting there will be 35 animals up for adoption this holiday season – predominantly cats, at least four dogs, and even a bird or two (including Gayle the Quail) – compared to 120 adopted out last Christmas.
They’ve already placed 13 of those into homes this holiday season, and Nelson, who is optimistic they’ll find homes for all well before Dec. 24.
“Can you open your heart and home to a shelter animals this holiday season?” she said.
And, in addition to trying to clear the shelter for Christmas, part of this year’s holiday efforts will be spent ensuring that LAPS is providing support to families with pets in the community who are in need.
They are hoping to provide pet stockings to at least 150 Langley families this holiday season: “People in our community whose finances have been impacted by COVID 19, are low-income, or are experiencing homelessness and are struggling to make ends meet,” Nelson explained.
”In addition to providing ongoing support through our Major’s Legacy Fund (providing veterinary care, food, and other basic necessities) this year we wanted to do something special for Christmas. This year for every $50 donation someone makes to our Christmas campaign, we hope to provide a little Christmas cheer with either a cat-themed or dog-themed stocking (donor choice) for a dog or cat in need in our community,” she said.
The stockings will be filled with toys and treats, and each will be accompanied by a bag of food, Nelson elaborated.
Donations for the $50 stocking are being done online: LAPSChristmas.givesmart.com.
Also new this year, LAPS is holding a Christmas auction.
“It’s a great re-use of our gala platform and allows us to host a virtual Christmas wishlist, with items like canned food, toys, heating pads for sick or orphaned kittens, and other supplies needed [at the shelter],” Nelson elaborated.
In addition to the shelter’s Christmas “Santa Paws” wishlist, they’ve incorporated a small art auction that closes Dec. 20, and features artworks are by A.J. Casson and a few paintings by the late Al Colton, an internationally acclaimed artist who called Langley home.
Each year, the shelter cares for more than 1,600 animals “of all shapes, sizes, and species,” Nelson said. “Thanks for letting them know you care, she concluded, expressing eternal gratitude for the ongoing support LAPS receives from the community every year.
“The holidays are not so much a time to open our presents, but a time to open our hearts,” she said, and her heart overflowing thanks to Langley’s love and generosity.
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