Langley Doberman remembered with new legacy fund

Cats and dogs alike benefit from generosity of Langley animal lovers at Saturday’s LAPS gala.

It’s still preliminary numbers, but an annual animal fundraising gala this weekend brought in about $90,000 to $95,000 to help Langley’s homeless, abandoned, and neglected pets.

It’s “some serious coin” raised for the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS), with money collected at the 10th annual Furry Tail Endings gala at Cascades on Saturday night.

“It was an amazing night. I think people really enjoyed the event,” said executive director Jayne Nelson, giddy in part due to lack of sleep plus her heightened sense of delight at the night’s success.

READ RELATED: U.S. women pitch in to support Langley animals (with video)

“The people who come out to support us have such generous hearts,” she said. “We are so grateful… Together we can make a difference for needy animals in Langley.”

The money is earmarked for a number of LAPS programs and initiatives, including helping to outfit the new ISOasis cat isolation centre currently under construction at the site.

“Walt Disney said ‘First think, second dream, third believe, and finally dare,’ and I think that perfectly sums up our ISOasis journey,” Nelson said of the centre that has been three years in the making.

It is a dedicated cat intake and isolation facility that is being built next to the main Patti Dale Animals shelter on 56th Avenue in Langley. All the construction costs have been covered, now, but some of the gala funds will help buy furnishings and equipment necessary for the facility.

The goal of the ISOasis centre is to provide extra capacity for cats, provide proper dedicated isolation facilities thus reducing the spread of disease, Nelson said.

“There isn’t another facility like this in Canada,” she added, noting it is scheduled for completion by Christmas. “This building was truly built with love. Only by all of us coming together were we able to make this dream a reality.”

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In honour of Major

In addition to the money raised during Saturday’s fundraiser, Nelson was also excited to reveal a $25,000 donation towards a new legacy fund aimed at ensuring veterinary care to pets that belong to Langley’s homeless.

Elizabeth Smith conceived of the idea for the fund after losing a dog she adopted through LAPS.

His name was Major, and the fund will bear his name.

In early spring of 2013 one of LAPS animal control officers, Tina Jensen-Fogt, picked up a very handsome Doberman pinscher.

He was wearing an electronic bark collar. He had bald spots and a lesion under the contact points of the collar, an eye infection, a skin infection and a noticeably swollen hock joint on his right hind leg.

“But he had a microchip, so we had every reason to think he would go home. We tracked Major’s microchip to the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), where he was registered as Roulettes Major Back Up,” Nelson recounted.

He had one brother and three sisters, and was born Dec. 26, 2008.

“What we didn’t find was contact information for his owner. After some excellent sleuthing, five dead-end phone numbers later, we knew he would be staying with us,” she said.

Major was taken to a local veterinarian who treated his skin and eyes. X-rays also showed he had an old untreated, poorly healed trauma to his right hind leg.

“We were able to treat the skin and eye infection, but there was nothing we could do to repair his leg. We knew we would have to find an special person who would be able manage any pain he experienced in that leg as he got older,” said Nelson, who noted that once he began treatment, Major was made available for adoption.

One of the adoption counsellors knew Smith, who was a LAPS volunteer, was looking to adopt a dog. A meeting was set up between Smith and Major.

“As we had hoped it was love at first sight! “Nelson recalled. “Elizabeth was a great student during her mandatory training sessions with Major, before taking him home… and even brought a three-course meal [maybe to bribe the adoptions counsellor] for Amy at every session.”

This year Major died of congestive heart failure.

“Elizabeth was heart broken,” Nelson said, noting how the animal lover chose to harness that grief into something positive.

She set up the Major’s Legacy Fund, to provide community outreach to Langley’s homeless population, who own pets, to ensure that those pets have access to veterinary care.

Basics, like vaccines and parasite control, as well as being able to provide for treatment of disease, dental, and other injuries as needed.

“The fund will also help people with low incomes to access the fund for the same kind of care,” Nelson elaborated.

“It is such a gift to have the companionship of a pet and they add so much to our lives. The reality is that it costs money to provide food and veterinary care to animals. Sometimes good people, who love their pets, are struggling just to feed their families. It would be such a shame for a pet to end up in a shelter because the family can’t afford veterinary care or food.”

What if that pet was the only thing in the world that someone had? Smith queried.

“It isn’t right for someone to have to choose between providing necessary veterinary care, allowing their pet to live with disease, illness or injuries, or surrendering to a shelter,” she said.

“Elizabeth has pledged $25,000 to ensure that no animal will go without needed medical care in this community,” Nelson said. “Major’s Legacy Fund will save many lives in the coming year. What an amazing gift. Thank you Elizabeth, for loving and adopting a very handsome slightly imperfect shelter dog. Bless you for your incredibly generous heart.”

After explaining Smith’s pledge, Nelson went one step further and asked the crowd at Saturday’s gala to ponder making a pledge too.

“Consider making a pledge to help the 1,400 animals that will need our help in the coming year. Your pledge will ensure that we can continue to provide, our unique and wonderful animal welfare programs, provide life-saving medical care, and be able to fund the operation of our ISOasis.”

READ: Cats and cat lovers were all smiles at Langley centre’s ground breaking (with video)

MORE: Langley Animal Protection Society gets into the housing market

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