Local Therapy Dogs Featured in Pet Valu Fundraising Calendar

Krystine Therriault - Seaway News
Local Therapy Dogs Featured in Pet Valu Fundraising Calendar
(Photo : Krystine Therriault/Seaway News)

Jane McLaren has volunteered with her therapy dogs since 1991, and just registered her 8th. Recently, a stunning image of her two Shetland Sheepdogs, Hannah and Nessie, was selected from more than 15,500 entries to be featured as January in the Pet Valu 2023 calendar.

To celebrate Hannah and Nessie, Pet Valu Eastcourt Mall (1380 2nd Street) is currently exhibiting a five-foot x three foot display showcasing the winning photo of the Sheepdogs and some fun facts about them.

“It’s just such a beautiful photo of two dogs getting out enjoying the winter weather which is so important as we get into the colder season,” said Alison Preiss, Senior Integrated Marketing Manager at Pet Valu.

The annual calendar, which contains photos of 15 Canadian pets taken by their pet parents, including dogs, cats, a guinea pig, a budgie, and a bearded dragon, will be available in Pet Valu for a give-what-you-can donation in mid-December. One hundred per cent of the donations go towards Pet Valu’s Companions for ChangeTM initiatives.

“This is the 11th annual fundraising calendar, so we’ve been running this program for quite a few years and we’re always so grateful and so pleasantly surprised by the generosity of devoted pet lovers who pick this up, make their donation, and have it in their home for the year,” added Preiss.

Hannah and Nessie are registered therapy dogs and Reading Education Assistance dogs. Now in their senior years, both dogs have spent many hours volunteering in the community alongside their owner.

“Hannah did four years at Cornwall Hospice. When she first started, she did some time at the hospital as well. She’s done McConnell Manor. They’ve both done the reading program that the library had pre-COVID; they’re just getting back into that again. I’ve been all over the place with them because it’s been so many years,” explained owner Jane McLaren, who said that this is not the first time that she has entered a photo into the Pet Valu contest.

“Everybody has the best dogs in the world and the nicest dogs in the world and that’s true so I might as well enter. Anybody will say the same thing and we’re all right. Every single one of us is right. I do it for fun,” McLaren said.

McLaren explained that the winning photo was taken by Rachel Bird Photography and that the dogs were chasing her as she ran ahead of them as fast as she could.

Since 2010, Companions for Change initiatives have raised over $23 million for hundreds of Canadian animal rescues and charities, and they have found forever homes for more than 41,000 homeless pets.

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society’s Mobile Animal Wellness Services unit is supported by Companions for Change. In 2022 the mobile clinic made three trips to Cornwall. This year, a total of 169 spay/neuter procedures were performed, which prevented more than an estimated 8,250 unplanned kittens in the community.

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