When Jeanine Rawlings looks at her dog Kimmy today she sees a happy, energetic family member. But that wasn’t always the case. “I was Kimmy’s foster parent, so I met her when she was just beginning her road to recovery,” says Rawlings. “She’s a totally different dog today.”
When Rawlings first met Kimmy she had been surrendered by her previous owner after being hit by a car. In addition to the untreated broken leg, Kimmy was also suffering from serious dental decay and had to have a number of her teeth removed. The experience with Kimmy had a profound impact on Rawlings. “When Kimmy came into our home she was still in a cast and seemed so much older than her six years. Today she has more energy than I do and I have to tell her when it’s time to stop playing. I can’t imagine my life without her.”
Rawlings’ experience with Kimmy inspired her to help other animals. “I’m really lucky to have an incredible cat and dog at home now. There’s no more room in our home at the moment, but I wanted to help more animals, and that’s why I became a Champion for Animals.” Through the BC SPCA’s Champion for Animals online site, animal lovers launch their own unique fundraisers based on their interests and talents.
Jeanine started a Champions for Animals page to raise funds in support of her run in the Vancouver Sun Run. “I chose running because it’s what I already love to do,” she says. “My partner and I aren’t in a position to donate to the BC SPCA as much as we’d love to each year, but with Champions for Animals we can raise so much more through friends and family who might not otherwise be donating.“
“I think every one of us has known a special animal who has inspired us. We all have our own Kimmy.” says Tess Repenning, BC SPCA manager of Peer to Peer & Community Fundraising. “You don’t have to be a runner, like Jeanine, to be a champion. You can honour the animal in your life by coming up with a fundraiser using your own special skill.” Champions have included scuba divers, flamenco dancers, community BBQ organizers, rally car drivers, birthday celebrants and more.
“There’s really no end to the creative things you can do to support the animals,” says Repenning. “All you have to ask yourself to be a champion is ‘What am I going to do for animals in need?’