Once in a while I sit and look back at the journey that Precious Paws has taken me on over the last 12 years. When I started the rescue I was a new grad (veterinary technology) and had recently moved to Barrie. I was single, had 2 dogs, and had just started my career in a vet clinic. I had been working and volunteering in the animal rescue world for 7 years by then and I saw a need for a local rescue in our area. But I hesitated. I had worked with enough rescues to know that starting a rescue was no easy task and not for the faint of heart. Having good intentions would not be enough. I reached out to other women who were even more experienced and who were very well-respected in the rescue community. They told me to go for it. So I wrapped my head around it, created a Petfinder site, drafted up all my documents and took in my first fosters under the new rescue name.
Precious Paws Rescue was born from a desire to make a lasting difference in the lives of the animals that I cared deeply about. “Precious” was my first rescue when I was just a teen, a stray that had shown up at a neighbour’s house and a dog that left a long-lasting impression on my soul. It seemed fitting to name the rescue in her honour. What started as me alone taking in foster dogs, having them fully vetted, and then adopting them out to loving homes, grew slowly. Volunteer by volunteer, supporter by supporter, adopter by adopter, this little idea I had grew to encompass much more than I could have hoped for.
Over the years many things have changed. We officially incorporated as a non-profit in 2010. We have implemented new programs and changed existing ones. We shifted our focus to dogs only because sometimes you have to just pick one thing and do that one thing really well. We stayed true to a belief that we can’t just take in every dog – sometimes we need to provide education and resources to help dogs stay in the homes they are already in. We started Boo’s Fund for community members in need. We’ve seen a couple logo changes and website updates and we even now have actual Precious Paws merchandise that people proudly wear!
12 years seems like forever when I'm looking back at our beginning. In that 12 years I have been through 2 moves, I changed careers to be an animal control officer, I got married, I had 3 beautiful boys, I became a stay at home mom, I lost many beloved pets of my own. Rescue has at times been a huge drain on my life and there have been many (MANY) times when I have been very close to giving up. Of course those who know me know I’m much too stubborn for that! And then there are the adoptions that keep me going. The dogs that came to us broken and are now thriving in an adoptive home BECAUSE OF US. WE DID THAT. And when I want to turn away from the rescue entirely I look at the people who surround me that I would never have met had I not done this crazy rescue thing. Some of the most important people in my life today are here because of Precious Paws.
I am grateful for this journey. I am grateful for the dogs who have come into my life and taught me so much about myself, about life, about what I want for my own life. I am grateful for the volunteers who have built this rescue to what it is today alongside me. I am grateful for the adopters who accept these beautiful souls into their families. I am grateful for the donors and supporters who ensure we can cover the many extra veterinary expenses and continue to say yes to more who need us. I am grateful for my family that puts up with foster dogs who bark all night when they first arrive, adoptions in the middle of dinner time and events on so many weekends. I am grateful for Precious Paws Rescue; all that it was, all that it is, and all that it will be. That desire to make a lasting difference in the lives of animals has led to real change for the dogs we have rescued, the families we have helped, and so many others. I could not be more proud of this organization and the people that make it what it is.
The look of Precious Paws Rescue may change from time to time but the heart of Precious Paws Rescue will always stay true to those values I started out with. Thank you for being with us on this journey.