Jessica was born in Montreal, and has lived here for 22 years.
In that short time she has become a strong presence in all aspects of rescue, including puppy mill and hoarding situations. She currently helps run the new Valleyfield SPCA home to over 200 abandoned cats.
Where do you live now and who lives with you?
In the West Island with my parents and my brother. Also with my 4 yr old German Shepherd, our 15 yr old Maltese, my two cats, and 4 foster kitties.
When did you first realize you wanted to help/work with animals. How old were you?
Ever since I was young I have always dreamed of working with animals, and it was around the age of 13 when I started volunteering at the Ecomuseum.
What was your first job experience in working with/helping dogs and cats?
My first experience in working with dogs and cats started when I was 16. It started off as a summer job at Manoir Kanisha in Dorval, a boarding kennel ,and I ended up working there for 5 years. Basically I was taking care of people’s cats and dogs when they went on vacation, as well as doing grooming. Because of this job, I realized that I wanted to work with animals for the rest of my life.
You have been involved with a lot of rescue stories in the Montreal area. We met for the first time at the horrific Valleyfield cat situation. Tell us how you found your way there and your dream job!
I had gone to a workshop about Emergency Animal Sheltering by HSUS that was offered by the SPCA Laurentides-Labelle, and a few people had mentioned that they desperately needed volunteers. So I contacted the person in charge and went in on my day off to help out. I then realized that they REALLY did need a lot of help. So every day that I had off I was there. I was working night shift at the time so right after I was done at work, I would drive to Valleyfield at 7 am to volunteer till I had to go home to get a few hours of sleep till my night shift would start.
After about a month of volunteering, I was asked if I would be interested in working full time. Of course I said yes! It’s a bit of a drive, but these cats are so important to me, and they all deserve a second chance at finding a good home .
What are some of the things you have seen these past few months, stories, good or bad?
I have come to realize that there is a big problem of stray cats in Valleyfield, and that they keep reproducing. We have 250 cats at the moment and we are over our capacity. Until people start sterilizing their pets this problem will always exist. We are trying to educate the population so that more cats will live in nice warm homes instead of out in the cold. Now that people know that we exist, we are starting to have more and more adoptions… placing cats in permanent homes.
At the moment we have 6 staff, some full time and some part time. We are still looking for volunteers as well. Our adoption prices are $125 which includes de worming, vaccination, and sterilizations. Our adoption hours are from 1 pm till 6 pm Monday till Sunday.
What do you see in your future regarding helping animals?
I see myself continuing in efforts to help sick, injured and abandoned animals while looking forward in the future to working with cities and other organizations in reducing the amount of uncared for pets through education.
What would you like to tell fellow Montrealers about their pets, good or bad with your experience?
In the future I hope to see people becoming responsible pet owners and having their pets spayed and neutered. As well as having tags with their phone number on their pets collars. There are way too many animals that are brought into shelters with out any sort of identification.
”In rescuing animals, I lost my mind, but found my soul.” ~anonymous