Shelly and Wayne were nominated to be a part of the “52 Montrealers” series with good reason.
Shelly is not only one of our resident bloggers, but heavily involved with just about ever rescue in the city. Her husband Wayne is there every step of the way… Isn’t it nice to add a man to this group?
Shelly Elsliger and Wayne Bennett
Where were you born?
I was born in Jacquet River, New Brunswick and Wayne was born in Winnipeg. We have both been in the Montreal area for more than 20 years ..met curling but both found it funny that we did not meet at some animal fundraising event somewhere!:)
Where do you live now and who lives with you?
We presently live in Pointe Claire with our fur babies; our dogs: 12 year old Bailey the Border Collie, 5 year old Kayla the Pug, 5 year old Maya the Boston and our disabled Bulldog Punky
all the way from Taiwan. We also have a cat named Goldie who is 14 years old, 2 fish tanks and just recently 2 goldfish that I felt sorry for when the family
was moving to PEI! We have been married for 2 years but a couple for close to six years…coming into the relationship, Wayne had Goldie and I had Bailey…so there was never a time with just the two of us 🙂
When did you first realize you wanted to help/work with animals. How old were you?
I really do not remember a time where I didn’t help animals. I come from a home with a Dad who has always been a champion at rescuing animals from rabbits, to groundhogs as well as to a number of needy and homeless dogs who found their way to a home with us. Both my Mom and Dad are very compassionate people who always made it a point of letting us know that animals mattered!
Wayne came from a similar home with a Mom and Dad who always had a rescued cat. On our first date, Wayne told me about how he rescued Goldie from the SPCA..that she was the neediest and worst looking cat at the SPCA but he knew that she was meant for him….let’s just say..this story…was the sign.. Wayne was a KEEPER!
What was your first experience in working with/helping dogs and cats?
Both of us loved and looked after rescued animals prior to meeting but I guess I was more dog oriented and Wayne more cat-oriented. I also had fish! Our first date we talked about both being a single parent to a cat and a dog but how they were part of the package. I think we were both impressed to find out how each other’s pet came to be: Bailey was the offspring of a pregnant dog who had been tied to a tree for more than 48 hrs besides a Depanneur on the South Shore. I travelled all the way to SPCA Monteregie because I wanted to help….5 weeks later, I decided to adopt….and the rest is history..hard to believe that is already 12 years ago.
Soon after meeting, we became parents to a Pug and a Boston who had been rescued from the hands of a backyard breeder..and our bonded desire to help, do what we could do, extended to fostering Punky, a disabled French Bulldog, who was part of a Journey of Love from Taiwan to Quebec. I feel blessed that Wayne and I are on the same page because as a TEAM we are able to give double the love, do double the rescuing and obviously, do double the work that is needed to keep the entire family healthy and happy.
Tell us how you work as a team and as individuals. What are some of the things you have seen, stories good or bad?
Wayne and I always work as a team and support each other. I go into schools, and community centres, to teach “Humane Education” and Wayne always helps me to prepare the visuals so that there is an impact on the young children I try to reach…our belief is that if we get the message and the importance of compassion towards animals when children are young, they will be more responsible adults and the message will continue. I always feel inspired and empowered when I leave a classroom ( with normally one of my rescued dogs in hand) and the kids see things differently; they see animals differently… they suddenly realize that animals need many of the same things that the kids need and feel the same feelings the kids feel…it is that change in understanding that is needed to change the future of animal welfare. My goal is touch as many young people I can….so that we become recognized as a population that cares about animals..right now Quebec is seen as quite the opposite..that really saddens us both!
I should also mention that both of us have rescued animals from hot cars, reported cases of abuse and have been known to sit with dogs outside of grocery stories if they were in distress and waiting for the owners…we have also waited for the owners…shared stories when we met:) We basically help out as many rescues as we can.
We do a yearly run to the SPCA which we call “Our annual give it away to doggie day” with goodies, old sheets, blankets, toys, cleaning supplies, etc. We try to attend as many fundraisers as possible..garage sales at Gerdy’s, Photo shoots for Rosie’s and the Underdog Club, online auctions for Animatch and we have fostered for both Sophie’s and Paws for Life. Wayne has offered and been involved in transportation efforts to help other dogs on their Journey of Life from Taiwan, and we are both big supporters of all the efforts made by Eleven Eleven Rescue.
And of course-being one of the Bloggers for the MontrealDogBlog is an amazing way to reach people with news, resources, information, etc. Working on the dog blog with a dedicated group of individuals helps me to never lose sight of the number of individuals who do want to make a difference-because there are times that the “bad” stories takes its toll and I need to re-connect with the good and through inspirational stories of people who are making a difference and to always keep in mind that there are good things happening as well..yeah!
Any Causes you want to mention that are dear to your heart ?
Wayne and I both feel that it is up to all of us to have a voice and ensure that places like Berger Blanc do not get a chance to inflict any further cruel and inhumane treatment towards animals…we all have to think that, “it could easily be one of our pets”. We have to do what we can to stop people from buying pets from pet stores and supporting horrific puppy mill operations. Education is necessary, animal cruelty must have bigger consequences, and more support and awareness must be given regarding the good bye message from a long time favorite, vegetarian and animal rights activist , and ongoing source of inspiration-Bob Barker-help control the pet population.
“Have your pets spayed or neutered”
What do you see in your future regarding helping animals?
We will continue to do whatever we can do to help animals….everything we do and any difference we can make just makes us better people.
TPK “In rescuing animals, I lost my mind, but found my soul.” ~anonymous