by Lorraine Payette, written March 15, 2012, updated December 1, 2012
(INVERARY, ONTARIO) It’s a dog’s life. For some, this means comfort and luxury until passing away quietly in one’s sleep and never knowing the difference. For others, the experience is far different, starting in misery and going downhill from there.
And then there’s the worst tragedy of all. Some are loved and pampered while they remain young and healthy, but as soon as something goes wrong, they find themselves abandoned by a roadside, not knowing where they are or where they can find help. They may wander for days, no longer certain who can be trusted and unsure as to why this was done to them when they had been faithful companions for so many years.
Catherine Pokrywa of Inverary just didn’t have it in her heart to turn a blind eye and let this continue unabated. On a visit to the Kingston Humane Society in 2000, she saw a sad but beautiful old boy named Caleb. Life had taken its toll on him, and he lay withered and despairing in the bottom of his enclosure.
Pokrywa says she went home that evening and couldn’t sleep. She kept having nightmares about this poor dog, trapped in a situation he couldn’t control.
The next morning, Pokrywa went in and adopted Caleb, a 13-year-old buff cocker spaniel who would quickly teach her how much love was to be found in such a tiny old body.
It wasn’t long before Pokrywa found herself adopting another dog in need of palliative care. And another. And another.
The ninth dog she adopted was Sheba. The veterinary diagnosis on her came back as mammary cancer, a damaged liver and Cushing’s disease, daunting conditions which would require incredible amounts of time, patience, care and special diets and medications.
But Pokrywa was up to the challenge, and Sheba’s life improved dramatically. She lived out the remaining year and a half of her life in comfort and happiness, in a world without cages or cruelty, and at a place where she was valued for being herself.
By this time, costs were getting out of control, and so many old, sick and deserving animals needed her help.
So began Sheba’s Haven Rescue. A small palliative care facility for dogs at 1830 Sunbury Road in Inverary, this registered charity looks after about 10 dogs at a time on a three-acre lot. There is plenty of room for them to get out and play, hunt for interesting things in the grass, or just bask in the sun. They receive the best in veterinary care, special diets, and the use of holistic and other natural treatments to guarantee that their remaining time is as comfortable and rewarding as possible.
“We like to keep the numbers low,” says Pokrywa. “Care at this level can be extremely costly and time consuming, and we want to give them everything we can.”
PetValu has heard about the work at Sheba’s Haven, and is offering their help through their annual Easter Photo Day. To participate, just drop by PetValu at 711 King Street East in Gananoque between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on March 31 and have your picture taken. You don’t need to bring a pet, and all proceeds go to the Rescue facility. A 5”x7” portrait costs $5.00.
There are plenty of other ways to donate to this worthy cause. If you can’t make the Photo Day, consider offering a cash donation or something from their wish list of items and volunteers. The current list consists of:
• Canadian Tire money
• Fencing boards
• Old working cell phones (Fundraiser – Recycle Program)
• Old Digital Cameras (Fundraiser – Recycle Program)
• Empty print cartridges (HP920XL – Fundraiser – Recycle Program)
• Baking soda
• Paper towels
• Cosmetic pads
• Chew Masters Chicken Strips (Costco)
• Fromm Mature Dog Food (Global Pet Foods)
• Trees (Dog Garden)
• Stepping Stone cement
• High Quality Stethoscope
• Printer cartridge (Lexmark Black 82 or Colour 83)
• Copy Paper
• Kenmore Central Vac hose w/deep-clean brush roller attachment Model#4802080C
• Natures Sunshine Essential Liquid Minerals, Noni, Everflex
• Volunteers to groom, excercise, computer work, fundraising, garden in meditiation garden, make meals etc.
“Cash donations in memory of a deceased animal or person, or a milestone in your life or that of friends and family members that you want to honour are always welcome,” says Pokrywa. “An acknowledgement of your gift will be made by sending a special card to your friend or family, and tax receipts will be given for donations of $20.00 or more.”
To learn more about Sheba’s Haven Rescue, or to make a donation, please go to http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/shebashaven.html . You can also contact Pokrywa at 613-353-6923 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . To learn more about the Photo Day, contact PetValu at 613-382-2626.