The BC SPCA was on the receiving end of an adorable surprise this month.
An anonymous donor dropped by the organization's Tri-Cities Education & Adoption Centre branch to bestow 200 plush stuffed animals to the non-profit shelter, a gift intended to bring comfort and joy to local animals in need.
The rescue agency then in turn distributed the stuffies to several BC SPCA locations across the Lower Mainland, including its Burnaby branch. But rather than hold onto all the toys for the animals that will inevitably wind up in its care, Burnaby's BC SPCA branch opted to provide the stuffed animals to their North Burnaby Neighbourhood House partner, as part of the BC SPCA's ongoing outreach service program.
Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, the BC SPCA says it has grown these existing food bank services to help pet owners who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic continue caring for their furry loved ones.
In the past year alone, the Burnaby BC SPCA says it has distributed just over 530 kilograms of kibble and more than 1250 cans of food— and, as of late, copious amounts of stuffed toys.
“We have found it really rewarding to be able to work with our community and help keep pets in their loving homes especially during this difficult time,” said Nicole McBain, manager of the BC SPCA in Burnaby. “Taking the stuffies to the community food bank was a huge hit! It really thrilled the recipients to know they could provide a new toy to their pets, and something special that was beyond the basic necessities of food.”
Wondering why pups are so predisposed to love playing with stuffed animals? For many dogs, it feeds into their instinctual desire to hunt and carry small animals, while some pets are more partial to stuffies' "shredability factor," according to an article written by Patty Oelze for online pet-care platform Wag!. "If it can be ripped apart, it’s fun," Oelze wrote.
To that, end, McBain said it felt good to know the local shelter was helping people maintain a strong bond with their pets by a simple act like distributing special stuffed toys alongside food donations. “As we are able to we will continue to try to add some little extra treats and goodies to help bring a smile to people’s faces as well as their much-beloved pets," she said.
The donations were facilitated through the North Burnaby Neighbourhood House programs, a charitable volunteer-driven non-profit organization where people can access support and services.
“With the generous support of the Burnaby SPCA, we can take care of not only North Burnaby residents but also their four-footed loved ones,” said Burnaby Neighbourhood House spokesperson Karis Hsiao. “The pet food, cuddly stuffies, and essential pet supplies provided by the SPCA go directly to our clients with fur babies, and this continuous support is greatly appreciated by one and all.”
Those interested in donating items to the Burnaby BC SPCA's food bank outreach programs themselves can do so by leaving donations in the bin on the front doorsteps of 3202 Norland Avenue between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.