Beloved cat inspires half-million-dollar donation to CRD animal shelter

Over half a million dollars has been donated to the Capital Regional District animal shelter in honour of a beloved pet.

The $518,000 gift from the estate of Francis Gordon Ainsworth, who died in December 2020, recognizes Whiskey the cat — who was with Ainsworth through his final days at St. Charles Manor.

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Robert Alvin Carter, his partner of 50 years, died in March 2018, and Ainsworth’s obituary said Whiskey “provided unconditional love and companionship” as he dealt with the loss.

The men first learned a number of years ago about the work done by the animal shelter at a public outreach event at the facility. They subsequently became annual donors, and helped provide new beds for dogs and hide-and-perch boxes for cats, as well as financial support for extreme medical cases, the CRD said in a statement.

The shelter helps animals in 10 municipalities, the Gulf Islands, electoral areas and three First Nations. Over the past four years, it has given emergency medical care, ­including spaying and neutering, to about 400 found animals, leading to about $150,000 in veterinary expenses.

Board chair Colin Plant said the CRD is very appreciative of the donation, which will likely go to services such as spaying and neutering, microchipping, vaccinations and surgeries for animals. “We are always able to put such donations to good use because there is always more need than dollars,” he said Thursday. “It was a very kind thing for this family to do.”

CRD spokesman Andy Orr said it’s gratifying for the animal shelter’s staff. “Especially when it came out of something like that, where the genesis of it was an outreach.”

jbell@timescolonist.com

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