2014 Richmond Hill
“Caring for animals has always been a part of my life in many different ways.”
Corrine Griffiths was seven years old when her father accepted a job in Saudi Arabia where there was no veterinary care. Throughout her younger life strays were never turned away and homes would always be found for them.
“My mom's legacy for the love of animals lives in me. I watched her literally nurse cats back to life. I found my own dog there when we were out building a fort in the desert. We called him Toby and he became our family pet. I find myself using my mom’s techniques and caring for all the stray and lost pets that cross my door.”
Corrine came to Canada from the UK in 1991 and never went home. She worked for Corporate America for most of her career. Corrine explained her change of direction, “I woke up one day and realised I didn’t want to live like that anymore and I took a year off. I missed so much of my 13 year old daughter’s growing up because I was always on a plane or away working.”
Out of a desire to work with animals and have her own business Corrine met with the Pet Valu franchise owners. Corrine believed in their philosophy and opened her store in Oak Ridges on September 1st, 2010.
Corrine was photographed in her store with Carmel, a rare female ginger tabby cat since Tabby’s are usually male. When a senior cat is handed in to the O.S.P.C.A. they are usually euthanized so when Corrine heard about Carmel, even though she is allergic to cats, she did not hesitate to take the sixteen year old tabby in. Carmel is a good store pet and has a fan base of her own.
Charities Corrine works with are: Urban Cat Relief, Speaking of Dogs and TEAM rescue for cats and dogs. Since October 2013 Corrine’s store has offered a toe nail clipping services with 100 % of the proceeds going directly to the rescues who use the funds for their vet bills. Even though they have good relationships with veterinarians who offer discounted services, it still costs money to vaccinate and prepare a pet for adoption. The annual Pet Valu PAW event where each individual store raises money to benefit their own individual pet charities allows money raised to stay within their own communities.
The first year Corrine and her staff raised around $300, the second year $2000 and in 2013 raised just under $5000. Their silent auction supported by local businesses did exceptionally well. Their goal is to surpass this in 2014. Garage sales, a BBQ and bake sales are added to these events which all help to raise awareness and funds in support for their three charities.
“We live in a community with a big heart.”
All these charities are foster based, which means there is no pound or cages, animals are taken into real homes and live in a family environment rather than being put in a cage while they wait to be adopted. Corrine draws satisfaction from being a foster for Speaking Of Dogs and Urban Cat Relief. She has hand raised numerous tiny kittens who needed to be fed every four hours. Corrine admits you have to detach yourself to a point, because you can’t keep them all.
“Every time you keep one it then doesn’t leave room for the next one that needs you. You get a personal satisfaction when the animal you have been caring for gets to go to their forever home. Knowing that I have done something right is satisfying because these animals are innocent and helpless.”
Corrine works to control a feral population. Wild cats are captured, clipped and neutered to prevent inbreeding and disease. Hand in hand with this goes raising the funds to support these programs. Her goal is to build the foster network to prevent being overloaded. She loves teaching people how to look after their pet and help integrate the pet into their family life successfully. Corrine and her staff put on fundraising events so that participants are happy to give to a cause which in turn encourages a lifestyle of giving.