Tribute: Unsung Heroes in Animal Rescue

By Judy Layne

They wear their uniforms with pride.  To them, their work isn’t just a job – it’s a calling.  They are Nova Scotia SPCA Cruelty Investigation Officers and they are true heroes.

Every day, they see things no one wants to see. Dogs who have lived their entire lives on a 4-foot chain.  Never touched by caring hands.  Never hearing the words ‘Good boy’. Never able to run or play.  Never able to escape the neglect and abuse. Cats abandoned and left alone in a deserted apartment.  Kittens callously taped into cardboard boxes and put in a dumpster.  No matter how many times they witness the aftermath of neglect and cruelty, there are some things they never get used to. The painful images they see are inevitably burned into their memories.  

Although they try to build walls to protect their hearts, emotional wounds are unavoidable.  But their passion is stronger than their heartache.  Resilience becomes a huge part of their characters. They draw upon their dedication and love for animals to rescue those with broken bodies and spirits.  They know that they must take compassion and turn it into action on behalf of the animals who need them. 

At times, they question their own strength but somehow, they carry on. They are revitalized when they think of each rescued animal’s journey, knowing how far they’ve come. For all the pain, there is joy when they see the animals they rescued learn to trust, feel loved for the first time and begin to bloom. And when perfect ‘forever’ homes are found for them, it makes it all worthwhile.  It’s a reminder of why they do what they do.  For the animals they save, these men and women are the pathway to a new life…..the bridge between what was and what can be.  

Last year alone, NS SPCA cruelty officers investigated 1615 cruelty complaints and intervened on behalf of 4462 animals. But these heroes need your help to continue making a life-changing difference for neglected and abused animals.  Animals have no voice to cry out for help, so it’s up to us to speak for them. If you suspect or witness an act of animal cruelty or even if you’re unsure, please call the SPCA immediately (toll-free: 1-888-703-7722; local 902-835-4798).  All calls are confidential.  You can also file a confidential online complaint. Never take matters into your own hands.  

Albert Einstein once said ‘The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.’  The worst thing you can do if you witness or suspect animal cruelty is turn away.

You can be a hero too – if you see something, say something.

Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-mama to Gracie. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.