Leigh-Anne’s Legacy

By Ryan Toomey

We all have someone who left a lasting mark on our lives. Someone who taught us what unconditional love and kindness is. Leigh-Anne Cox was that someone to many people and shelter pets. She preached kindness to people, the environment, and especially to animals.

We lost Leigh-Anne, a longtime volunteer at the Cape Breton SPCA, last year. In light of Leigh-Anne’s passing, acts of kindness began to spread like wildfire throughout her home, Cape Breton Island. Patches of grass left unkept for the bees, litter clean-ups, gardens planted, a “bee” kind committee, and a life-saving gift to the Cape Breton SPCA.

For Christmas, Leigh-Anne’s family and friends came together to sponsor an animal’s stay at the Cape Breton SPCA. Leigh-Anne often volunteered at the shelter, spending time comforting and socializing the animals. She gravitated towards the animals struggling to find a home and those recovering from abuse, neglect, and illness; often showing them what kindness and love are for the first time.

Leigh-Anne’s family and friends made this gift to not only honour her memory but to create a legacy of love and kindness that will continue to protect animals for years to come.

I’ve been talking to Leigh-Anne’s mother for months now as she carried on her daughter’s legacy. Every conversation left me inspired. “My baby is the reason I get out of bed every morning. My goal is to spread and promote kindness in any way I can in her memory. That is kindness to animals, people, the environment… It doesn’t matter. The ripple effect can stem from one act of kindness, a person coming to the shelter to visit the animals, a donation big or small. With any luck, Leigh-Anne’s passion will be contagious.” An inspiring statement from Adele that touched all of us at the SPCA.

Adele isn’t done yet and says she won’t be until every animal gets the help it needs. They plan to start an annual fundraiser in honour of Leigh-Anne on her birthday this June, using her daughter’s inspiring story and teachings as the foundation for rallying support.

Even though we may not have that special person that taught us unconditional love and kindness we can always honour them by carrying on their legacy. For some of you, this person may even have four legs and a tail. Honoring them in a meaningful way is easy; give! Give your time, give life-saving funds, or give awareness.


Ryan Toomey

Ryan is the Community Engagement Coordinator with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-papa to Jake and Sam. He is determined to ensure homeless pets get the help they deserve.