A Forever Home for the Holidays

By Taylor Huestis

We love sharing stories with happy endings. And while this story is sure to warm your heart, it began on a bitterly cold November night.

Landers was homeless, hungry and alone.

He was found just 4 minutes away from the SPCA. We’re not sure if Landers was abandoned. We hoped he was just lost. After all, he was just 6 months old and only had patches of fur to keep him warm.

Landers was rushed into the shelter. He enjoyed some yummy food and thanked us with slobbery kisses. Our veterinary team discovered Landers was suffering from Dermatitis. His treatment included two different types of medicine and special baths to soothe his skin. After a few weeks, Landers began to grow some peach-fuzz and bounce around like a brand new pup.

Landers spent 53 days at the shelter… including Christmas!

Just like a kid on Christmas morning, Landers was ecstatic picking out a special toy to celebrate. His tail didn’t stop wagging all day.

But the best gift of all – a home – was still to come.

“I didn’t know much about Landers before I met him,” Mark remembered. “I took Landers out for a walk. It was less of a walk and more a jump for Landers, as he proceeded to spring up and down on his hind legs the entire walk, bursting with excitement. That brief walk is all I needed to know this was a solid match.”

Mark made it official and adopted Landers. But this turned out to be a classic case of who rescued who as Landers is always teaching important life lessons.

“Don’t bite porcupines, momma racoons are dangerous, deer can also chase you, snapping turtles are not rocks, and wasps don’t like when you dig up their underground nests,” laughed Mark. “Most dogs have traits most of us humans struggle to internalize. They’re loving regardless of physical attributes, happy to just be in the moment, thrive off routines, those are just some of things our four-legged friends seem to have in spades.”

Nowadays, Landers spends his holiday season playing in the snow and cuddling up at home. But he always reminds Mark to donate to help hurt and homeless pets.

“I was inspired by Landers to make a contribution to the SPCA,” shared Mark. “After completing the adoption process I realized just how much care and work goes on behind the scenes at the SPCA. It opened my eyes on how important it is to have an active SPCA, visiting countries less fortunate than our own and you’ll see a much different outcome for strays and animal treatment.”

Lander’s family made a very generous gift in a unique way… They donated securities!

“Without a doubt I’d recommend others to directly donate stocks over cash from stocks,” Mark suggested. “It’s the most tax efficient way to donate to a charitable organization such as the SPCA. If I sold a stock and donated the proceeding cash, I would be losing around 20% of the donation to taxes. However, if I donate the stock directly to the SPCA I’ll be entitled to an inclusion rate of zero on any capital gain that stock has.”

Landers sometimes scratches his head confused when Mark talks about securities. But hearing that his shelter friends could have 20% more toys and treats makes his heart happy.

“It’s best to speak to a professional about what makes sense for you,” continued Mark. “Any accountant or financial professional would be able to walk you through the steps.” Plus, the SPCA have staff to provide information and support like, Liz LeClair, the Director of Advancement.

Where Landers shared his life lessons, we asked Mark if he had any advice for animal lovers wanting to help this holiday season.

“While donating stocks or gifting assets to charitable organizations is an effective way to help a good cause… donating your time or fundraising is equally valuable,” Mark smiled. “And with adoption, slow it down and take your time finding a good match. Waiting a couple of months is nothing compared to the years you’ll be with each other.”

Happy PAWlidays!


Taylor Huestis

Taylor is the Communications & Development Officer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-mama to Bonnie and Boy. She is passionate about raising awareness and funds for local animals in need. Connect with Taylor at thuestis@spcans.ca or 902-222-0378 today.