For the Pets and the Community: 50/50 Winner Story

By Paula Nalbaru

The Nova Scotia SPCA started doing 50/50 raffles when we still had to make the weekly trip to get printed tickets, do a manual draw, and then shred them all. One by one.

Then Rafflebox moved online. Now, we can click a button to randomly select the winner, saving gas money and precious time. We call the winners giving them the fantastic news. There’s surprise, laughter, tears, and the occasional “Is this a prank” question. All just as lovely, making our day as much as we make theirs.

Tammy Quilty is one of the people we had the pleasure to call to give her the news. And we did that not once, not twice, but three times. Each call a better one than the other as the jackpot got higher with each win.

“I got the call expecting a few thousand dollars like before, but the last one was $11,000. I couldn’t believe it,” she says.

Tammy has been buying tickets in our 50/50 raffle since the pandemic. She won twice at the end of 2022 and again in December 2023. She tells us how she started playing, “I saw it one day online and just played. I won once, and I never win anything. And I just kept doing it. I love animals, I already spent money buying things for your organization so this way you can put the money toward what is fully needed. I continued to play because I see where it goes. I see that it goes into the community, I see that it goes into the animals, but I also just see from my previous adoptions to the animals I have now, that animals need help, and I feel like they are often forgotten in communities. I think it is important that they get just as much care.”

Tammy is no stranger to animals. She has been surrounded by them since she was a kid, her house always knowing the sound of a meow, a bark, and toe beans on the floor during zoomies. She has been a supporter of the Nova Scotia SPCA for years, and she has seen firsthand what we do for animals and families. She knows it as a social worker who leaned on us on behalf of her clients. She knows it as an animal lover and past adopter.

It started with Cole, Kiwi, and Marley. All in her life for decades, siblings who decided to join each other across the rainbow bridge close to one another. Losing her three fur babies within a month of each other was heartbreaking. But that was when Tammy decided her home could never be pet-free again. And she kept that promise as right now Tammy’s home is run by four cats and two dogs.

Out of her four-legged friends, two were adopted from our Nova Scotia SPCA Dartmouth Animal Shelter. “Cole, he was my all-grey kitty and Kiwi, our black one. I didn’t know much about Cole’s story. But Kiwi was found in a garbage can, I will always remember that. I went in to search for a cat, and I thought I wanted a white, fluffy cat. And I saw this tiny black kitty with little yellow eyes and the person working there told me ‘You know, she’s had a rough go, they found her in a garbage can with other kittens,’ and I was just, okay done, I’ll take her. She needs some love,” Tammy remembers.

And a lot of love they received. Kiwi was a lovely lady, full of sass and personality her entire 18 years. She loved people on her own terms. Her favourite place to be was on top of the cat house, watching the outside world. Her brother Cole couldn’t have been more different. He graced the world with his feistiness for only seven years as he fell ill. But he lived those years to the fullest, mischievous until the end, making sure to get into places he wasn’t supposed to and keeping his fur mom on her toes.

Even though Cole and Kiwi were adopted before our raffle was even an idea, the NS SPCA 50/50 is here to help the pets that come into our care, as strays, surrenders, enforcement cases. Pets like Cole and Kiwi, with different stories but in need of just as much care and love. Waiting for their Tammy to offer them the perfect home.

By playing our weekly 50/50 raffle, you are helping our furry friends until they find their people, but also helping our community. And who knows? You might be the next one whose phone will ring on a Thursday morning.

Paula Nalbaru

Paula Nalbaru is the Philanthropy Communications Coordinator with the Nova Scotia SPCA in Dartmouth. She’s a proud fur-parent and referee between her dog, Summer, and cat, Marshmallow.