Real Life PAW Patrol

By Taylor Huestis

“No job is too big, no pup is too small” is one of the many famous catchphrases from the beloved children’s cartoon, PAW Patrol.

In the show, the dogs all have special skills, and they work together to protect their community.

To most people (unless you’ve sat through 318 episodes in a row) it sounds like a fantastic – although farfetched – TV show for kids.

But with the devastating wildfires last year, it became a reality. Firefighters who worked closely with SPCA Enforcement Officers actually nicknamed the SPCA team PAW Patrol.

“The wildfire experience was one of the most memorable experiences of my career as an Animal Protection Officer,” reflected Jo-Anne Landsburg. “I cannot smell smoke outside without it bringing me back to those days. The effects will stay with me a lifetime.”

“I remember the Sunday evening driving up Hammonds Plains Road,” Jo-Anne explained. “I met a Fire supervisor at a checkpoint who needed our help. While fire personnel were keeping the fire to the woods, we entered a smoke-filled home. We removed one dog and 42 cats from that house that night.”

That was just the beginning. SPCA Enforcement Officers retrieved 183 pets through the Shelburne and Tantallon wildfires. They also visited hundreds of homes to feed and provide fresh water to farm animals.

To help families who lost their homes or were displaced, the SPCA Paws & Support Program was expanded. Pets lived with trained foster families and were reunited once their owners were in a healthy, safe space. During the wildfires, 221 pets were cared for in the SPCA Paws & Support Program.

“I experienced so many sad moments with the wildfires, but I also am incredibly proud of the SPCA team,” shared Jo-Anne. “I witnessed their compassion and true empathy towards victims of the fires and their respect for the pets who passed. Their unwavering willingness to keep going for 15-16 hours per day in scorching heat and later in the pouring rain… True professionals with an honest dedication to saving lives.”

“We built relationships with responding agencies like DNRR, RCMP, and Fire Services,” continued Jo-Anne. “They made us feel we were an important part of the first responder team fighting Nova Scotia’s largest wildfire in history.”

To thank the Firefighters for their bravery and courage, the SPCA brought foster puppies to Station 50 so they could have a de-stressor session. We also named a litter of pups that came into our care after the PAW Patrol characters.

Now, a year later, their families shared an update on their progress:


“He is totally in love with his big sister Penelope and they can always be caught playing & cuddling,” smiled Kim. “One of my favorite memories would have to be him learning to give the paw – I thought for sure his love and excitement for food would hold him back from learning to do any tricks at all. And let me tell you, the bedtime ritual includes A LOT of good night kisses – he is a super lovey boy 🙂 Here he is next to his PAW Patrol blanket and in his true role of King of the House.”


“We have so many favorite memories and love this boy dearly,” shared Bev. “The time when we introduced him to his sister and he looked up at her with the sweet blue eyes as if to say I love you. He still has the most beautiful blue eyes, and he is the sweetest most loving dog I’ve ever seen in my life. I can’t even begin to describe how much we love him. He’s grown lots and still so sweet and so loving.”


“Skye is a compact dog with a personality as big as her name,” explained Shannon. “She’s a huge daddies girl and knows the sound of his big truck pulling in. She’d follow him anywhere. Unless mom’s going to town then it’s girls’ day out! She loves shopping the thrift stores, pet stores, and anywhere else they can’t say no to her! Skye is a happy, energetic, ADORED little lady who may be small, but has filled a huge hole in my parents’ life after losing their best buddy last year to old age. They’ve got a new lease on life and she’s living like royalty.”

We are so thankful that these puppies were rescued. But as the anniversary of the wildfires approaches, we recognize and remember all the families who were impacted and the pets who were lost.

Thousands shared the nightmare of fleeing for safety. They expected the worst. Sadly, for many loving families, they were right.

As the memories roll in and we face another wildfire season, we hope there will be a restored sense of safety for you. We hope that you feel the love from your community. And we hope you know we are always here for you.

Just like the PAW Patrol crew says, “We never give up, that’s the PAW Patrol way!”

Taylor Huestis

Taylor is the Communications & Development Officer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and a proud Highland Park resident. She is an adoptive fur-parent to two cats named Bonnie and Boy (yep - that is his real name) and a palliative pup named Hazel. Connect with Taylor at or 902-222-0378 today.