A Forever Kind of Love

By Christa Jensen

Even though they weren’t Corgis, Lila’s beloved dogs were still royalty in her eyes. Much like the queen, she treated them to a life of luxury, complete with spa days, the very best doggy fashions, and jewel encrusted collars. She even bestowed her pups regal names, Prince, Princess, and Princeena.

Lila’s friends joked that they wanted to be adopted by her to receive the royal treatment too. But the truth is, it wasn’t just her own dogs that Lila doted on. Lila believed that all pets were precious gifts and should be treated accordingly. That’s why, whenever an animal was in need, Lila was first in line to help.

Her companion, Dave Crowe, recounts the time that Lila was living in Florida and spied a dog that appeared to be in trouble down an embankment,

“She stopped the car on the turn pike, threw off her high heels and down she went. It happened to be a greyhound, one of the fastest dogs in the world, but there was no stopping Lila when a dog needed help! She somehow managed to get him up into the car and to a shelter.”

Lila put her whole heart into everything, especially when it came to animals. And it was that love and fierce determination that established the Colchester SPCA nearly 30 years ago.

Back then, the Truro branch consisted of a small group of volunteers set up in a backyard shed. Space was limited but their dream was big – to build a proper shelter so that they could help even more animals. When Lila learned about the vision, she immediately rolled up her sleeves and got to work.

Over the next 8 years, Lila found every opportunity to tell others about the project. Rain or shine, she never missed a fundraising event, participating in raffles, yard sales, barbecues, Christmas sales, bowlathons, park festivals, and more. Through her passion and sales background, Lila built strong connections and raised thousands of dollars for the SPCA.

Thanks to the incredible efforts of the small but mighty group, their labour of love became a reality in 2002 when the long-awaited Colchester SPCA animal shelter opened. Remembering their time together, fellow volunteers Leah McDonald and Colleen Nelson said,

“Lila was definitely one of a kind! She had a great sense of humour and a heart of gold. She didn’t take no for an answer and that’s why she was able to achieve so much for the SPCA. When Lila spoke, people listened. She used this power to stand up for what she believed in. We were very lucky to have her on our team.”

After working tirelessly for so long, one might think about taking a well-deserved break. Not for Lila! Opening the shelter only fueled her flame even more. Lila took great pride in the new location and would visit often to make sure that the animals and staff had everything they needed, including thoughtful treats to boost everyone’s spirits. If something needed tending to, Lila made sure that it was handled without delay.

Right up until the age of 85, Lila could be found freshening up the garden and dropping by with goodies. Lila supported the SPCA for nearly three decades as one of the longest serving volunteers. But even after committing her entire life to helping animals, Lila still wished to do more. She wanted her love to last forever.

Inspired by the generosity she received from others all those years ago, Lila made a thoughtful gift to the SPCA through her estate as her final act of love. Lila’s memory now lives on through every pet that is cared for at the Colchester SPCA.

Lila is a true guardian angel, and her legacy will always be cherished by the staff, volunteers and animals she loved so much.

If you would like to become a guardian angel for animals, just like Lila, click here to learn about making a charitable gift in your will.

Christa Jensen

Christa is the Director of Legacy and Leadership Giving with the Nova Scotia SPCA. As a busy mom of two, Christa understands the importance of planning ahead for the future. She enjoys helping fellow animal lovers make a lasting impact on pets and families in need. Connect with Christa at 902-449-8513 or cjensen@spcans.ca