For the love of animals

Barbara
Barbara Dean-Simmons
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A feline resident of the Clarenville SPCA admires Anne Marie Brown's IFAW Animal Hero Award. Photo bt Barbara Dean Simmons/The Packet

Anne Marie Brown doesn't count the number of hours she spends working at the animal shelter, tending to, caring for and finding homes for unwanted animals.

"It's just my life," says the unassuming volunteer.

However, others have noticed her dedication, and last week Brown was presented with an award for her dedication to animals.

Olivier Bonnett, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Canada, was in Shoal Harbour to present her with IFAW's Animal Action Award.

"The vital service provided by the Clarenville Area SPCA could not be possible without extraordinary individuals like Anne Marie," says Bonnet. "IFAW is delighted to award Anne Marie with the 2007 Animal Welfare Volunteer award for her passion and dedication, which has saved the lives of so many animals."

Brown, who has been working at the shelter for about 15 years, was nominated by fellow SPCA volunteer Jewel Pelley.

Pelley says Brown "goes over and above for each and every animal that crosses our shelter's doorstep."

Brown's desire to help animals extends beyond the jurisdiction of the Clarenville shelter.

"It doesn't matter that an animal is not within our jurisdiction, Anne Marie will always work to find accommodations, even when there is 'no room at the inn.'"

In fact, the day of the award, one of Brown's rescued animals shared the spotlight for the official photograph.

Shelby, a 10-month-old mixed-breed dog, came to the shelter from St. John's, suffering from kidney failure.

Thanks to her many contacts across the province and beyond, Brown was able to find a home for the dog with a family in Ottawa, ensuring Shelby has a comfortable life for as long as she lives.

Another dog was undergoing surgery the same day, thanks to Brown's efforts to raise the $300 necessary for the operation. That animal is also awaiting placement in a home.

In past years, animals like Shelby might have been euthanized.

However, Brown believes animals who have a chance at a good life with medical treatment, should be given a chance.

Pelley says the shelter's statistics on euthanasia are proof that Brown's efforts are making a difference.

"In the past five years, the euthanasia statistics are remarkable for a SPCA shelter. In 2006, 446 entered our shelter and only 97 were euthanized."

Last year, 201 dogs entered the shelter and only one had to be euthanized. And of the 281 cats who crossed the threshold, only 80 had to be put down.

Brown is modest about the award. She says she doesn't do this work expecting to be in the spotlight.

With 12 cats, two rabbits, a chinchilla and two dogs of her own - many of which were adopted from the shelter - it's hard to imagine how Brown manages to devote any volunteer hours to the SPCA while caring for her own menagerie and holding down a full-time job.

"My passion is animals," she says. "I'll keep on doing this work for as long as I can do it."

Organizations: IFAW, Brown's, International Fund for Animal Welfare Clarenville Area SPCA

Geographic location: Canada, Shoal Harbour, Clarenville St. John's Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • john
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Anne, thanks for all your work. Your story is very inspirational! I wish you the best of luck.

  • DIANE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Anne Marie Brown: Thank you for all your hard work with animals in this province. I commend you for your wonderful giving and caring attitude.
    We and our animal friends are lucky to have people like you working in our province.

    I have had two cats that were strays and one I adopted from the local SPCA. I also adopted a dog from the local Heavenly Creatures.

    No one knows how much love people like yourself put into the work of helping abandoned, abused and neglected animals. You deserve the best that life has to offer. A plaque for your volunteer work is nice but it does not tell the whole story.

    Keep up the good work and good luck in the new year.

    DIANE RYAN
    ST.JOHN'S, NL
    726-0852

  • stu
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    As an animal lover, I bow my head to you. You are the reason why this world is a good place to live. You are a hero, you are loved by not just animals that you help but all the rest of people like us. God bless you.

  • BONNIE
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I ADMIRE YOUR DEDICATION TO THE ANIMALS, AND I AM SURE THEY APPRECIATE YOU AND LOVE YOU, YOU ARE DOING SUCH A GOOD THING, AND MORE OF THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE DOING THE SAME.
    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

  • john
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Anne, thanks for all your work. Your story is very inspirational! I wish you the best of luck.

  • DIANE
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    Anne Marie Brown: Thank you for all your hard work with animals in this province. I commend you for your wonderful giving and caring attitude.
    We and our animal friends are lucky to have people like you working in our province.

    I have had two cats that were strays and one I adopted from the local SPCA. I also adopted a dog from the local Heavenly Creatures.

    No one knows how much love people like yourself put into the work of helping abandoned, abused and neglected animals. You deserve the best that life has to offer. A plaque for your volunteer work is nice but it does not tell the whole story.

    Keep up the good work and good luck in the new year.

    DIANE RYAN
    ST.JOHN'S, NL
    726-0852

  • stu
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    As an animal lover, I bow my head to you. You are the reason why this world is a good place to live. You are a hero, you are loved by not just animals that you help but all the rest of people like us. God bless you.

  • BONNIE
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    I ADMIRE YOUR DEDICATION TO THE ANIMALS, AND I AM SURE THEY APPRECIATE YOU AND LOVE YOU, YOU ARE DOING SUCH A GOOD THING, AND MORE OF THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE DOING THE SAME.
    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.