Sandy Berube is a take-charge kind of gal!

A former CIBC corporate trainer, Sandy has found new purpose in life... and it's not in Corporate Canada boardrooms. It's in cages. Animal cages. That's why she sprang into action when she heard that this fall's Dinner and Auction for the SPCA was cancelled.

Because of reduced staffing at the animal shelter, the branch's major fundraiser was cancelled for this year. That represents a big loss to the animals. Important to note that no public funding supports the animal shelter... fundraising by the board of directors and SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) friends is critical.

Sandy, who opened her business at its Welham Rd location just over a year ago, went into high speed. She contacted members of the Small Business Networking Association, and members of her Go Venture business group. She called on associates at the Barrie Chamber and clients who bring their animals in for regular grooming.

A gal who works with Sandy went after her own crowd.

And everyone responded. Sandy's husband Sean Taulein, donned a Santa suit, and decorated a Christmas tree. Using Sandy's digital camera, Sean's laptop and Patricia McCallum's coloured printer, Sean added the photo software and message and voila! 50 pets' owners paid to have their pet's picture taken with Santa.

Sandy and her team took all the donated items and packaged them into 19 gift baskets... a hostess basket, an office basket (including an office party), the ultra man pack, the ultimate man pack, three ladies' bliss packages, a kids basket, and two pet packages. As well a cat scratch post and accessories rounded out the feline gifts.

A donated picture, a leafs jersey, Colts tickets, a Team Canada hockey jersey, and 100 square feet of flooring... a home work and rest package, a custom dog coat, and Glen Campbell tickets at Casino Rama. Donors were generous and included businesses like Hagen, Del Labs, Nissan, Massage Therapists Lisa Smith, Susan Shaw, Lee-Anne Widawski; Office Connection, Biscotti!, Integrated Woodlot Management, Staples, Dooly's, Caldwell, The Keg, Smiles & Styles, Maple Hill Montessori.

Many, many community business donations went into the baskets and people attending the event bought vouchers and applied the vouchers to the baskets. On top of this, food wholesalers donated coffee, tea and all the trimmings. And guess what? Pets were welcome, too.

Sandy's shop was chock full of pets and their owners as Saturday's coffers rang in $1765.

"When something like this happens... or doesn't happen... it's the animals and people who work at the shelter who lose," commented Sandy. "I sprang into action as soon as I found out the fundraiser was cancelled. The animals don't care if staff has left."

Good on you, Sandy, for stepping up to the plate!

And on another note...

Wildfire Dance Theatre and the Barrie B'hai Community did their own good work this week. Wildfire Dance is a group of energetic young performers with a real message. They performed in Barrie last year and the B'hai community sponsored a repeat show at Bear Creek Secondary School in November.

The community chose to make the event a win-win-win... while those who attended got a crystal clear message about the qualities of life, others benefitted too. Those who came donated cash, food and toys for Christmas Cheer.

Khorshid Lightfoot was on hand to make the presentation to Christmas Cheer this week... $400 in cash and welcome food and toys rounded out the donation.

It takes so little to look around a find a multiple benefit, especially at this time of year.

Thanks, Sandy Berube and Thee Place for Paws.
Thanks, Wildfire and the B'hai community.

You've spoken for those who can't speak for themselves.

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