Nicole H. (above right) is one of our fearless leaders at SafePet Ontario, and she helped to found our predecessor Link Coalition Toronto in 2017. Nic is in charge of financial management and foster screening at SPO-- two huge tasks! Read below to learn more about what motivates and inspires her: How did you become interested in "the link" and pet-safekeeping? I first heard of Link Coalition Toronto & SafePet from an old friend of mine, who is also one of the co-founders [Yvonne, above middle]. She approached me one day and asked "Hey, how would you like to be part of ... " and here we are 6 years later! I've always had a soft spot for animals and as I survivor, I can relate to how hard it is to leave a situation. Yvonne and I often joke about our 10 year plan of buying land and rescuing 1000 animals. Not sure if this will happen but SafePet is a good place to start! [Note from Hayley: I fully support that plan... count me in!!!] What was the process of co-founding Link / SPO like for you? Highlights? It was a lot of learning for me, in so many ways. Navigating through starting a non-profit and then charity, understanding the vision / mission, building key relationships, and learning about the many "links" of abuse was so eye-opening. Through all this, I have crossed paths with so many amazing people; my fellow co-founders, the fosters, and volunteers. They dedicate their time, resources, and heart without expecting anything in return. It's truly outstanding. Do you have pets? We had a full house - 4 kids, 2 dogs. Now we are down to 1 dog and 3 kids as my oldest moved out West with her German Shepherd. What are you most proud of about our organization? Seeing how far we have come since we launched in 2017. Yvonne, Hayley, and I have full time jobs and personal responsibilities outside of SPO. We want to be able to impact as many lives as we can through SafePet. Trying to balance jobs and SafePet was challenging and took a toll at times, especially when we had limited resources to help. I am super proud that we weathered through those years and came out standing... and standing across Ontario to boot! What would you most like people to know about our work / mission? That we are here and there is hope. I know, that sounds so cliche, but as a survivor, knowing that I could have a better future for myself and family and that there are people out there who care about us. That gave me the motivation to look forward and move ahead beyond my past. Is there a "call to action" you'd like to send out to our supporters? When I chat with the fosters through the application process I try to convey how important they are to us, the survivors / clients, and their pets. They are the heart of the program and we cannot save lives without them. If anyone is able to foster, please reach out and spread the word!
Thank you for helping to keep SPO going, Nic! We couldn't do it without you xoxo.