Today I dedicate and write this blog about a very special person who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for close to 10 years now. If you follow the Poooh Busters Facebook fan page and read it every now and then, I’m sure you will have seen the name Melaina Slater. She is a loyal follower and supporter of all things Poooh Busters. She even helped us hand out flyers at our booth the very first time we attended the Calgary Pet Expo in 2006.
I met Melaina a long time ago through Mrs. Big Nate. They used to work together in the insurance industry and we have been lucky enough to stay friends with Melaina and her very, very understanding fiancée’, Patrick. I say understanding for a very good reason which you will see. Pat loves animals too but he certainly must love Melaina even more to support her in her passion for helping animals.
I’m featuring Melaina in this blog because she actually practices what all animals lovers believe, helping those pets less fortunate and in need of love and care. Many of us say how much we love dogs and cats and birds and rodents and reptiles. She truly shows it through her actions. Most of us have been to the Calgary Humane Society (CHS) and consider adopting a new pet. We look at the all poor animals waiting for homes and we can’t help feeling sad or angry. I know I sure do! We tend to say things like, “I would love to help these animals by volunteering but I just can’t do it! I can’t take the emotions I feel. I get too angry or I would spend the whole time crying for them”. That’s all well and good but it still doesn’t help these poor creatures! People like Melaina who love animals as much as any of us, overcomes these emotions and does what is right! Regardless of how angry or sad she gets, she faces it and puts all of herself into actually making a difference for many of Calgary’s most unfortunates.
Melaina’s interest in animal welfare began when she adopted her first rescue, a dog she and Patrick named Jerome (named after Jerome Iginla). This was back in 2005. She then saw an opportunity to help further by volunteering for the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) as an adoption screener. From there Melaina’s love for pets was so great she left her career in insurance and focused on the pet industry. She secured a job with Hill's Pet Nutrition where she would represent the company at various pet stores. Melaina felt this path just wasn’t fulfilling enough. Eventually she ended up at the Calgary Humane Society in 2006. It was here that she found her niche and felt like she was starting to make a difference. It was also where she started to rescue and foster many animals in need. This is part where she is glad her fiancée is such an understanding and loving person.
At CHS her official title is Operations Administrator but Melaina also did Emergency On-call for the Protection Department for about three years. It was here where Mrs. Nate and I would hear some very sad and also very maddening stories about what really happens to many pets in Calgary. We would get so angry hearing about some of the very nasty things that people do to such innocent and helpless creatures. To this day we still hear about all the bogus reasons why people surrender their animals to CHS. Sometimes, people even believe they are helping the CHS by giving them their pets! Can you believe that? They actually think that by giving up their dog or cat, they are providing a source of income to the shelter! Never mind the cost for housing, feeding, vet care and the cost of paying the employee to process each and every pet that comes and goes. Let’s not forget about what happens to most unfortunate ones that never get adopted… (starting to get angry again).
Since 2005 Melaina has adopted/rescued three dogs (Jerome, Taylor and Jasmine), two cats (Harley and Petra), and four birds (Chuck, Milo, Eddie and Joey). Her house is quite full and her life is full as well. She spends time cleaning cages, kitty litter boxes, scooping poop and tending to the welfare of her entire extended family of dogs, cats and birds. On top of all that she has even managed to foster five more birds and a puppy!
About a year ago Melaina became acquainted with Anna from Birdline Parrot Rescue where again she sacrifices much her very limited free time to volunteer for this organization. Poooh Busters recently sponsored a fundraising event for Birdline where they raised over $1600 in much needed funding. Congrats to Birdline on their success!
Melaina found that she has a special place in her heart for parrots. Recently she has been spending a lot of time and money at the vet getting her Goffin’s Cockatoo, Joey nursed back to health. Parrots are a funny creature who tend to self mutilate due to their lack of ability to adjust to being confined.
Of course Melaina isn’t the only person who gives and gives, there are many folks out there just like her who sacrifice so much to provide all creatures, great and small a fighting chance. I am always amazed at how many rescue foundations there are in Calgary and the surrounding areas. They all need our help. So if you can, pick even just one and help them out either financially or by sparing some of your precious time.
What more can I say about Ms. Slater? She is truly a saint to Calgary’s pet adoption and rescue effort. Her passion and giving nature is truly awe inspiring and if everyone was like Melaina, this world of pets would a much better place!
Melaina, please accept a small token of appreciation from the Poooh Busters team. We want to provide you and Patrick with 12 weeks of pooper scooper service at no charge. It isn’t much compared to what you do for the cause but we hope it helps even if just a little.