Clean, clipped and happy!

Chopper is one happy, good-looking dog after some help from a very caring person

(Watch Global TV’s story on Chopper here.)


It’s not something that VHS would normally do, but when we were approached by a Good Samaritan asking us to help out with a dog who needed grooming, we made an exception.

The dog in question is Chopper, who belongs to Bill, a man down on his luck and without the resources to pay for a long overdue grooming for Chopper. Bill can be seen most days sitting on the sidewalk in front of Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver, with a cupful of loose change from a few generous passersby. He and Chopper are a popular fixture at the station, known to local businesses and watched over by friendly police.

Bill and Chopper

The caring person who contacted VHS had engaged Bill in conversation and, with his agreement, set in motion a plan that eventually involved the Aussie Pet Mobile grooming service, the Vancouver Police Department, Global Television and VHS. In addition to her co-ordinating efforts, she also also brought Bill food (including his favourite: mashed potatoes). VHS agreed to cover the cost of the grooming. On May 8, everything came together and Global TV’s Mike McCardell covered Chopper’s big day. After nearly two hours of grooming, Chopper emerged a new dog, looking and obviously feeling great. Bill was over the moon to see his pal clean, clipped and happy.

VHS usually restricts funding help to animals in emergency medical need, but we were so impressed that one individual (who wishes to remain anonymous) would take the time to befriend and help someone like Bill and his best friend Chopper, that we decided we had to help.
As it turns out, the generous people at Aussie Pet Mobile have decided to make a substantial donation to VHS, so everyone has come out ahead!

News/Blog Uncategorized

A cautionary tale

Miley was very ill with parvovirus

Miley, a ten-week-old puppy, was sold to a family at the Abbotsford Flea Market by a breeder who had lied about her health. The family was told Miley had been vaccinated and was in perfect condition, but when the family took her home she fell gravely ill only a few days later.

Miley was rushed to the vet, where she was diagnosed with parvovirus, a sickness that can be fatal to puppies. The family did not have the means to pay for the costly treatment so they called VHS for help. We are happy to report that Miley sailed through her treatment without a problem and is now in perfect health. She is now a happy and active little puppy with a loving forever home.


VHS does its best to help sick and injured animals though our McVitie Fund, which is used to help with emergency veterinary care, but the demand for help always exceeds our resources. (Donations to the McVitie Fund are currently being doubled in value, thanks to a challenge grant.)

While Miley’s story had a happy ending, it illustrates the dangers of buying dogs, especially when there are homeless dogs languishing in shelters. For information on our ‘Adopt, don’t buy’ campaign click here.

News/Blog Uncategorized

Gosha needed help and we were there

Gosha lost his sight in one eye and needs medicine for allergies and a chronic a chronic eye condition. Photo credit: Cynthia Mollison


by Debra Probert, VHS Executive Director

Gosha, a handsome ginger with white markings, was rescued as a tiny kitten in Jerusalem, where homeless cats number in the tens of thousands. Gosha’s guardian had moved there from Canada and was appalled at the sheer numbers and the terrible condition of Israel’s ‘street cats’.

It was shocking to learn how the cats must forage for food in dumpsters, and are often considered, and treated like, vermin. As I look around at my five rescued cats, dozing peacefully, I can’t imagine them living in the streets and eating garbage every day.

Gosha was pulled from under a bus; a dirty, pathetic little ragamuffin who barely resembled a kitten. When found, both of his eyes were swollen shut; scarred, misshapen and sightless. After massive doses of antibiotics and hours of veterinary care, he was turned over to his new guardian, who was told to isolate him for 10 days. That 10 days changed her life, as she found Gosha was, in her words, “so incredibly cute, smart and brave, and so appreciative.”

When Gosha’s guardian found herself back in Canada and out of work, she was unable to pay for food and medication for this little guy, who has survived so much. He only sees out of one eye and has a chronic eye condition and allergies, requiring medications each day. But with his meds, he’s healthy and happy.

Gosha was rescued as a kitten in Israel.

Everyone needs a little help now and then, and that’s why VHS here – to offer a helping hand that will enable beloved companion animals to stay in their homes, rather than be turned over to a shelter, or worse, for the lack of a few dollars. In fact, our McVitie Fund was established by one of our supporters in memory of a special ginger boy named McVitie. When McVitie became ill, his guardian couldn’t help but think about what it would be like if he couldn’t look after him. He wanted to ensure that others would get the help they needed for their animal friends in an emergency.

My five cats are all rescued and all have medical issues. One of them, Nat, is curled up on my lap as I write. He keeps nudging my elbow so that I’ll stop and stroke him. He gazes up at me with unconditional love and trust. I can’t imagine what I would do if I found myself without the means to buy his food and medicine. Will you help bolster our fund by donating today?

Gosha, safe and happy at home. Photo: Cynthia Mollison

Our emergency help program is only one of many ways we help animals. Elsewhere on our website, you can learn about our work for animals abused at the Calgary Stampede, for egg laying hens and for captive and performng animals. We’ve been tremendously successful in changing attitudes about the treatment of animals.

Because of your support, VHS has grown into a force to be reckoned with, because we speak for you, and you care deeply about what happens to animals. Please help us continue to be there for animals who so desperately need our help.

News/Blog Uncategorized

Bill the caring cat

Bill is a great help to others but this time he needed help

All cats are special in their own ways, but there’s one feline VHS came across who’s putting his exceptional qualities to good use.

His name is Bill and he belongs to the Chrysalis Society, a Vancouver non-profit helping women recover from substance abuse.  Chrysalis contacted VHS because Bill had a painful fractured tooth that needed extracting and the society was strapped for funds to pay the vet costs.

In talking to the people at Chrysalis we discovered that Bill plays an important role in the lives of the women the society supports.  He lives in one of the Chrysalis houses, where up to nine women are accommodated and where Bill has quite a therapeutic effect on the clients. Rayma Hagan, a housing manager at Chrysalis, told us about Bill’s role since he arrived six years ago:

“Bill quickly demonstrated that he was a working cat with an intuition that enabled him to connect at a heart level with each woman that he came in contact with.  He spends extra time with women when he senses their pain.”

And Rayma says Bill’s job is not without its perks: “Some of Bill’s favourite pastimes are going for rides in the car, greeting the neighbours, hanging out/snuggling with the women.  He does love to sit on your shoulder, especially at Christmas while setting up the tree, or while riding slowly on your bike down the lane way. Bill is a pleasure to have around. Everyone loves him!”

Bill’s tooth extraction went well and he’s back on the job.  We’re always pleased when we can ensure an animal gets the care he or she needs, but it was especially gratifying to help one who does a lot of caring himself!