By Jenn Watt
For more than two decades the Great Haliburton Feed Company has been taking in stray animals giving them shelter and finding them new families placing thousands of pets in loving homes.
It was how Haliburton cottagers and TV hosts Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan first met Maureen Adams and her husband Charles McAleaney.
“We used to go in there and look at all the cats … and then eventually we got our own beautiful cat lovely Beamer and then we got his brother [Brutus Small]. Both were rescues. If it hadn’t been for the incredible work they do there we wouldn’t have our two boys” said McAllister on Friday afternoon.
When they found out that Adams was closing the doors to her pet supply shop and animal shelter for good McAllister and Ryan decided to launch a GoFundMe page to ease her into retirement.
“Maureen had worked so hard for two and a half decades and was kind of forced into retirement. She couldn’t find a buyer for the business” said Ryan.
The feed company has relocated several times in the last few years first after a fire and then again when the space they were renting was no longer available. Then in January McAleaney died unexpectedly.
“We felt that she needed a golden handshake. She needed a thank you from the Haliburton community for all the help she’s given. We did it on behalf of all the owners who find pets from the Haliburton feed store and indeed on behalf of all the pets” Ryan said.
One week after launching their GoFundMe campaign more than $11800 has been raised.
Adams said people have been keeping her up to date on how much has come in but she hasn’t been checking it.
“I just found the whole thing sort of overwhelming” she said on Friday as she packed up the remaining items from her store. “I’m really grateful and it will certainly help me quite a bit.”
She said she’s been focused on the closing date – Sept. 27 – and hadn’t thought much beyond that point.
Online some of the people donating to the campaign have also taken the time to thank Adams for the work she’s done and to post pictures of the pets they picked up from The Great Haliburton Feed Company.
“We donated because we have dealt with Maureen and Charles for years and after my wife and I got married we got our first puppy – Brandy – from them. They provide a great service to the community with all the lost and deserted animals they have taken in and found homes for!” one person commented.
“We have two cats from HFC and they are so precious! Maureen and Charles helped so many animals and people!” another wrote.
The sheer number of animals that have been rescued by the feed company indicates there’s a need in the community McAllister and Ryan said.
“That’s the concern now” Ryan said. “There are two issues here: one is that Maureen needs a loving leg up at this point in her early retirement. The other is that there are all these animals now that won’t have the care. Fortunately she rehomed every single animal. … Going forward there will be cats multiplying in the wild and creating a bigger problem because people like Maureen are no longer there.”
The campaign to raise money for Adams’s retirement will continue at https://www.gofundme.com/f/animal-saviour-desperately-needs-your-help until Friday Oct. 4.
“We’re blown away by the fact that it’s less than a week later … and we’re over $11000” said McAllister. “Isn’t it amazing when people come together and give a little. It doesn’t take a lot to make a huge difference.”