The highways are clear and we make good time. We cross the Ontario Quebec border at around 4:30 and into Valleyfield just as it's getting dark. The GPS tells us to do a U-turn which seems odd at first but we discover later that this is pretty standard driving procedure for the area. We see the painted sign, big blue letters on a plain white background: SPCA Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. We pull into the lot. From the outside, the building looks like a non-descript mid-sized warehouse.
Pierre's been running this place for several months now. The animals are his life. It was originally set up by a group of three people who quickly realized they got in over their heads. And before them, local pound services were provided by a pet store owner who sold, bred, killed the dogs in no particular order. Whatever he did, he made money so it didn't much matter.
So, the SPCA is way better than it was. Pierre started out as a volunteer, doing handyman chores around the place under the original three. He got more involved, started spending more time there. Eventually, when it became obvious the place was getting out of control, Pierre offered to take it over and to his surprise, they agreed.
He tells us a lot more work still needs to be done on the place. The dog kennels are still rough but at least the dogs are no longer chained to the walls. The cats, though still too many of them, are well-fed, clean. There's heat in the place. The city is helping out now with supplies, money. Partnerships with other rescues are starting up. That's why we're here.
Chip and Charlie
We'll be bringing Chip and Charlie, two brothers, 70 pound mutts, with us back to the Toronto Humane Society. They're uncivilized but they're happy, friendly with everything dogs. And they've got great cage presentation. They sit pretty, watching us calmly but with interest. They will be coming with us when we leave on Sunday but there are others there. A wonderful young black Lab with hip dysplasia who has been there for months. An older Lab mix who has tired eyes. Younger dogs full of life and hope. And all these other dogs we will be leaving behind because there are other shelters we will be visiting and other dogs we will be taking back with us. And more dogs we will be leaving behind.