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Dogs gather in Bedford to help Shelter Nova Scotia

Dog Days fundraiser part of ongoing efforts to help the non-profit raise $160,000 by March to keep programs running

4 min read
caption Dogs came to lend a paw for Shelter Nova Scotia at the "Dog Days" fundraiser, which was organized by Bed Bug Detectives.
Andrea McGuire

Shelter Nova Scotia needs to raise almost $140,000 by the end of March to keep all their programs and services running — and they’re getting closer with a little help from some furry friends.

Linda Wilson, executive director of Shelter Nova Scotia, said the non-profit needs to fundraise $300,000 throughout their 2019/2020 calendar year, which ends March 31.

She said their organization typically receives at least 40 per cent of its fundraising goal over the holiday season. But this year, they came up short.

“It’s competitive, sadly,” Wilson said. “And people were extremely generous with us this year, but we didn’t get as much as we had hoped.”

caption Linda Wilson is the executive director of Shelter Nova Scotia.
Andrea McGuire

Shelter Nova Scotia serves about 1,300 people a year who experience homelessness or other kinds of housing instability in HRM. It operates six facilities, including two emergency shelters.

Although Shelter Nova Scotia receives some government funding, it also relies on donations. All funds are used for the non-profit’s daily operations.

“So that means to pay the light bill, to pay the phone bill, to buy supplies and things like that,” explains Wilson.

Wilson said no facilities will close if they don’t reach their fundraising goal, but they might have to pull back some services.

It’s the leashed they can do

Dozens of dogs and their humans attended a fundraiser in Bedford’s DeWolf Park on Saturday to grab some treats, get some pictures taken, and share a sloppy greeting at a canine kissing booth.

caption Dogs got bundled up to raise money for Shelter Nova Scotia.
Andrea McGuire

A company called Bed Bug Detectives held the Dog Days fundraiser over the weekend. Why dogs? The pest control business is full of animal lovers, explained managing director Brett Newcombe. Plus, a team of six trained dogs are their primary investigators when it comes to pinpointing bedbugs.

Newcombe said Bed Bug Detectives is celebrating 10 years in business, and they tossed around a few ideas for marking their anniversary. But this one came “top of our mind,” he said.

“We do work with Shelter Nova Scotia, and we take pride in helping our community,” Newcombe said. “So we thought it’s for someone that’s in need, and someone that could benefit from some extra donations.”

Shelter Nova Scotia has had major problems with bed bugs in the past. Wilson said this was partly because people kept donating bedbug-infested items to their organization. In fact, Shelter Nova Scotia was Bed Bug Detective’s very first customer 10 years ago.

“In the beginning we were probably their biggest customer because we’re such a big organization, and people were dumping their dirty donations on us,” said Wilson.

In 2017, Shelter Nova Scotia stopped accepting donations of used clothing and furniture. They’ve also begun monthly checks with the dogs from Bed Bug Detectives.

“We now rarely have a bedbug,” Wilson said.

She added that third-party, independent fundraisers like Dog Days are a big help for Shelter Nova Scotia.

Along with monetary donations, the non-profit is also looking for household items like toothpaste, shampoo, and reusable water bottles. A detailed list can be found here.

While Wilson certainly stresses the financial needs of Shelter Nova Scotia, she said she equally wishes for people to be kind, thoughtful, and avoid blaming anyone experiencing homelessness.

“I’m often amazed by assumptions that are made about people who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.

“Sometimes I think people think they just fell out of the sky. And you know, they are somebody’s son, daughter, father, uncle, cousin. Friend. And for the most part, they’ve just fallen on tough times.”

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About the author

Andrea McGuire

Andrea McGuire is a journalism student from Newfoundland. Before coming to King's College, she completed a master's degree in folklore at Memorial...

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