Earlier this year, Landmark Forum graduate Daniel Kelly organized a Silent Art Auction event “hART for P.A.W.S. ” (Pozitive Awareness with Shelter), to raise awareness and much needed funds for Casey House and Second Chance Wildlife Sanctuary. Joyce Smith, the owner and President of the Sanctuary, turned 79 on the evening of the event, running the sanctuary on an operating budget from the kindness of donations received from individuals, company’s and her own retirement funds. Smith, who was previously featured in articles by The Toronto Star and The Toronto Sun, was described by Kelly as “basically Mother Theresa to the animals.”
The event was held at Harmony Hall, in Toronto. There was a musical performance in between the Silent Art Auction, with Makeda Taylor performing How Precious Life Is, Living on Borrowed Time, and In Your Honor. Kelly arranged for 22 local artists, including himself, to commit to donating a piece of art, which was exhibited and auctioned off.
Funds raised were split between Smith’s Sanctuary and Casey House Hospice, a world-renowned facility founded in 1988. Volunteers inspired by their experience providing palliative care to a friend with cancer rallied in the mid 80’s with Toronto activist/writer June Callwood to build a place of care and compassion to meet the needs of people affected by HIV/AIDS.
Sadly, Smith passed away a few months after the fundraiser. The Toronto Star wrote about the efforts of Kelly and other volunteers to find homes for all her animals at the sanctuary.
“Her whole life was about saving them,” [said Kelly] . “Her dream was to have a piece of land she could leave to the animals so they’d have a permanent home.”
Smith, who could never say no to a creature in distress, used up her savings on pet care. She relied on donations, adoption fees and fundraisers to pay an average $8,000 a month for vet bills, food, supplies and salaries for two part-time workers. A handful of volunteers help run the sanctuary she founded a dozen years ago.
Unsure how much longer the 10-hectare farm’s owner will let them use the property, Kelly says they’re hoping to find homes for all the animals, including hard-to-place cats like Raspberry, Hope and Tower.
“Joyce would never want any of her animals to go to a place where they’d be put down,” says Kelly, an east Toronto resident who began helping out three years ago. “When someone’s as passionate as she was, you don’t just walk away from them.”
Her helpers are trying to keep the sanctuary going but need funds, more volunteers, and adoptive homes for the spayed and neutered inhabitants, Healey says. They can be contacted through the website, www.second-chance.ws, or by phone at 905-649-8282.