N.S. WOMAN HELPING PET OWNERS ACROSS CANADA FIND A ‘SECOND FOREVER HOME’ FOR THEIR CATS AND DOGS

Source: Saltwire (Extract)
Posted: May 21, 2021

Angela Rafuse didn’t imagine she’d ever get so close to an old calico cat named Mackenzie. 

In fact, she said she and the cat didn’t really get along. 

But after her grandfather passed away in January 2020, Rafuse stepped in and wholeheartedly took care of his beloved feline. 

It happened to be around the same time Rafuse moved back to Halifax from Toronto for her job, she said, so in a way, it felt like the stars had aligned. 

“It was a rough transition. Mackenzie is a grumpy, larger-than-life personality kind of animal, so she’s never liked me,” Rafuse told The Chronicle Herald. 

“But eventually, when I stopped seeing her as just a grumpy cat that didn’t like anybody and just more like a misunderstood animal, that’s when we really started to get along and be friends.” 

Today, Rafuse said she and Mackenzie, who is now 15 years old, go for walks together, kayaking and to the beach every night. 

And despite a scratch here and there, Rafuse said the two are “the best of friends.” 

‘The need is so very real’ 

After sharing the story of how she came to own Mackenzie, Rafuse said it dawned on her that not everyone is fortunate enough to have someone to take care of their pet in unforeseen circumstances like her grandfather did. 

“So many seniors worry about what will happen to their animals, especially when they move into a retirement home, or heaven forbid, pass away,” she said.  

Realizing “the need is so very real,” Rafuse decided to launch a non-profit called My Grandfather’s Cat to help cat and dog owners who find themselves in such predicaments.

New online service finds pets a ‘second forever home’ 

At mygrandfatherscat.ca, seniors and families can make a profile for their pets for interested adopters to view. Rafuse said volunteers will then reach out through the online service and help them find a “second forever home” for their beloved companions.   

According to Rafuse, when individuals or families are interested in adopting a pet, they will be vetted by volunteers and herself to “make sure they’re the right home.” 

After that, they’ll send the applications to the pet owner “to make the final decision” and eventually arrangements will be made for the pet to move in with their new owner or owners. 

Although My Grandfather’s Cat was designed to help seniors out specifically, Rafuse said it will help anyone in Canada that’s making a life change or can no longer take care of a pet. 

“We are a service that’s available for everyone, not just seniors. If for any reason, you can’t keep your animal, say you move into a home or you have children that the animal just doesn’t get along with, you can rehome your animal through My Grandfather’s Cat as well,” she added.  

‘It blew up’: Non-profit gains international attention 

Rafuse said her initial plan was to launch the non-profit in the Maritimes, but when she went to incorporate the business, she decided she wanted to reach more people by opening it up to all of Canada.

However, soon after it launched Tuesday, she said it caught the attention of people from all around the world who are either wanting to sign up as volunteers or to find a second home for their pets through the online service. 

Going viral on TikTok in particular played a big hand in that, Rafuse noted. 

“It blew up, like just absolutely blew up. We have people reaching out to us from all over the United States, all over Canada, we have actually multiple people from Australia, Switzerland, South Africa — you name it,” she said.  

Rafuse said she hopes to eventually expand My Grandfather’s Cat into other countries. 

At the end of the day, she said she knows her grandfather would be proud to know she’s helping other people find loving homes for pets like Mackenzie. 

“I can only imagine how happy he would be knowing that we’re helping cats like her.”

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