The Ladybird Animal Sanctuary's Third Annual Spring Fair
Hamilton Music Notes, www.viewmag.com
by Ric Taylor, May 1- 7, 2014
The only thing bigger than the Ladybird Sideshow’s collective voices is their hearts. While they came together for a mutual musical admiration, the Ladybirds have transformed their mutual love of animals into a non–profit organization to help animals in need. With their annual Spring Fair this weekend, Melissa McClelland, Janine Stoll and Lisa Winn are focusing their talents on raising money to help more in–danger animals with their Ladybird Sanctuary.
“Melissa, Janine and I have been friends and musical cohorts for a number of years,” explains Winn. “We are all animal lovers and I’ve been working in the animal field since I was fourteen. I’ve seen firsthand what goes on behind closed doors at ‘kill’ shelters. It’s devastating and unnecessary. After much discussion, the three of us decided to do something about it. Though rescuing animals directly from kill shelters is just one part of the equation, it’s an important part. Education, low–cost spay/neuter initiatives and responsible pet ownership are all desperately needed to keep animals out of shelters in the first place.
“Since January 2011 we’ve now rescued just under 360 animals from high–kill shelters — primarily from Hamilton Animal Control,” adds Winn. “We’ve rescued cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, a hedgehog and even a chicken. We currently have about 50 animals in foster homes and the rest have found their forever homes. In the larger picture of homeless animals in need, we are just a drop in the bucket rescuing at the small scale we do now. But when we look into the eyes of a newly rescued animal, we know we’re doing the right thing and we will keep volunteering our time to save the lives of animals who may otherwise be euthanized. It is an enormous amount of work, but it is totally worth it.
The work is worthwhile but costly and so the Ladybird Sanctuary is doing a fundraiser this weekend via their third annual Spring Fair.
“The biggest cost to any rescue is vet care —spaying and neutering, vaccines, medications, surgeries etc.,” explains Winn. “We rely solely on donations from the public and we couldn’t do what we do without their generosity. When we take a matted, sick and neglected animal out of a shelter, get it the proper vet treatment and care that it needs in its foster home, and then see it happy and healthy and adopted into a forever home — that is the greatest reward we could ask for.
“We love to bring the community into what we’re doing by hosting events like the Spring Fair,” adds Winn. “It’s something fun for families and we can get the word out there about who we are and what we’re doing for animals. Most of the general public are not aware of what goes on in their local animal shelter, especially in Hamilton. By attending a Ladybird fundraiser, they help by just being there and they can learn about other ways to help homeless animals in need. This year we thought two days would be better than one.
The Ladybird Sanctuary Spring Fair has kids’ activities, crafters and venders — for people and pet needs — and live music at 1pm and 3pm on Saturday with Stoll and the DoneFors and on Sunday with Mimi Shaw performing.
“It’s two afternoons of great music, fantastic food, fun vendors and neat things for kids,” smiles Winn. “That’s just fun in itself but the bonus is, it’s all to help us help homeless animals in our community. I get to rescue animals with two of my best friends, and as we go, we’re gathering up an amazing network of like–minded people to help us out along the way. Volunteers, foster homes and donors are all imperative to what we do. It’s gone from the three of us, to this whole community of animal lovers and incredibly generous souls. It’s amazing to be a part of.”
The Ladybird Animal Sanctuary’s third annual Spring Fair happens this Saturday May 3 and Sunday May 4 from 11am until 4pm at the Pearl Company. A ‘pay what you can’ donation at the door gets you in. Click on ladybirdanimalsanctuary.com