2018 Holiday Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Community,

The Holiday Season is a time of celebratory gatherings with loved ones; it’s also a time when I reflect on the year that’s passing and the many things for which I am grateful.

As Executive Director of the GTHS, I find myself thankful for so many reasons this year. When I cuddle my pets after a long day and receive a heart-felt hug from my daughter, I am grateful for my family, both furry and human. When I go to work, I am thankful for my second family; the family that shares the same core values and beliefs I do and works tirelessly to uphold those values. And finally, I am grateful for our incredible community that supports our work through donations, adoptions, transfer collaboration and many other remarkable ways.

Our work is truly a reflection of our community and words cannot describe how grateful I am for your leadership and dedication.

Our theme this year was “Love Lives Here” and those powerful words helped to ground us when we faced many challenges. Our original vision was to encapsulate the multitude of ways that love abounds within the GTHS shelter walls. To us, the slogan represented the trust that an abandoned pet puts in us, the magic of witnessing a dog learn to play, the hope shining through the eyes of a special needs pet, the volunteers who bring compassion and dedication to each and every shift, and the adopters who open their hearts and homes to homeless pets.

As the year progressed, we realized that love could be witnessed outside the shelter walls as well. We saw love in our Pet Retention Program when a family received the news that the GTHS would cover the cost of their beloved pet’s surgery and prevent them from having to surrender to the shelter. We witnessed love in our mobile spay/neuter clinics when pet owners with financial limitations drove long distances to get their pet vaccinated, health checked and fixed. Their gratitude for the provided service was a direct reflection of their love for their pet. And finally, we witnessed love in our Humane Education Program, both in the shelter and in the classrooms. By working with animals, students learned about bullying, compassion, empathy and respect. These youths will be our future ambassadors of animal welfare and kindness to all.

Singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill wrote, “Love is a story that we tell everyday.” Nothing could be truer than our work at the GTHS.

Our daily work in the community is a story of love that is rooted in our compassion for all the pets and people in it.

From everyone at the GTHS, thank you very much for supporting our work this year. Together, we are making a difference and building a humane community.
Wishing you and your family a healthy and safe holiday season.


Sonya Reichel

Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!