URGENT APPEAL: Poppy needs your help!


All she wanted was for the pain to stop.

She was a yellow lab cross, under a year old and living in an isolated community with no veterinarian services; a community Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society serves, thanks to the generous donations of our supporters.

Every day, the little dog followed a young boy to school. But on one fateful day, she was hit by a vehicle. She suffered severe trauma – deep slashes to a back leg and what appeared to be road rash, most likely from being dragged by the vehicle.  At first, it was thought she suffered a broken leg.

The little dog lay many, many days, even weeks, in excruciating pain, holding her injured leg close to her body because all she wanted was for the pain to stop as her injuries were left entirely untreated.

The little dog’s family finally did the right thing because they knew that Spirit’s Mission could help relieve her pain.  After so much suffering, she was taken to Nechako Valley Animal Health Services (NVAHS) in Vanderhoof, where she was signed over to our ownership and care.  The wonderful NVAHS staff immediately went to work, giving her sedation and pain medication, antibiotics for a raging infection and taking X-rays of her injured body.

Luckily, the dog’s leg was not broken, but because she held her leg close to her body to protect it from further pain, the leg had begun to heal in all the wrong places.  Her injured leg was 2 inches shorter than the other back leg, and all her muscle and tissues were twisted, causing even more pain.

This little dog, now re-named Poppy because she was rescued in the days just before Remberance Day, has received life-saving surgery from NVAHS and will regain full function of her leg.  Spirit’s Mission is committed to paying for her medical care and overseeing the long period of recovery that will be needed.  She will need ongoing vet care for several weeks, including painful dressing changes.  When she is strong enough, she will be spayed, vaccinated and then Spirit’s Mission will go to work finding this little angel a loving fur-ever home of her own.

Poppy’s medical costs will be well over $3,000, plus transportation costs to get her to a larger community where Spirit’s Mission can find her that home.

If you can help with medical, post-operative and transportation costs, Poppy will be fur-ever grateful.  She will be giving big high-paws for the amazing care that NVAHS has given her, and the Spirit’s Mission volunteers who will foster her during her recovery. She will also send a big snuggly thank you to Willow from Crooked Leg Ranch, who will be helping with Poppy’s immediate recovery until she is well enough to travel to the foster home.

Please donate today to help with Poppy’s recovery. We offer our deepest thanks, because it is animals like Poppy that are lucky enough to find a new life because of your continued support.


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Santa Paws is coming to Nanaimo!


Santa Paws is coming to Nanaimo on three different Saturdays to spread good cheer, pose for family and pet photos, and help Spirit’s Mission raise funds for our life-saving work for companion animals in Northern BC.

For just $10, we’ll take a high-quality photo of your pet(s) with Santa and Mrs. Claus and conveniently email you the photo after the event. You can use the digital file to post on social media, send to your friends, or print copies for your holiday cards. Pose as a family or get a picture with just your pets and Santa, either way, these photographs will be a beautiful memory for years to come. All pets are welcome – last year Santa saw dogs of all shapes and sizes, cats of every colour and even two very special and very fancy guinea pigs!


There are three dates and locations to choose from (please click on the links for addresses):

Each session will run from 11am until 3pm. Remember, the more, the merrier, so share the event with your friends and family – you could even meet up for a photo together and then head for a hot drink and a stop at the dog park afterwards!


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Halloween Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe

As the seasons change, so will your pets’ safety needs. Here is a basic list for keeping your pets safe on Halloween:

Trick or Treat is not for pets. In fact, some of treats may be poisonous, such as chocolate. Even a small amount could cause your pet to become very ill, and in some cases, die.

Keep your pets away from the door. Open doors may be an invitation for your pet to scoot out. This is especially dangerous at Halloween, as they may get spooked with all the activity and people dressed in costumes. Costumes and fireworks could also scare your pet or encourage them to feel “territorial” about area they live in, and may cause them to bite before running away.

If you have outdoor cats, bring them in. A few days before Halloween, bring cats indoors and keep them in for a few days after. Black cats are especially vulnerable for pranks and other cruelty related incidents.

Don’t keep lit pumpkins or lit candles around pets. Candles can burn your pet and if accidentally knocked over by a pet, it could cause a fire.

Only dress your pet in a costume if they love it. Costumes should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to bark or meow.

Don’t forget the IDs for your pets. If they escape, at any time of the year, make sure they have proper ID tags on their collar.

Hope you and your critters have a safe and fun Halloween!


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Update from the President: September 2016

September 25, 2016

To All our Valued Supporters and Volunteers,

Spirit’s Mission has had a year filled with many happy endings and our work continues.

Last year at this time, we shed many tears and good byes to our founder, Gail Moerkerken, who passed away on September 25, 2015. She is still in our hearts and will be forever remembered. With her passing the Board of Directors remains committed to continuing our work with animals in remote communities.

We are now seeing fall blanket most of the province, and we are ramping up for a busy winter and spring. Summer saw many of the Board of Directors contributing to animal welfare projects in their own pursuits of dog training, dog trials, post-traumatic stress therapy dog training, parrot rescue and other activities that support continued animal welfare close to home.

Through meetings and teleconferencing, the BOD confirmed that our purpose continues to be:

a) To assist companion animals in need of medical care;

b) To assist companion animals in need of re-homing;

c) To liaise with and provide resources to other animal welfare groups or individuals;

d) To do all such other things that are incidental and ancillary to the attainment of the foregoing purposes.

Looking forward, we will provide regular newsletters for our supporters to provide updates on our goals, expectations, success stories and challenges. We will continue to support remote communities with animal wellness. We will also continue to recruit a Fundraising Coordinator and a Special Events Coordinator. Both of these volunteer positions are integral to our success, and we hope to be able to fill the vacancies soon. Please consider joining our team!

The next newsletter will outline our 2017 goals. These goals include continuing our work in Saik’uz First Nation, providing youth education in animal welfare and safety, holding a Wellness Clinic, updates to animals who were surrendered into our care and support we are receiving from our partners in animal welfare.

We would also encourage you to become involved in Spirit’s Mission work. We will provide some ways you can support us in the upcoming newsletter, and also encourage you to contact any Board Member if you are interested in helping.

We are excited about the year to come. We are committed to the animals who need our help and are grateful for our supporters, because without you, we could not help those who have no voice.

Thank you, and please feel free to contact us at any time.


Joanne Caldwell
Spirit’s Mission Rescue

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We’re looking for volunteers! Can you help?

Are you an outgoing people person with flair for putting on special events? Do you have a passion for fundraising and donor stewardship? We need your help!

We are on the hunt for two very special volunteers – a Special Event Coordinator and a Fundraising Coordinator.  Please feel free to share this post with anyone you think might be interested in applying.

As a small animal welfare organization, Spirit’s Mission can give you the opportunity to expand your skills, gain experience, meet new people while working in these hands-on volunteer roles. Where applicable, we are happy to provide a letter of reference after a minimum six-month commitment.

Interested in learning more? Click here to read the full volunteer role descriptions and qualifications:

Special Event Coordinator

Fundraising Coordinator

To apply, please email a resume and cover letter to info@spiritsmission.com. Should you have any questions about either of the volunteer positions, we are happy to answer your questions via email.

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Saving animals while playing Pokémon GO is easy as 1-2-3!


Are you obsessed with Pokémon GO? Great news! You can help Spirit’s Mission raise money for animals in need simply while hunting Pokémon!

To get started, just download the free ResQwalk app from iTunes or Google Play and select Spirit’s Mission as your charity of choice. Be sure to hit the “Start ResQwalk” button and then go find some Pokémon!

Not interested in hunting Pokémon? No problem! You can also use the ResQwalk app every time you walk your dog, ride your horse, walk with friends, jog or do any outdoor activity that can be measured by GPS and involves a speed of 14 mph or less.

Need detailed instructions to get started? Here you go:

1. After downloading, open the Resqwalk app.

2. Complete the registration by entering your email address and a password or by logging in via Facebook.

3. Hit the ResQwalk button and search “Spirit’s Mission” – be sure to include the apostrophe!

4. Hit the “Start ResQwalk” button and start walking. Be sure to hit the “Finish” button when you have finished your walk.

5. Finally, remember to open the ResQwalk app and start your Spirit’s Mission ResQwalk every time you are hunting Pokémon or doing other outdoor activities.

About ResQwalk:

ResQwalk is a free mobile app that enables you to raise money and resources for animal welfare organizations, simply by walking. Each month they announce a ResQpool of cash and other resources that have been provided by corporate sponsors. In order to earn part of the pool for your favorite animal welfare organization, all you have to do is download the ResQwalk app and start walking!

ResQwalk Pokemon

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Announcing the 2016 winner of Gail’s Spirit Award

On June 14, Spirit’s Mission was honoured  and pleased to present the first annual Gail’s Spirit Award at a ceremony at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo, BC.

This award is offered in memory of Spirit’s Mission founder Gail Moerkerken, who lived on Gabriola Island and was a passionate and dedicated advocate of animal rescue and welfare. The award is given to a student who has demonstrated a commitment to community service through participation and/or leadership in a variety of school and/or community activities, in particular those dedicated to helping animals, totalling over 100 hours during their Grade 11 and 12 years. The first option for this award is for a student from Gabriola Island, however, if no Gabriola student meets the criteria, students from the Nanaimo School District are also eligible.

Thanks to a generous donation from Spirit’s Mission Board Member, Angela Wilson, we are able to offer the award, valued at $500, in both 2016 and 2017. To help us continue to present future awards to deserving students, you can contribute to the award fund by making a donation to Spirit’s Mission and mentioning “Gail’s Spirit Award”.

Spirit’s Mission Vice-President, Kerri-Lynne Wilson, was on hand at the ceremony to present the award to Emily Holmes, a Grade 12 student at Dover Bay Secondary School in Nanaimo. We asked Emily to answer a few questions for us so we could introduce her to the Spirit’s Mission family – we think you’ll be just as impressed with her work as we were!

2016 Emily Holmes Spirit Award Winner with text

Where do you live and go to school?

I live in Nanaimo, but I spend my summers in Telegraph Cove, BC (Northern Vancouver Island) working in the Whale Interpretive Centre, educating the public on marine mammals and marine conservation. I go to school at Dover Bay Secondary School in Nanaimo.

Can you tell us about your volunteer work?

I have volunteered at both a veterinary hospital and the Nanaimo BC SPCA. I also volunteer at Just for Kicks, a program that provides soccer for children and teens with mental disabilities. In my school, I am involved in Homework Club, an after-school program that gives free tutoring for students of all grades in all subjects. My specialities in tutoring were in English and math.

How do you feel your volunteer work has benefitted your community?

My volunteer work makes me very happy, especially Just For Kicks. Seeing kids improve in both confidence and in skill is very rewarding. The players all struggle with different challenges, from verbal communication to physical coordination, and sport in a social setting helps with all sorts of difficulties these players go through.

Volunteering at the vet hospital and the BC SPCA are therapeutic for me. I lvoe spending time around animals and also to know that I can help make an animal who is ill, injured, or waiting for a home feel even the slightest bit better or more comfortable makes it extra special.

What are your plans after graduation?

I have been accepted to the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) for sciences. I will study biology in preparation for Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan.

And what about your future career plans?

I want to be a veterinarian, specializing in small mammals. Volunteering in a vet clinic made me really sure that this was something I wanted to do for my career. Having the training to help and heal animals is a very important goal for me, and I’m excited to be able to make a difference for the creatures I love!

Do you have any special pets at home you’d like to tell us about?

At home, I have three cats (Ringo, George, and Paul – yes, named after the Beatles. John died when I was little). George and Paul are absolute best friends. I helped take care of Paul when he was very little at the vet hospital, through the BC SPCA. When he was old enough to be adopted I knew I had to take him home. It was a neat experience to know that I played a small role in getting him ready for adoption! A hobby of mine is animal training, both my own cats and animals of friends and family. Both Paul and Ringo are intelligent and are now very well trained. George is lovely and gentle, but a little daft!

* * *

On behalf of everyone at Spirit’s Mission, we’d like to thank Emily for her community service and her commitment to animals in need. Congratulations, Emily, and all the best with your future plans!

Want to help future students? Please consider donating the Gail’s Spirit Award. Just mention “Gail’s Spirit Award” when making your donation.

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Another successful wellness clinic!

We are very happy to report that our 2016 Wellness Clinic in Saik’uz (northern BC) was a big success! On May 7 and 8, Spirit’s Mission volunteers along with our veterinary partners, Dr. Sylvia Hall Andrews from Petroglyph Animal Hospital and Dr. Cori Stephen from Nechako Valley Animal Health Services, provided local pet dogs and cats with health checks and preventative health care, including vaccinations and deworming. Over the course of the two days we treated 37 dogs and 14 cats!

Grooming was also popular this year, with Vicki “Clippers” McDonald giving four lucky dogs a much needed makeover.


Additionally, we took in two dogs and two cats and will be working with our rescue partners Crooked Leg Ranch and the Victoria Humane Society to find them new forever homes.

We’d like to give a special thank you to the Lakes Animal Friendship Society for helping out with the humane education component of the weekend, as well as to Pilots n Paws for their assistance.

Finally, we’d like to recognize all of the hard-working and generous people who came together to make this clinic a success – the people and volunteers in Saik’uz, the Spirit’s Mission volunteers at the clinic and those working behind the scenes, and our generous donors and funders. On behalf of the animals, thank you!

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Show your support for animals this Mother’s Day!

Looking for a special Mother’s Day gift for the dog lovers in your family? Pawsitive Links charm bracelets are a beautiful way to show your love to Mom while also helping animals in need.

These handcrafted bracelets are made from recycled choke chains and come with one charm for $20. We have a large selection of charms available, including dogs, cats and horses, and you can add charms to each bracelet for a small additional cost.

Purchasing is easy – you can place an online order through our Etsy shop, direct message us on Facebook, or send an email to info@spiritsmission.com.  If you’d like to customize a bracelet with additional charms or if you would like information on additional charms available, please send us a message or email and we’d be happy to discuss options and prices.


Why recycled choke chains? We are committed to positive dog training methods and believe that choke chains and prong collars are best used as fashion accessories – not dog training tools! You can help us spread the word about positive training techniques by wearing a Pawsitive Links bracelet. They are great conversation starters!

All funds raised from the sale of Pawsitive Links bracelets support our animal wellness activities in BC, including our upcoming Wellness Clinic in northern BC on May 7 & 8, 2016.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner – order now to ensure your bracelet arrives in time!


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Announcing our Spring 2016 Wellness Clinic!

We’re very excited to announce the dates for our Spring Wellness Clinic! On May 7 & 8 we’ll be returning to Saik’uz in northern BC to give local pet dogs and cats health checks and preventative health care, including vaccinations and deworming.

At a Wellness Clinic, community residents can seek medical advice and services for their pets. Common concerns include minor wound care and overdue teeth, grooming and toenail issues. Each pet also gets an overall check up and basic health care such as de-wormer, flea and tick medication, and vaccines. You can read Spirit’s story, our organization’s namesake, to learn first hand the importance of these events.


As you can imagine, planning an event like this in a remote community requires a lot of work and input from many different people, including those in the local community. First and foremost, we have to find veterinarians and vet techs who are willing and able to take time out of their hectic schedules to attend a clinic. We are so happy to have Dr. Sylvia Hall-Andrews from Petroglyph Animal Hospital and Dr. Cori Stephen from Nechako Valley Animal Health Services joining us for this year’s clinic. Once dates are decided, we also have to get approval from the College of Veterinarians of BC to run the clinic.

We work closely with the local community to estimate how many animals will attend and to advertise and spread word of the event. Once the big day arrives, there is much work to be done to set up the space, manage intakes, organize on-site lunches and snacks, and clean up once the event is over.


Of course, we couldn’t do this life-saving work without our amazing donors and supporters! Your Aeroplan donations go a long way towards getting our volunteers into the community, which is located near Vanderhoof. But there is also ground travel to consider, for both people and supplies, as well as lodging for volunteers. Donations of vaccinations and dewormers are critical and we also rely on fundraising initiatives, such as our Pawsitive Links program, to raise the additional funds needed to cover expenses.

You can help us make our Spring Wellness Clinic a success by donating your Aeroplan miles or purchasing a Pawsitive Links bracelet. Or, if you would like to make an online financial donation through CanadaHelps, please click here.

Thank you to everyone who has come together to attend, plan and support the event. We couldn’t do it without you!


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