Be the change

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 5, 2012 in Rat News | Subscribe


Willow Eyford proudly pulls the sleeve of her shirt to reveal a recent tattoo.

“….be the change.”

Words she lives by. Eyford and her family opened Crooked Leg Ranch a year ago on the family’s Ernst Road ranch and its been a very busy year.

Not counting the animals already residing there, CLR has taken in more than 300 cats and kittens, 58 dogs

and puppies, four

cows, two llamas, four horses, one ferret and five rats.

Yes, pet rats were some of the animals surrendered or caught through CLR’s feral trap program. And the rescue society has found new homes for all five rats.

“Since we started in Quesnel, the support has been amazing,” Eyford said.

“The public is beginning to recognize our animals are safe, secure but not kenneled in small enclosures.”

She admits many of the dogs live in the house with her.

“I’m known as the crazy dog lady,” she said with a laugh.

Right now CLR has six dogs ready for adopting. There’s an application process and Eyford said they work very hard to match dogs with prospective humans.

“When you know a match is right, when you know its a great home for the animal, it’s easier to let the animal go,” she said.

And CLR follows up on all their matches to ensure the match was the right one and everything is going well.

“Saving an animal won’t change the world but surely the world will have changed for that animal,” Eyford said.

Although everyone at CLR are volunteers, money is needed to cover costs like the ever-growing vet bills.

“We spend thousands and thousands of dollars on vet costs, even with the good will of the vet,” she said.

Although CLR has found some creative ways to fundraise and the community has really stepped up, Eyford said they could always use a creative mind or two to help find fun ways to raise the needed capital.

And now with Eyford living at the ranch, she’s brimming with ideas on how to improve and grow the operation.

“I’ve seen shelters around the world and have learned something from every one of them, both what I want to see and what I don’t want to see,” she said.

“And if I can put into practice what I’ve learned, Crooked Leg Ranch will do well.”

However, she realizes no one can do everything but everyone can do something.

“The ripple effect of that action, regardless of how small, is amazing,” she said.

Eyford and her band of family and volunteers is immensely grateful to everything people have been doing to help CLR and its commitment to animal rescue.

“People can help in so many ways, collect bottles and cans, trap the feral cat in the neighbourhood that has litter after litter, come to the ranch and walk a dog,” she suggested.

“We have someone who knits blankets for us – that’s huge.

“Everyone can do something.

“I want to extend a big thank you to everyone for all the small and large acts of kindness and support.”

Eyford said even the family work on a volunteer basis with regular jobs to keep the heat on and the regular bills paid.

“Animal rescue will always be a part of my life and that goes for the rest of my family as well,” she said.

“Everyone makes an impact on the world – it’s up to us whether its good or bad,” she said.

“Even in very small ways, choosing to do good can make a positive difference.”

And true to her passion, Eyford’s eyes lit up as she said, “and everyone needs to spay and neuter their animals.”

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