Leslie Dvorack was one of hundreds of people who had applied to adopt a dog that was part of a massive animal seizure in the Princeton area last fall.
“I desperately wanted to bring one home and give it all the chance to be the star that it was meant to be,” she told Global News.
She said she feels like she won the lottery when she was among those chosen to adopt a poodle miniature mix named Gracie.
“She’s a bright spot in my life,” Dvorack said.
But four-year-old Gracie didn’t have such a bright start to life.
She was one of the 97 badly neglected animals seized by the B.C. SPCA.
The animals included mostly puppies and adult dogs, as well as some horses and cats.
According to the animal organization, the animals were found living in deplorable conditions.
Many were malnourished with limited access to water.
The B.C. SPCA said some were kept on short chains and many of the dogs were sick.
“As we brought these animals in and had them assessed by local veterinarians, what we were faced with is that over two-thirds of the puppies had Parvovirus, so they were dealing with a virus that could kill them,” said Sean Hogan, the Kelowna branch manager of the B.C. SPCA.
Most of the animals ended up at the Kelowna facility to be triaged and treated before being transported to other shelters.
Hogan said it was one of the largest and most devastating seizures the Kelowna shelter has ever dealt with.
“There were some sleepless nights that week and all the staff were working double shifts actually just to get the job done,” Hogan said.
In addition to medical issues, the animals were extremely fearful and not socialized.
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Dvorack recalls what Gracie was like when she first adopted her.
“She was so shut down and timid,” Dvorack said. “They placed her on my lap and she just sat there. She was just quiet and still. I could not even look at her in the face. She was so nervous.”
But Dvorack said over time, she began witnessing changes in Gracie, who eventually became more energetic and playful.
“She became more secure to look around the house, to eat … that was another big one. She was very nervous when she ate,” Dvorack said.
The animals ended up going to homes across the province. Sadly, several of them died.
As for any legal repercussions for the former owner of the animals, the animal protection department of the B.C. SPCA said the case was not able to move to charges because of a technical legal issue.
While that is disappointing to many animal lovers and advocates, the B.C. SPCA said it’s pleased the animals are now in loving homes, including Gracie, who’s changed her new owner’s life.
“Every morning, you look at that little face and you just say you can get through today,” she said.