Nfld. & Labrador

'It's just too sad': SPCA scrambles to place 2 dogs left homeless after owner's death

The SPCA in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is looking for a new home for two dogs left in a precarious situation after a Quebec man died suddenly in the town.

SPCA says mother and daughter share special bond

The SPCA in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is looking for a new home for two dogs left in a precarious situation after their owner suddenly died. 1:00

The SPCA in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is looking for a new home for two dogs left in a precarious situation after a Quebec man died suddenly. 

"To the best of my knowledge, we've never encountered a situation like this before, and I hope we never do again,"  said Bonnie Learning, vice-president of the local SPCA. 

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA hopes to find someone to adopt Kelly and Saggy as a mother-and-daughter set. (Submitted by Florence Dickers)

"It's just too sad."

Learning was called to take care of the dogs — Kelly and Saggy, a mother and daughter — after their owner, a Quebecer who lived alone in the town, died a few weeks ago. 

Kelly and Saggy being taken care of by SPCA workers who say the dogs respond when spoken to in French. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Kelly, a five-year-old mastiff, and Saggy, a two-year-old believed to have been crossed with a golden retriever, lived with their owner, who had come to Happy Valley-Goose Bay for work. 

They wanted to see where their person was to, and it was just so heartbreaking.- Bonnie Learning

Learning said the dogs were clearly upset, and have been understandably unsettled in the weeks since. 

"They were at the door that was leading into the house — they were trying to get in," said Learning. 

"They wanted to see where their person was to, and it was just so heartbreaking."

Because the man's family could not care for the dogs, the SPCA agreed to look after them while it searched for a new home. 

'Loving and loyal'

"They're fully trained, they are loving, and they are loyal," said SPCA worker Florence Dickers, who added she would take them home herself if she did not already have four dogs. 

"They're really, really well-behaved dogs. After you get to know them, they're wonderful."

SPCA vice-president Bonnie Learning was called by the RCMP the morning after Kelly and Saggy's owner passed away. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Learning said the dogs did not immediately respond to English when the SPCA arrived to get the dogs. But when they tried speaking in French, the dogs perked up.

"We want someone preferably in the household that might speak French. It's not a requirement," Learning said.

Special bond seen in dogs

The SPCA is looking for someone who can adopt Kelly and Saggy as a set, noting that the dogs clearly share a tight bond. 

"It's bad enough that they're going through this now," Dickers said. 

Florence Dickers helps to care for the dogs at the SPCA in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

"I think if they lost each other, they would go through just as much depression as what they did when they lost their owner," she said, adding that the dogs frequently curl up together. 

The SPCA said potential adopters will need to visit the dogs at the shelter before making a decision. 

There has already been some interest. One family, with a daughter who is in French immersion, has met them, although for now the dogs remain up for adoption.

Anyone who is interested in adopting the pair should get in touch with the Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA.

About the Author

Jacob Barker

Videojournalist

Jacob Barker is a videojournalist for CBC Windsor.

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