Nova Scotia

'A lot of tails wagging' after app developer raises $27K for Nova Scotia SPCA

Christian Selig put a call out on social media saying that he would donate proceeds from his iOS app to the SPCA on his birthday. He didn’t expect the response he got.

'It exceeded any expectation that I could have feasibly gone in with,' says Christian Selig

Christian Selig with his two cats, Hugo and Ruby. He adopted them from the SPCA's Dartmouth shelter. (Submitted by Christian Selig)

All Christian Selig wanted for his 26th birthday was to give back to the organization that brought his two beloved pets into his life.

Selig, a Halifax-based software developer, put a call out on social media on his birthday on Saturday saying he would donate all of that day's proceeds from his iOS app to the Nova Scotia SPCA.

What he didn't expect was for his post to go viral and hit the front page of Reddit — one of the most popular websites in the world.

"The fact that so much of the site — like this enormous site and community — came together for our neck of the woods was very humbling," he said.

He also pledged 10 cents per comment on his Reddit post, and a dollar per retweet from a post announcing the fundraiser from his app's Twitter account.

Grand total of $27,355

Selig was initially aiming for $10,000, but the total ended up coming to to $27,355. That's the largest single-day fundraiser in the Nova Scotia SPCA's history.

"Oh my God, it really is incredible," he said. "It exceeded any expectation that I could have feasibly gone in with."

Selig's app, Apollo for Reddit, is an iPhone-friendly application for browsing Reddit. He said the lion's share of the money raised came from the U.S., which is unsurprising given the bulk of Redditors are American.

He held a similar fundraiser last year and raised $5,000.

'An obvious choice'

Selig and his girlfriend adopted their two cats, Hugo and Ruby, from the organization's Dartmouth shelter.

He said choosing the SPCA as the fundraiser's beneficiary was "an obvious choice."

"It's personal, just because we've been there and the experience we had with them has been so phenomenal," he said. "It's hard to not to want to support them."

Selig says his experience adopting cats inspired him to do a fundraiser for the SPCA. (Submitted by Christian Selig)

At least one SPCA employee wept with joy when they found out how much money was raised through Selig's fundraiser.

"Words can't describe how it made us all feel here," said Taylor Mundy, the SPCA's provincial fund development co-ordinator.

"As soon as we told everyone at the shelter, everyone was doing happy dances and there was a lot of tails wagging."

Mundy said the money will have a "huge impact" on the animals in the organization's care. Since the SPCA doesn't get any provincial government funding for its shelters, it relies largely on the community to support its daily operations.

An SPCA official says Selig's fundraiser will help thousands of animals. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

She noted that the warmer months are an especially challenging time for its shelters, because that's when unfixed cats go into heat.

"It's around that time of year that our shelters become quite flooded with abandoned, injured and orphaned kittens all throughout Nova Scotia," she said.

"Along with their cuteness, they end up bringing a lot of additional expenses on our already very, very tight resources."

Mundy said Selig's fundraiser will help thousands of animals.

"He raised over $27,000, and over 27,000 thank yous would never be enough to repay him," she said.

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Alex Cooke

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Alex is a reporter living in Halifax. Send her story ideas at alex.cooke@cbc.ca

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