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Gift of giving extends to RAPS

By Eyal Lichtmann

Published 11:26 PDT, Thu May 30, 2019

Candy’s beloved person developed dementia and, among other challenges, overfed Candy until she was too obese to groom herself. She became matted and bald in patches. When Candy’s person could no longer care for her, a friend took the cat in, but was unable to keep her.

We see stories like this very frequently. A dog or cat enjoys an idyllic life surrounded by security, comfort and love – until a life-changing event upends everything. Tragically, this often leads to euthanasia. About 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized in the United States annually (so we can extrapolate maybe 150,000 in Canada). Because RAPS has been no-kill animal-serving organization, for almost a quarter-century, families have known they can depend on RAPS to save the lives of animals in such sad scenarios.

In Candy’s case, we welcomed her to the City of Richmond Animal Shelter, got her the medical attention she needed at the RAPS Animal Hospital, and put her on a healthy diet and weight-loss regime. She responded beautifully. As she lost weight, she was able to groom herself again and her health and appearance improved noticeably. Almost as soon as we put her in our adoption room, Candy found what we hope is her ultimate forever home.

Stories like these, with happy endings, are why we do what we do. In so many jurisdictions, Candy’s life would have been over. But because RAPS is here, she is happy again, living the life every senior cat should be able to enjoy.

But we don’t take credit for this happy ending. RAPS can only do what we do because of you. You are the reason Candy is alive and happy.

There will be more stories like Candy’s as the huge number of Baby Boomers face the challenges of older age.

Nobody likes to talk about infirmity or death. For the sake of our pets, family and friends, though, we need to discuss it. We need to make plans for our pets in case we are no longer able to care for them. We also need to outline our wishes in the inevitable event of our passing.

Writing a will forces us to think about a lot of things … like our mortality, for one. This is probably why more than half of Canadians do not have a will.

There are other considerations, too: dividing family assets, anticipating and avoiding conflict among our survivors, or realizing that nobody is going to want that lifetime’s collection of matchbooks. In other words, there are plenty of negative reasons to procrastinate on this critical bit of preparation.

On the positive side, we too often forget the power that a will has to reflect the values with which we have lived our lives – and how we can have a positive impact on the world even after we are gone.

A will is an opportunity to make a statement – a last testament – about what is important to us. After we have ensured that our funeral expenses are covered and our loved ones are cared for, we have the opportunity to make important decisions that can truly alter the course of our community or our world after we are no longer here.

One friend who has decided to leave a legacy to RAPS in her will told me that this is a way to perpetuate what is important to her – making the world better by caring for animals – even when she is no longer around to see the impacts of her caring.

She chose to leave a legacy to

RAPS for the same reason she allocates a monthly donation to the organization: Our no-kill promise reflects her belief that every animal has a right to a safe, healthy and happy life.

She also knows that RAPS wrings every penny out of a donated dollar. A small army of volunteers and a staff working on shoestring budgets stretch every donation to save and improve the lives of as many animals as possible.

You might be surprised that there are even financial benefits you can realize while you’re living as well as strategies to maximize the impacts of a legacy gift. We have lawyers and financial planners who volunteer with RAPS to help people with will preparation and end-of-life planning.

If you would like to learn more about how a planned gift can change the world for animals and ensure that the things you care about live on, talk to us at

Eyal Lichtmann is Executive Director and CEO of the Regional Animal Protection Society.

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