Life of Labour to Life of Love: Reva’s Story

As told by Zoe’s Medical Coordinator, Candice Smith.

My family went on Kijiji to ‘buy’ me a dog.

I loved her.

I now know what I loved was the idea of a dog.

I went running out to ‘buy’ her. She was tied up to a post with a child petting her.

Probably all staged.

Oh, I was so naive to dog ownership and the breeding world back then.

Our vet went silent while assessing her, I didn’t understand. What could possibly be wrong??

Too much.

Reva was septic and slowing dying, she had bits of dead pups in her abdomen.

Reva had been a puppy mill mama. She wasn’t ‘producing,’ so she was deemed useless.

Never mind the thousands of dollars spent to bring her back to health, how much pain and suffering did she endure?







It’s still heartbreaking. How could a human neglect this precious dog for the money? Truly living off the labour of a dog.

How did I not know?

I thought I was dog smart, my dad made the family dog look easy. Boy, did I learn!

I learned there is a lot of old fashioned thinking about animals. We domesticated these animals, we need to properly care for them ALWAYS. Not turn a blind eye EVER!

Yes, REGISTERED responsible breeders are good. But you need to do your research.

Reva led me to Animal Rescue. I’ve learned a lot in the past 8 years or so.

I want you to know rescue animals are NOT ‘crap’ animals, only had CRAP guardians or ones who just didn’t know better.

When you know better, you do better.

In any one adoption, there’s the foster who opened up their home, time and heart plus a group of four to six loving volunteers that come together to ensure its a good match:

  • foster
  • medical coordinator
  • application screener
  • home checker
  • reference checker
  • contract person
  • rescue directors

So many more volunteers (website managers, social media, fundraising coordinators, etc.) to get the word out and raise vetting dollars for that adoption.


After proper vet care, my Reva girl is approximately 13-15 years old and we are still side by side, 8 years later.

Reva has been a great role model for a dozen or so fosters. She showed them the ropes to enjoying the indoor life with great food, love and protection. And she has made me a compassionate medical coordinator for Zoe’s.

Sadly I felt a mammary growth on her last night.

I knew this moment would come eventually, but nothing can properly prepare a person when it does come.

I am thankful Reva has known honest and unconditional love for most of her life and I am grateful for all that she has taught me. Reva changed my life and helped me change the lives of countless other animals.

My hope is that our story will change you too.


Photo by Michelle Aaron Photography

So now, my friends, you know better.

Educate yourself before becoming a pet guardian.

Once the cuteness of the moment passes, it’s a real responsibility.

And don’t think for even a minute you can get away with not spaying and neutering your animals.