Zoe’s Top 15 of 2015

Limiting this list to just 15 was no easy feat, 2015 was a phenomenal year for Zoe’s Animal Rescue!! And so, without further adieu and in no particular order, the top 15 of 2015….

1. Groot

Groot is quite the cat with quite the story. Like any classic novel, the beginning captures your heart and leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering how it will all end, the middle gives comic relief to what could have been a heartbreaking tragedy, and the end does what all good endings should: ties everything up with a happy, loving and wretchedly stinky bow.

I lurrrrrves the snuggles and the stinkles!

I lurrrrrves the snuggles and the stinkles!

2. Fedex Cares

At the end of September, Zoe’s was named winner of Fedex Canada’s FedEx Cares Summer Canadian Charity Delivery contest!! Over 100 Canadian charities made the list and over 3,700 votes were cast. We were honoured to be on the list and OVER THE MOON when we found out we won! Endless thanks to our voters!

FedEx, the honorarily-named pup!

FedEx, the honorarily-named pup!


3. Katniss, a Mother Like No Other

They say there is no machine more powerful than a mother. Katniss proved that tenfold.


Katniss with one of her adopted kittens, Jade

In early Spring, Zoe’s found Katniss and her sole daughter, Rue, skinny, scraggly and living under a stoop. Shortly after coming into care, Katniss took in Runty Peeta, the smallest of a litter of seven who wasn’t getting enough to eat from his mama. When an orphaned litter of four nine-day old kittens came into care, Katniss took them in as her own as well. THEN she gave birth to three kittens – appropriately named Wyatt, Tina and Faye, the WTF litter, because Zoe’s had no idea Katniss was pregnant when she came into care. Her baby, Rue, was only a few weeks old herself! (Do your part to control the pet population, have your pets spayed or neutered, folks!) When all was said and done for this amazing mama, she had nursed and mothered TEN kittens.

Giving so much of herself to so many kittens took it’s toll on Katniss and she ended up very sick with Corona Virus. Thankfully with the very best veterinary care and a family full of prayers, Katniss made a full recovery. She is now living a very well-loved and pampered life in her forever home.


Lounging in her forever home

4. Milo & the Wine Lottery

This story has two of the most remarkable things on earth: the incredible resiliency of animals and the incredible feats people can achieve when they come together.

Despite Milo’s very unfortunate accident with a car that left his back end completely paralyzed, this guy could NOT be slowed down. He ran. (YES! HE RAN!) He played. He went on bike rides in backpacks. He stole beds and toys and laps. He loved. And he lived – as happily and as content as any pooch could be. While in his foster home, countless members of the Zoe’s family stepped up to offer veterinary services, alternative therapies, physiotherapies and, of course, more love and snuggles than little Milo could handle. If only love could undo permanent nerve damage….. Never ones to give up, Zoe’s moved on the next best thing to love: wine.

The Spring Wine Lottery was a bigger success than anyone imagined and raised enough funds to purchase a wheelchair for wee Milo. The success of this fundraiser and what it meant to Milo moved so many of us.

This dog and his amazing spirit….


5. Simba – The Dog with the Lion-Sized Heart.

It’s no secret that rescue is a heartstring puller. But every so often an animal will come into care that’s just a little more special than all the other special animals. Simba is one of those extra special critters.

Found extremely emaciated, quilled, injured multiple times and shot, Simba’s future was full of uncertainty. We could fill him full of food; we could remove the quills; we could clean him up and tend to his injuries, but the chance of his leg recovering from the gunshot wound was slim. Vets also discovered systemic infections that put his entire life on the line. Despite the deplorable shape Simba was in and the obvious cruelty inflicted upon him, all this gorgeous brindle pup wanted was love. Without enough strength to even lift his head, he wagged his tail at visitors and as soon as he was physically able, scooched himself onto his foster mom’s lap. Everyone who visited Simba marvelled at his gentle sweetness.

Our amazing partner veterinarians performed three surgeries on Simba, twelve of his teeth had to be removed and quills were discovered months after coming into care. Making a FULL recovery, including full use of his injured leg, Simba proved that his injuries were merely skin deep and his spirit was as strong as ever. Simba was adopted by his forever family in November and will always have a forever home in all of our hearts.


6. Zoe’s performed over 100 SNRs in 2015

You may be scratching your head right now wondering what ‘SNR’ is and why we’ve performed over 100 of them this year alone. Simply put, SNR stands for Spay/Neuter and Return and means exactly that – we remove an animal from it’s living space, almost always a homeless situation, spay or neuter them and return them to their living space once they have recovered. It’s a bit of a controversial practice, however the long term reach of SNR programs have no limits. Not every animal can be rescued, fostered and adopted. Wish, hope and try as we might. Sometimes the most we can do is prevent more unwanted litters of animals. SNR is a big picture solution, truly world changing. But it takes time and a lot of heart.


7. A Crazy Number of Rescued Animals Were Adopted Through Zoe’s


That’s almost one animal every day of the year! Make no mistake though, Zoe’s is 100% quality over quantity. Our adoption process is thorough: application, meet and greet, homecheck, references…. No animal is ever rushed out the door or adopted to a family without careful consideration for everyone involved. And the door is NEVER completely closed on a Zoe’s rescue.

8. We won a Yeggie!!

Ok, so the award *might* have been for our work in 2014, but we RECEIVED the award in 2015 so it makes the list! The Yeggies are awards that highlight some of the amazing social media talent that lives in the city of Edmonton; Zoe’s was nominated in the “Best Non-Profit’ category as an organization that “feels like it’s part of the community — not simply by virtue of the work it does, but because of how it helps to contribute to the ongoing discussion in and about Edmonton.” We have an exceptional team of media people without which Zoe’s couldn’t be nearly as successful, not only with rescuing and adopting animals, but with education, awareness and community support. Congrats Media Team!!

9. Zoe’s Named ATBs Top Charity of 2015

We have YOU to thank for this one.

ATB Cares named Zoe’s Animal Rescue the Top Charity of 2015, meaning our organization received the most donations of all the charities through the ATB Cares Program.



10. Mokey and the Jewell

This blind kitty came into care after being surrendered by a loving but overcrowded home. His story struck a chord with a friend of Zoe’s and she began making small donations towards Mokey’s sponsorship through the ATB Cares program. During the month of November, ATB ran a promotion where they drew the name of one donor and added $1000 to their donation; Mokey’s Jewell was drawn to receive the bonus donation!!

We are so moved by this generosity, compassion, and love for Zoe’s. Thank you.


11. We Fundraised the Bejeezus out of 2015

Let’s be honest, we need money to do what we do. We have networked an exceptional support system within our community and many volunteers contribute more than just their time, but we still need a bank account to operate. And a steady flowing one at that. After all, rescue never sleeps.

The list of fundraisers we have organized and executed this year is astonishing. A small handful of the best this past year:

  • Kause 4 Paws – a test drive fundraiser hosted by Koch Ford Lincoln
  • Compost Sale
  • Wine Lottery
  • Read, Ride & Drink Raffle
  • Garage Sale (consisting solely of donated items)
  • Online Garage Sale (because we had SO many donations)
  • Value Village Donation Drive (because TWO garage sales couldn’t liquidate all the donations)
  • Oilers Prize Pack Raffle
  • Ongoing Apparel Fundraisers (Ts, hoodies, hats, mugs, bandanas, decals, etc)

12. Mega Food Donation

During the Value Village Donation Drive, one of our volunteers connected with a Loblaw employee who organized a donation of many, many pallets of pet food and kitty litter. While a torn package makes product unsellable, it doesn’t make it undonate-able! Immensely grateful for this amazing donation, several Zoe’s volunteers came together with donated trucks, time and tape (to seal the rips and tears) to pick up and deliver the veritable mountain of food for animals in our target communities. To date, this has been our largest food donation ever. Thanks to Loblaw many at risk animals have been very well fed this winter.

13. Dumpster Kitty

Sometimes rescue happens simply by being in the right place at the right time, with the stars aligned in just the right way. Dumpster Kitty (AKA Beatrice) is just such a rescue.

No one knows how long wee Beatrice was in the dumpster on that frigid November morning, nor does anyone know how the tiny four week old kitten got in the dumpster and doused with motor oil. What we do know is that had a random person not taken out the garbage at exactly the right time and taken the time to investigate a strange noise, Beatrice wouldn’t have survived. Even found when she was, her rescuers were unsure if she would make it. As if being rescued on the brink of death wasn’t enough, Beatrice had the great luck to have Zoe’s volunteer, Tanis, in her midst. The trio of angels cleaned up Beatrice as best they could, checked her over for frostbite, wrapped her in a cozy jacket and began looking for emergency vet care.

After striking out twice, Tanis desperately turned to the Zoe’s Family page for guidance and within seconds had contact information to multiple veterinarians who would provide the emergency care little Beatrice needed. Bundled in a jacket, Beatrice and Tanis headed to Crestwood Veterinary Centre, with Tanis poking Beatrice every few minutes to make sure she was still conscious and Beatrice responding with the tiniest of reassuring mews. The ladies of Crestwood jumped into action the moment Tanis walked in with Beatrice. She was immediately hooked to an IV, laid on a heating pad and covered in blankets under a heater. Beatrice’s tiny body was so frozen, her body temperature wouldn’t register. The worst was feared, but no one was giving up on this little soul. Two and a half hours later, body temperature finally registered. Food and nutrients were given and the chance of survival and recovery grew with every minute.

Knowing Zoe’s is always short on fosters, and falling head over heels for this fuzzball, Tanis volunteered to foster Beatrice. Just over a month later, Beatrice is a new kitten. A little short on tail (frostbite), but high on kitten energy – including midnight trampolining on foster mama, now forever mama, Tanis.

“I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, and without the help of each and every one of my neighbours at work, the support of Zoe’s and all their volunteers (being so quick to reply on Facebook and Jacqueline for being her loving guardian for a few days), and the amazing staff at Crestwood, this kitten would have never had the chance it deserved. But now she does. And I will never forget that day Beatrice filled the hole in my heart.”

Dumpster Kitty

14. Missy & Willow

Missy & Willow

Much like Simba, Missy and Willow are two special ladies. They need a special home with people who understand their needs and who are able to meet those needs.

Missy was surrendered to a rescue group in the Spring of 2012 with an infected face full of quills and what can best be described as social anxiety towards other animals. She has a full and loving heart for people, not so much for other animals. Not only does she need to be the only pet, she needs to be walked in familiar and animal-free territory with an owner who can be prepared for a roaming cat or a bounding rabbit. Because of Missy’s special needs, she spent much of the next two years bouncing between kennels and temporary foster homes. In the Fall of 2014, Zoe’s stepped in. Committed to changing Missy’s fate, Zoe’s took her in as part of our Co-Pilot Program, placing Missy in a foster home where her needs were respected and accommodated. December 18, 2015 marked the one year anniversary of Missy moving into her foster-to-adopt home. She is loved, happy and in a stable home. Zoe’s continues to be a support for her and her family in whatever capacity is needed. Her story continues here.

Our girl, Willow, is a sort of Missy the Second. She has spent more than her share of time in kennels and temporary homes for the same reasons Missy did. Also just like Missy, Willow adores people, kids especially. She is sweet and silly and full of energy. Willow is currently in a foster home with one of  our best trainers, making great progress. Missy is a great success story of 2015, we would love for Willow to be one of the great success stories of 2016. You can read more about Willow here or check out her profile and apply to adopt her here.

15. We Grew. And Grew and Grew and Grew….

We wouldn’t have a Top 15 of 2015 if not for our dedicated family of passionate, hard-working, never-say-die people.

Zoe’s is 100% volunteer run. We don’t have a payroll (unless you count puppy kisses and satisfied purrs as a paycheque….which most do!), but we do have a volunteer roll that has DOUBLED in size over the course of 2015. This spike in hands and hearts and homes has allowed Zoe’s to run more efficiently and, simply put, do MORE. We have a media team, a fundraising team, a homecheck team, a cat team, a dog team… we have a team of teams! Some of us foster, some of us don’t. Some of us do one job, some of us do many. But ALL of us have our whole heart in this rescue.

And that is what makes Zoe’s what it is – A rescue FULL of heart.

Thank you for helping to make 2015 a truly remarkable year for Zoe’s Animal Rescue. We hope 2016 is bigger and better!!