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Roscrea People Of The Year Award 2005

Andrea Patterson

It is a great honour and privilege for me to receive this award on behalf of Roscrea SPCA.

Ever since I can remember we always had a dog and cat at home and they played a huge part in the childhood of my brother, Brian, and myself.

I carried that love of animals into my adult life and today they play just as important a role – they help to bring down my blood pressure at the end of a stressful day! We have a fantastic facility here in Roscrea on our doorstep, Golden Grove, and there is nothing nicer than taking the dogs for a walk in the woods – it is a piece of heaven on earth.

My mother, Rita, and myself share our home with five dogs, four cats (all had been strays or rescues), six SPCA cats, a cat that drops in to be fed morning and evening, plus several cats in work who think that I provide a great take-away facility!

As a member of Roscrea SPCA I foster the cats and kittens handed in to us until such time as suitable homes can be found for them. I find this very rewarding as some of the kittens/cats found are semi-wild and with time and gentle handling they gradually change from being wary and timid creatures into trusting and loving pets. I have also taken in a number of pups over the years – my poor mother has had a lot to put up with – but even she has softened when she has seen some of the pitiful cases. The hardest aspect of fostering is knowing that every pet that comes in will be homed (hopefully) at some point in the future and it is hard not to become very attached to each and every one of them, puppy or kitten. Sometimes we have them for months in our care but if a suitable home is found, even though it is hard to let them go, we know that it is in the animal’s interest to have that ‘special’ home.

I would like to stress that Roscrea SPCA is very fortunate to have a number of dedicated members who have opened up their homes and hearts to some of the abandoned animals that have been found in the locality over the years, but no matter how many animals are fostered by the Society there are always so many more needing to be homed, and it can be a thankless business as people assume we are like the groups they see on TV and have endless facilities for taking in strays, though this is not the case. We are a voluntary group of people who are trying our best to make a difference.

The main objective over the years from the origination of the Society in 1995 to the present date has been to tackle the problems arising from the indiscriminate breeding of dogs and cats and this has been achieved by our Subsidised Neutering Scheme. This has been, and will continue to be, our number one priority and has proven to be a great success. Since 1999 we have neutered in excess of 1,700 animals, over 2,000 animals since 1995 – the benefits can be seen by the vastly reduced numbers of strays on the streets of Roscrea at the present time.

At this point I would like to thank the people of Roscrea for their generosity and support to the Society over the years. It is much appreciated, and without your help we wouldn’t be able to continue.

Thanks to my great friend Valerie Spencer for suggesting we go to that first SPCA meeting in 1995 and for sticking with it through the bad times and good. It has been hard work but has been worth it all.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anne Keegan, on behalf of Roscrea SPCA, for the wonderful articles she has written in the Midland Tribune in the past which resulted in fantastic homes for many pets.

If you would like to help in any capacity with our work ring 086 3582440 for further information, you can also check out the SPCA site at roscreaonline.com. We hope to make more use of this excellent facility over the coming year for rehoming, fostering and general information.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family for their understanding and support with the ‘orphans’ brought to our doorstep, in particular Brian who has stepped in and looked after them when I have wanted to go away for a weekend.

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