SPCA spreads the love for needy pets in Penticton

South Okanagan Similkameen SPCA drops off care packages for pets in need every Monday at the Soupateria.

Joe Buttaro of the SPCA prepares for the thank you kiss from Koda to the amusement of his master Robin Haworth.

Joe Buttaro of the SPCA prepares for the thank you kiss from Koda to the amusement of his master Robin Haworth.

Friends take care of friends.

That’s Robin Haworth’s philosophy and why he stands patiently on the sidewalk in front of the Soupateria each Monday with his best friend Koda, a fluffy Australian shepherd, nearby.

The pair and others are awaiting the arrival of a very special delivery vehicle.

When driver Joe Buttaro parks the white and blue SPCA van on Orchard Avenue a line quickly forms as pet owners, most struggling to feed themselves, stop to pick up the free food and other items for their four-legged companions.

“This has been a great help for Koda and myself. He’s the number one thing in my life,” said Haworth as Koda barked his  concurrence. “There he goes, ‘Yeah I agree with you’ he says.”

“I think this is just marvellous what the SPCA is doing and I appreciate what all the volunteers are doing for us poor people down here at the bottom. It’s been very, very helpful and we’re very grateful. Yeah, we manage one way or the other but I put my dog before me.”

Bella, who also happened to be at the Soupateria this particular Monday, was almost at a loss to describe the appreciation she felt for what the SPCA was doing.

“This is phenomenal,” she said, the tears welling up in her eyes. “I just ran out of food yesterday because I can’t afford it this month and I don’t want my cats to go hungry. They are everything to me and it’s really important to have them, they really help with my depression.”

For the next half hour Buttaro gave away the food and other items to many people, some who shook his hand or patted him on the back. One man looked him and simply said: “God bless you,” before turning around and walking to the Soupateria to get some lunch for himself.

“These animals bring people happiness and we love to see them happy, nobody wants to see anybody down,” said Buttaro.

According branch manager Corrine Ross of the South Okanagan Similkameen SPCA, giving away the food and supplies is another way the organization fulfills its mandate to those who can’t speak for themselves.

“Pets, they make such good companions and these people still love them very much.”

Whenever possible, the SPCA donates surplus goods to other organizations and, if needed, can provide food at the shelter.