SPCA build's success indebted to the Andersons

Tyler Clarke
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Gary and Paulette Anderson are seen with a yippy puppy in the new Prince Albert SPCA facility on North Industrial Drive -- a facility the pair contributed about $600,000 toward, and which they have an adoption gallery named in their honour. 

One would be hard-pressed to find people more worthy than Gary and Paulette Anderson to have a wing of the new Prince Albert SPCA named after them.


Contributing about $600,000 toward the organization -- almost 20 per cent of the $3.2-million New Leash on Life Building Campaign -- the dog lovers have been integral to the fundraiser’s success.

“It wouldn’t be built right now if we didn’t have a donor such as Gary and Paulette,” Prince Albert SPCA manager Debbie Lehner summarized.

“That’s a lot of money to have to go and raise through radio-a-thons or selling hot dogs and hamburgers -- so significant.

“It’s not just that Gary and Paulette are donors, financially, but they’ve been involved in launching this campaign from the get-go, and also volunteer their time.”

It all began when Gary was made aware that the organization was in need of a van.

“So I went out and got them a van,” he summarized matter-of-factly.

Then, Gary said that he and his wife noticed the “horrible situation” the organization found itself in at their previous dilapidated facility at Exhibition Drive.

“If you saw where they were before, I couldn’t go there -- I couldn’t even drive by it,” Paulette said.

“It just seemed so sad, whereas (in the new facility) … even though (the pets are) homeless at the moment, they have a great place in transition.”

A Prince Albert Collegiate Institute graduate, Gary found professional success in the local business community, which he has been a part of since 1972.

Business success in the grocery store and hotel industries has spawned latter-day success with a resort in Mexico.

Sharing their financial success with the community has been important, with the Andersons also supporting the Art Hauser Centre’s “Bring Back the Magic” renovation campaign about 10 years ago.

They also recently helped start a dance studio at Prince Albert Collegiate Institute.

It wouldn’t be built right now if we didn’t have a donor such as Gary and Paulette. Debbie Lehner

The philanthropists’ Prince Albert SPCA-centred effort has been inspired, in part, by their lifelong love of canines.

Married for more than 50 years, the couple has always had dogs in the family -- most notably shelties.

“They’re not the brightest things in the world, but they’re fun and they’ve always got a smile on their face,” Gary said.

“At least when a guy comes home at night a little late or something, they’ve always got a smile on their face.”

Their current sheltie duo -- Bernie and Ranger -- accompany the Andersons between their Prince Albert and California homes.

As time passes and their much-loved pets die, they’re quickly replaced by another sheltie so the other has a friend to chase around the property, Gary said.

Reflecting on how she feels about the new Prince Albert SPCA facility on North Industrial Drive finally opening, Paulette appears on the verge of tears and has to pause for a moment before answering.

“I couldn’t walk down (the former facility’s hallway) and see the animals in cages, but now I know in their transition they have a wonderful place to stay until they do find their forever home,” she said.

“My emotion is with the animals.”

The Prince Albert SPCA is celebrating the grand opening of their new facility, at North Industrial Drive, on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Although the facility has been open for five weeks, Lehner said that Saturday provides the public with an opportunity to both tour the new facility and celebrate in their collective success.

Organizations: Prince Albert Collegiate Institute, Art Hauser Centre, Prince Albert

Geographic location: California, Mexico

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