Lillian Courtney holds a degree as a legal assistant with 25 years experience in the field. After adopting a special needs dog named Berkeley, she began to study and research the challenges facing rescues. In April 2014 she helped organize the Charlee’s Angels for the Animals Rally to bring awareness to our outdated animal cruelty laws and petition for amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, seeking to have animals removed from the property category to be recognized as sentient beings.
With 3 rescue dogs and 1 parrot, Lillian is an advocate for the voiceless and strives to bring education and awareness to the plight of vulnerable animals.
“If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. We need to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves if we are going to bring about change in this world.”
President/Founder: Lillian Courtney
I grew up a farm girl and we always had animals around us – some were dumped at our farm, some were found abandoned in boxes in the ditch, and my parents always took them in and gave them a home. Car doors would slam then a frightened dog would run into our yard. My mom would silently shake her head and then go inside to mix a steel bowl full of food. Those dogs never left again - they became part of our family, our pack and lived out their days with us.
I remember clearly my dad bringing home this little wild duckling in a box. He found it in some brush after road crews were clearing for pipeline. The nest was destroyed and the momma duck had been killed. On trips into town or road trips, I would cringe when I saw a box in the ditch or on the side of the road.
My world forever changed when I was about 14 years old. I had this amazing dog named Laddie. He was black with orange paws and orange dots over his eyes. Again, a pup that dad found somewhere in a ditch that found its way to our farm. Laddie was only 2 when he died. I will never forget the day - the image haunts me still. It was a beautiful summer day and we were outside in the yard playing. Down the road you could hear a car come roaring and for some reason Laddie took off across the yard. I chased after him yelling at him to stop. I remember the car clearly - it was the 80's - a big tan colored Impala with Billy T at the wheel, his girlfriend in the front seat and two friends in the back seat. Laddie took off running behind the car as I ran down the road chasing after him. Break lights - oh good they are stopping - no, wait, Laddie is catching up - oh no, please don't - rocks kick up as the car takes off and the driver swings the wheel to the left. The back end of the car catches Laddie and he falls over stiff on the road. Brake lights again - two teenagers peering out the back window laughing and pointing. I stand in the road screaming, dumbstruck. I run after them screaming. They see Laddie on the road - why aren't they helping me. What is he so stiff?
My parents heard my screams and out of the house comes running my dad. The car takes off and I am on the road holding Laddie screaming. I tell my dad that Billy T just killed my dog, that he deliberately turned the car and hit Laddie and they stopped, and they knew, and they laughed at me screaming on the road. My dad called Billy's parents and then went over to see them. Of course, Billy denied it happened but my dad knew and there was nothing that could be done. My heart forever changed that fateful day. The cruelty of youth laughing at my dog, the dog they killed. My first encounter with humanities inhumanity.
When I graduated and moved to the city I adopted a Siamese kitten. We were together for 18 years and we did life together. After she passed, I knew it would be a long time before my heart healed enough to adopt another pet but one day I saw a post for a special needs dog with a spinal cord injury on a local rescue site and I fell in love. His name was Berkeley.
His adoption led our family to adopt a pair of Japanese Chins which were rescued from a puppy mill. In the last few years, two of our original pack crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and while our family was devastated, we realized we could never close our home and we adopted 2 Shiz Tzu rescues, one of which had been abused since he was just a puppy. It has taken 5 years for Belle, our Japanese Chin to overcome the trauma of her puppy mill experience and our family is committed to helping our newest pack members on their healing journey as well.
Our rescues have taught us so much about life, about ourselves, about unconditional love, patience, understanding and grace. We tell everyone we rescued them, but in reality, they rescued us. Every day with them is a gift.
Because of them, I asked myself, “Am I doing all I can to bring about change in this world for the animals?” The answer was “not yet” and that is how I became involved in being an advocate for the animals. Their pain, our voice. Through this forum we hope to bring about education and awareness, hope and prayerfully, change.
Berkeley - just adopted
LaToya - ever watchful
Belle, the Matriarch of our clan
Buttons, Belle and Bandit
Benny - Our Newest Boy