A Crossfield-based animal rescue shelter specializing in taking in stray, injured, and surrendered felines, will honour its founding lady on Feb. 11 with a special presentation at the Crossfield and District Community Centre.
The Tails to Tell Animal Rescue Shelter was founded in September 2010 by Edna Jackson after she recognized the need for an animal shelter in the Crossfield area. She reached out to the community, friends, and family to establish a haven for Crossfield’s lost or abandoned cats and kittens.
On Feb. 11, the board and staff at Tails to Tell are recognizing Jackson on her accomplishments and more than a dozen years of managing the shelter, according to Colleen Holden, treasurer of the charity's board.
She said everyone is welcome to drop by the multi-purpose room at the community centre and share their felicitations on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
“We’re hoping [Edna’s] friends can come by and say hi and thank her – show her how much she’s appreciated,” she said.
The festivities will include a tribute presentation at 1:30 p.m. from Tails to Tell staff to Jackson, along with tea, coffee, soft drinks, and hot chocolate.
“Edna never seems to get enough thanks and as volunteers and the board, we just wanted to thank her,” Holden said.
“She is getting older so we decided we would have a ‘Thank you Edna for rescuing us' night because she’s rescued so many cats.”
Holden said since Edna started Tails to Tell 13 years ago, she has helped facilitate the rescue of thousands of felines.
“We just wanted her to know that we love her, and we appreciate what she does for the cats and she’s so compassionate towards the cats,” she shared.
Now 75 years old, Jackson first opened a store in Crossfield called Critter’s Pet Supply in 2006. Soon after, she rescued a local stray named Thomas and let him live in her store. Thomas the cat later became the mascot for Tails to Tell.
Over the next four years, Edna took in all manner of animals who were dumped (often quite literally) on her doorstep.
“From dogs tied to her door after hours, fish left behind during a move, to even a small kitten tied up in a plastic garbage bag left at her doorstep – Edna saved them all,” read Tails to Tell’s website.
According to Holden, Jackson felt inspired to open an animal rescue shelter after so many animals were left in her care.
"People would bring cats they found and she would keep them in the store and adopt them out," Holden shared.
She added Jackson soon realized that her passion was saving cats, and though she tried to run Critter’s and Tails to Tell at the same time, it became clear the rescue initiative was going to require a full-time commitment.
“So, she closed Critter’s and devoted herself to Tails to Tell and she has never received a dime,” Holden said. “Nobody at the shelter takes an income except for our summer students – 13 years of her life with no paycheque.”
Since its opening, Tails to Tell has rescued 4,500 animals and hundreds more continue to be helped each year. The registered charity has a board of five volunteers who oversee the operations of the shelter, work with committees, and plan for the future.
The shelter is operated solely by volunteers and 100 per cent of the funds received go directly to the care and housing of the cats and kittens.
“These volunteers govern, plan, care for residents, maintain the shelter and raise the much-needed funds to allow us to continue our efforts,” continued the website.
Though Jackson is staying on with the organization, because of her health, she has recently let the board take over the management of the rescue shelter.
Holden said recognizing Jackson for all she has done is long overdue.
“It’s past time that she realizes how much we all love her, appreciate her... and the cats,” she said. “Without her, thousands of cats wouldn’t have been helped and our volunteers are so dedicated to Edna and to the cats.
“We just want to say thank you, Edna. We love you.”