Rocky Billotsoton is helping to keep the NWT SPCA spick and span.
He’s been a labourer with Kavanaugh Bros Ltd. for more than 30 years and for the last few months, the company has been sending him to work every Wednesday afternoon at the shelter.
“I’m happy, I don’t mind doing, (shelter volunteers and staff) can look after the inside work, I can look after the outside,” he said.
It’s a skill that’s certainly appreciated.
Leigh Harris-Carlson, shelter manager and vet tech, says that Billotsoton’s help has been invaluable, especially with the cleanup of a winter’s worth of mess at the shelter.
“It takes the pressure off the staff,” she said..
“There’s so many animals, we’re always full to the brim, of all ages, all needs … it’s just constant keeping up the care of the animals is 24-hour job. So any help we can get, or anything that makes it easier.”
Rocky was also behind the solution to a stinky problem when he noticed the “overwhelming” number of bags of dog feces that staff had to transport to the dump in their private vehicles – sometimes up to 20 bags a trip.
“He in the dead of winter started poop scooping all the different layers of poop that had accumulated,” said Harris-Carlson.
“When Rocky went back to Kavanaugh and said you won’t believe what they’re doing up there with their poop, because it can’t go into the regular dumpster, they’ve come back since and we have our very own poop dumpster.”
The new dumpster joins the regular one Kavanaugh had already donated to the shelter. The two dumpsters are supplied and emptied by the company for free.
“We made a donation to the SPCA as we highly value their services that they provide to our community and territory,” said Peter Houweling, general manager at Kavanaugh. “At the end of the day, it’s a group of volunteers looking out for the better of animals in our area and we wanted to do our part to help promote them and make their business as efficient as possible so they can afford to help more animals rather than dealing with garbage.”
Kavanaugh turns 50 this year, and Houweling says the company has another sizable donation planned for a local cause to celebrate, but the details haven’t been announced yet.
In the meantime, Billotsoton will keep helping at the shelter. Kavanaugh still pays for his work, and he gets the chance to help animals in need.
“(Rocky’s) nearing retirement and so we looked at some different ways of how we could be involved in the community,” said Houweling. “It was a balanced approach to have Rocky get some exposure to something different and create a positive effect.”
Billotsoton said the experience has been a good one.
“It’s totally different,” he said. “I do like dogs, when I was a teenager I did have dogs, but as I was growing up through the years … I just never had a pet after that.”