Jody Stockfish 

The faces at Whistler Animals Galore (WAG) can change from week to week.

Sometimes they are furry and brown with pointy ears and a wet nose. Other times they're shaggy and grey with baleful eyes and a goofy smile.

But for the last three years one face has been a constant: executive director Jody Stockfish.

But she's packing up her three WAG dogs - Jakey Bird, Sid Nibbler and Jed McBubbs - which she has adopted over the years, and is heading back east to Meaford, Ontario to work with another animal organization called the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society.

Since August 2000, when WAG first officially started running its day to day operations, there have been about 350 different furry faces which have left the shelter to find a new place in the world.

For Stockfish her new place in the world is an opportunity of a lifetime and she's excited for the challenges ahead.

At the same time she can't help but be a little sad.

"I feel like I'm the luckiest person on earth," she said, surrounded by four kittens in WAG's shelter last week.

"This has been such an honour."

Since Stockfish has been with WAG, the shelter has grown into a vibrant essential service in the Sea to Sky community, protecting and enhancing the lives of lost, unwanted and homeless animals.

For any animal lover, the job seems like one of the best in Whistler. There's always a friendly bark or a wet nose pushed against your finger throughout the day.

And there's the reward of seeing animals go off to loving homes.

But there have also been some tough calls along the way.

"The hardest thing I've ever had to do is on two occasions to put two animals down," she said.

The two dogs were the same breed - Presa Canarios.

These dogs are bred to be distrustful of strangers and Stockfish was concerned about WAG's liability if they were ever adopted into homes. One of the dogs had already been deemed dangerous by a judge.

Nonetheless, WAG is a no-kill shelter and it was a tough decision.

"Because it feels like you fail," she said.

"My philosophy is that we are the dogs' stewards. We have to speak out and act on their behalf. Humans have failed them."

While ending these dogs' lives was a low point, one of the highlights of her time at WAG was witnessing the midnight birth of a litter of puppies.


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