Florence’s heart of gold – 50 years of helping animals in need
This year marks SPCA’s 150 years of service. SPCA’s cause and plight for the animals have been sustained thanks to thousands of kind animal lovers and people in our community who choose to donate their time at SPCA Centres and Op Shops. Over the years, they have opened their hearts and homes to rescue animals, donated to our vital work, and ultimately made SPCA’s mission over the past 150 years possible.
To commemorate our 150th birthday, we wanted to shine a light on Florence Butler, a kind woman with a heart of gold who has dedicated 50 years to helping animals in need.
Trotting past the window, every canine knows to stop by Florence’s apartment at the village for love and cuddles. Dog treats in the pantry are at the ready for their arrival, and you can often find furry friends at the end of the lead tugging for Florence to take them home.
Florence has always had an affinity for animals – no matter how big or small. Over her 95 years of life, this has not faltered. “I’m a real animal lover, I absolutely adore animals and couldn’t harm a single hair on their heads,” she says.
Animals have always played a big part in Florence’s life. It started at the age of five when she rescued a stray puppy from a life on the streets and begged her mother to keep him. “He was so filthy and dirty, you couldn’t tell if he had spots, or if he was black or white. I took him everywhere with me. I took him on trips in my pram and we slept together at night, we did absolutely everything together,” she explains.
Over the years, you would be hard-pressed not to find a canine companion by Florence’s side. It was herfondness for animals that inspired Florence to support SPCA’s vital work, and she has been a voice for our vulnerable animals since 1972.
The difference Florence has made over her 50 years with SPCA has been profound. From volunteering at SPCA’s Mangere Centre in Auckland when it was first built in the 1970s, to gathering her girlfriends together and hosting fundraising auctions to raise much-needed funds. Florence was quick to drop everything to aid the cause.
“It didn’t matter what it was, I would do anything to help the animals. I’d rather go without something so I can support SPCA.”
Becoming a Giving Hearts member, Florence’s impact will also be felt for years to come. By choosing to leave a gift to SPCA in her will, Florence knows the animals she cares for so deeply will always have someone fighting for them, long after she is gone.
“I simply can’t understand how anyone could hurt animals, and I want my legacy to go towards them being treated with kindness, respect and love.”
There’s a knock and a bark at the door, and you guessed it, a furry family member from the village has stopped by to say hello to Florence once more. Treats in hand, Florence is greeted by a furiously wagging tail and a goofy, doggy grin that is impossible to resist. Thank you Florence, and to all our supporters for being there for the animals – you are the lifeblood of this organisation and we could nothelp the animals without you.