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Spca’s ‘Top Dog’ Salutes Outstanding Volunteers

SPCA Nestlé Purina National Volunteer Awards celebrates people nominated by their communities for their selfless and generous support of animal welfare.

Thousands of volunteers all around the country sustain the work of New Zealand’s largest animal welfare charity and just in time for National Volunteer Week, six of them receive a certificate of recognition, a Purina prize pack of goodies and a phone call from SPCA’s ‘top dog’ CEO Todd Westwood.  

“Speaking with these generous people you can hear their commitment to something bigger than themselves, their belief in community and their singular dedication to animal welfare. They are vital to us,” Mr Westwood says.  Among the category winners this year is a woman who has fostered more than 550 kittens, though not all at once of course. One winner makes little eco-friendly toys from recycled newspapers for animals who have been rescued. Another volunteer juggles work with small animals in and around her fulltime studies.  

Nominations from the length and breadth of the country describe individuals who make significant sacrifices to give time and energy to SPCA. Mr Westwood says many volunteers do this work on top of their own fulltime jobs balancing busy lives in challenging times.  

“The work is huge and SPCA owes an enormous debt of gratitude to all our volunteers and everyone who supports us. To the winners, we are so grateful to you, and I hope you feel extra special and appreciated by all of us,” Mr Westwood says.  

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“We survive on your kindness and because of you more animals enjoy full and happy lives.”  

Mr Westwood says he is extremely grateful to SPCA’s loyal partner Purina, who has sponsored these awards for nine consecutive years. 

“Purina is a dream partner who also provides essential Purina One nutrition to feed the thousands of cats and dogs in our care. We couldn’t care for animals the way we do without their help.”  

Nestlé Purina New Zealand Country Manager François Le Berrigaud says celebrating the thousands of generous people who volunteer at the SPCA is a very special time of year.  

“At Purina, we believe pets and people are better together and these volunteers share this passion in their dedication to making a real difference for animals. Purina supports the SPCA by providing over 100,000kgs of food annually to feed the animals in its care. I encourage anyone who may have some time available to get involved and help in any way they can.”  

2024 SPCA Purina National Volunteer Awards winners  

Young Volunteer – Kytti Kane - Dunedin  

Devoted Volunteer - Felicity Bowden – Māngere  

Fantastic Foster Family – Mel Knapp - Dunedin  

Going the Extra Mile – Janet Levy - Wellington  

Outstanding Op-shop Team – Cambridge 

Sensational Centre Team – Christchurch  

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