After 24 years serving people and finding thousands of homes for animals, Maureen Adams is ready to close down the Great Haliburton Feed Co. Sep. 27.

The business struggled through tumultuous years, with a destructive fire in 2014, difficulty finding a facility in 2018 and the sudden passing of Adams’ husband and store co-owner Charles McAleaney in January. Adams sought a buyer for the business for months, but no sale came together.

The shelves of the store are clear. The last of the pet supply – a trio of older cats – have found good homes, Adams said.

“It makes me very sad that I’m leaving,” she said. “I’m proud because I’ve heard back from people how either my helping them with their animal, or them adopting an animal, had an impact on so many people’s lives. I’m very proud of that.”

The store spent decades uniting stray and rescued animals of all kinds with people who loved them. Now, those people are sharing that love with Adams.

Famed designers and television hosts Collin McAllister and Justin Ryan are two of the people to get pets from the Great Haliburton Feed Co; their cats Beamer and Brutus Small. The pair started a GoFundMe Sept. 20 to help Adams as she closes her doors and enters what may be retirement.

“We’re a business of two as well,” McAllister told The Highlander. “The thought of my partner not being there to support me … we really felt for Maureen.

“We decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign to try and give her a bit of a send-off.”

The campaign started with a $7,000 goal and raised more than $5,000 in three days. Dozens of people have left messages to Adams about her work and the impact of the pets they got from the store.

“Maureen was our black cats’ godmother and has protected and cared for so many furry loving souls. She’s made an impact in so many Hali hearts and homes! She deserves so much,” wrote Claudia and Steven Bekker.

The impact of the business on Haliburton is evident, McAllister said.

“This is a really good, feel-good story, which is why it should have a really good, feel-good ending,” he said.

Adams said caring for animals never made her rich and she appreciates the support.

“I don’t have words to express how grateful and thankful I am,” Adams said. “Those words don’t sound like enough to express feelings. I’m very humbled. They’re very kind, kind people.”

The closure of the store now leaves a gap in coverage for animal care in Haliburton County, which has concerned neighbouring groups like Minden’s Cat Angels.

Adams said she’s shared many laughs and tears with people over the years who she will miss. But she added there are many people out there helping issues like animal welfare without recognition.

“Civilization boils down to lots of people doing small, good deeds,” she said. “There’s many millions that do small things on their own that improve the lives of animals or children or people. We just never see it.”

You can donate to the GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/f/animal-saviour-desperately-needs-your-help.

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