A lifelong animal lover, Linda Morgan has a deep respect for dogs, cats, farm animals and wildlife in general, so it was natural for her to give back to an organization that helps animals.
A dedicated volunteer with the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society for nearly 30 years, Morgan has been recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her longstanding service. She devotes her time to fostering homeless pets and caring for animals at the SPCA Sudbury & District Animal Centre.
Growing up in a single-parent family in northwestern Ontario, Morgan learned from her hard-working mother that it’s important never to judge people, just to help them and always be compassionate.
“Even though we had little money, my mom wouldn’t hesitate to give to others,” said Morgan. “She also taught us that we should equally respect all animals. In our home, we always had pets, and they were treated very well. Even now, my brother and I always have precious rescues as part of our own families.”
Morgan left Kenora in the mid-1970s to attend university and college. She settled in Greater Sudbury and started her career with the federal government in 1989. Soon thereafter, she began making regular donations to the SPCA.
“I remember seeing a news story about the shelter’s need for help with the over-population of cats, so I signed up with a monthly donation,” she said. “Financially contributing in this way is … easy because the money is automatically withdrawn from your account, and then you get a tax receipt at the end of the year.”
And it’s helpful to the organization because “they receive a regular contribution they can count on to meet expenses.”
In 1992, Morgan decided to donate her time in addition to donating her money. She cleaned cages and helped tend to the animals. At the time, the SPCA also needed more volunteers to help in the community. She soon began co-ordinating events like yard sales and BBQs to raise money and awareness.
“My strengths are organization and planning, and I love meeting people, so events and public speaking became my primary role,” she said.
Thanks to Morgan, special event volunteers are thoroughly trained and well-guided. They even have job descriptions, “a real bonus for developing their résumés,” she said.
Morgan has co-ordinated the centre’s walkathons for the last 25 years. Here in Sudbury, the event evolved into the Friends for Life Walk, which took place at Adanac Ski Hill last year.
“Pets and their parents enjoyed a wonderful day together and participated in many exciting events,” she said, reiterating that “it’s important to note that monies raised locally stay with the local shelter.”
A tireless advocate for the SPCA, Morgan is a true ambassador for pets who need a forever home and she always has their best interests at heart.
She and her spouse, Dolly, have fostered countless animals over their 40+ years together — nearly 50 animals in the last year alone. The couple patiently and gently socializes cats to ensure they are ready for adoption.
“We did, however, have a ‘foster failure’ in our home,” confessed Morgan. “Axel the orange tabby was one of several cats rescued from a northern community and brought to the Sudbury shelter. Unlike the other cats, he was extremely timid and terrified of everything. It was so sad to see him cowering in the corner of his cage every time someone came near.
“Dolly and I have been particularly successful with cats, so we took on the challenge of fostering shy Axel.”
With patience, perseverance and baby steps, Axel was ready to be adopted within a few months. “Problem was, Dolly and I fell in love with the little guy. We adopted him and three years later Axel is still best pals with our other cats and the dog.”
Linda Morgan’s Words of Wisdom:
“Life is about service and thinking beyond only yourself. That’s how we build stronger communities. Every not-for-profit needs volunteers. They’re absolutely essential to the future of the organization. Find something you’re passionate about and reach out to make a positive difference. Your time is worth a million dollars to those you help, and the time you give rewards you a million times over.”
Marlene Holkko Moore is a local communications professional and occasional contributor to Sudbury.com.