Cowichan & District SPCA manager Sandi Trent shows off the awards she didn’t get to receive in person. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

VIDEO: Cowichan & District SPCA wins Branch of the Year award

It was a bittersweet victory for shelter manager Sandi Trent.

It was a bittersweet victory for shelter manager Sandi Trent.

Her Cowichan & District SPCA branch won the coveted Branch of the Year award at the BCSPCA’s annual awards on May 5, but Trent couldn’t be there in person to accept the honour.

While she had made the trip over to Richmond for the annual AGM and awards, she didn’t get to stay very long.

Instead, she had to return to the Valley because the Bell-McKinnon Road shelter had been broken into.

Talk about taking the wind out of their sails.

Nevertheless, Trent and her staff are proud of their accomplishment. There are 36 branches in British Columbia, and Cowichan’s came out on top.

“It was a huge honour that I missed but nonetheless it was very cool and certainly couldn’t have been done without all of the volunteers and our staff,” Trent said.

Cowichan SPCA has an active dog walking program, cat volunteers, foster families, and more.

“There are so many people that volunteer in so many directions, it’s not all shelter based,” she said, estimating they’ve got about 120 volunteers overall.

“It’s fabulous. We couldn’t do it without them that’s for sure.”

The shelter boasts a 96 per cent live release rate, meaning only four per cent of animals don’t make it out of the shelter, something Trent explained is usually because they are too sick or injured to move on.

“We’re pretty proud of that,” she said.

An active community council and massive annual garage sale keep the shelter on solid financial footing, and they were able to complete their financial year at 84 per cent over the branch fundraising budget and at 42 per cent above the budgeted adoption revenue.

“Our garage sale is probably our biggest fundraiser of the year, and that’s coming,” Trent said.

For those wishing to support the cause, the massive garage sale runs the first weekend in June.