Caledonia Vet’s In Memoriam Fundraiser Is A Lifeline For Pet Owners

Media Release

Caledonia Veterinary Clinic is honouring their late colleague Deby Watts with a fundraising dog walk on October 15 for The Farley Foundation. Deby, who worked at the practice for 22 years as a client care specialist, was a strong supporter of the Ontario-based non-profit. “Deby was the go-to for The Farley Foundation fundraisers,” said Lindsey Farrell-Johnson, Caledonia’s practice manager said “She was the face of our clinic and the first person to ask for donations.”

Starting at the Caledonia Clinic at 1 pm, the walk will circle around Caledonia for just over 3km, overlapping at times with the route Deby took when she walked her Golden Retriever Olivia. 

Deby was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and continued to work throughout treatments. “Deby was unflappable.” Assistant practice manager Kelly Potter stated, “Deby could always find the best in anyone. …We are better people because of her.” 

“Combining our Farley Foundation fundraiser with a walk for Deby is our best way to keep her in our minds.” 

Established in 2002 by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), The Farley Foundation helps low-income pet owners in the province with the subsidization of emergency veterinary care for their sick or injured pets. In 20 years, the foundation has disbursed more than $5 million to over 13,000 pets. 

The foundation’s biggest fundraising event, Fundraise for Farley Month, is held across October. Despite Covid-19, 290 veterinary practices participated in 2021 and raised over $120,000. 

Caledonia Veterinary Clinic has raised donations for The Farley Foundation for 20 years. Lindsey and the team have noticed an increase in need, “In the past few years, we’ve not actually raised the amount of money that we’ve used from the fund. We struggle with asking clients for donations as veterinary bills are already expensive…in this day, with an increase in mental health issues, we see that pets are people’s lifelines. The Farley Foundation helps the most vulnerable, and just by getting help with their pets, it’s one thing that gives people hope.” 

The team at Caledonia is hoping their fundraising walk for Deby can help meet the needs of the community now and in years to come, “We’d love to see this walk become an annual event. Deby’s entire mission in life was about helping people and animals.” 


For more information please contact:

Lindsey Farrell-Johnson: RVT & Practice Manager
Kelly Potter: Assistant Practice Manager
(905) 765 6206

To donate money to In Memory of Deby Watts, Fundraise for Farley click here

The Farley Foundation Key Facts:

  • In 20 years, the foundation has disbursed more than $5 million to over 13,000 pets including 7,190 dogs, 4890 cats, 18 guinea pigs, 2 turtles and one Chinese water dragon. 2021 was the first year donations exceeded 1 million dollars.
  • The Farley Foundation subsidizes the cost of non-elective veterinary care such as surgery (including some dental surgery), hospitalization and diagnostics. The foundation doesn’t cover routine exams, vaccinations, food (including prescription diets), routine spays/neuters and general prophylactic dental care.
  • To be eligible for Farley funding, a veterinarian/clinic must be an OVMA member. There are about 800 veterinary clinics in Ontario that qualify for Farley funding.
  • In 2020-2021, the Farley Foundation assisted 640 Ontario Disability Support Program recipients, 103 Ontario Works recipients, 100 pet owners earning less than $25,000/year, 98 seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement, 68 Canada Pension Plan Disability recipients, 27 participants in the SafePet Ontario program, and 1 retirement home/long-term care facility. SafePet Ontario helps to find temporary foster care for the pets of individuals seeking safety from domestic violence.
  • In 2001, artist and cartoonist Lynn Johnston generously loaned one of her most beloved characters, Farley the English Sheepdog, to the Foundation. The name of the Foundation pays homage to Farley, who died in the comic strip while saving April Patterson from drowning when she fell into a river.
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