Cathy Beaumont and Shawn Laari

The 2020 Spirit of PADS award goes to Cathy Beaumont and Shawn Laari.

It’s with incredible sadness that we share that just a few weeks before this award was presented, Shawn passed away. We do not know where our people go when they leave us, but wherever he is, we are quite certain Shawn is beaming with pride. 

What makes this award particularly special is that one of the many nominations that came in for this award was from Shawn himself – who was so proud of Cathy’s incredible heart for PADS and hoped to see her recognized. Others could see – as we do – that they operated as a tremendous team in their efforts to change lives one dog at a time.

Cathy and Shawn have embodied the spirit of PADS for over two decades. They recently completed raising their seventh puppy, Greco. But their work was not limited to puppies – they also show up several times a month to groom service dog Walker who lives in their neighborhood – when the elevator in Nicole’s building went out of order, they came over each day to take Walker out to toilet and for walks.  

Cathy and Shawn have supported both the training department and communications team on copy editing and providing feedback on everything from ADI documents to new puppy program policies. Shawn brought in his vast knowledge in non-profit management to the staff and board – facilitating staff training years ago.  

They are the first to volunteer for events. We’d be hard pressed to think of even one that they have not attended with a pup in tow and their perpetual humour and joy. They participated actively in the inaugural MOVE fundraiser last year with their “brewery bike tour” – matching all their donors personally. Our now staff member, Katie, reflected that when she joined our community as a puppy-raising university student with no car, Cathy and Shawn offered to pick up a stranger and drive her to and from class each week. They listened to her many “is this normal” questions and provided immeasurable support. 

Cathy is part of our Pupdates team and a member of the Community Coaches group. Cathy and Shawn also put their creativity to work regularly – Cathy sews kennel mats (nearly 300 to date!) for all the new puppies and Shawn crafts the “off cuts” into tug ropes for the puppy kits. They cut and sewed all the graduate bandanas that were distributed to our graduates for last year’s grad. 

They are constantly finding new and innovative ways to fundraise – from selling Cathy’s dapper dog Beau-ties to Shawn’s Kitsalano Honey. In March of this year, they undertook their most creative fundraiser yet – we count ourselves so grateful that it meant we got to see Shawn in person just a week before he passed. He sat on the front lawn of PADS as supporters snipped off the many pigtails Cathy had put in his hair to preserve it for wigs for children facing cancer. His great “Shave Off” raised nearly $12,000 – $5000 of which was donated by Cathy and Shawn personally as a matching gift.  

This long list of efforts and accomplishments doesn’t begin to capture their hearts. To Cathy AND Shawn – we are filled with love and gratitude for you both. Congratulations.