Meet the Jones Family – From Clients to Dedicated Volunteers

By Leann Soon

We would love to introduce you to the Jones family, comprised of Colleen, her daughters Rebbekkah and Naomi, their three cats (Nemo, Tazz and Princess Peanut) and two guinea pigs (Oliver and Dodger*). They truly exemplify why Parachutes for Pets continues to do what it does, what your donations and help mean, and how doing good can really come full circle.

All three Joneses are volunteers, but they also all suffer from the same medical condition. They each have bad days and good days, but this past winter, many things culminated that led to them becoming clients of Parachutes for Pets – Colleen’s ongoing disability, no secure family income and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions hampering efforts. It was very hard to make ends meet, and winter utility bills started piling up. The family was relying on the food bank for themselves, but they had their furry family members to feed too, and short-changing their food was not an option.

They reached out to Parachutes for Pets for help, for which Oliver, Dodger, Tazz, Princess Peanut and Nemo were grateful. Slowly, things started looking up – Colleen qualified for disability and the Joneses were able to pay their bills and regain their footing. With spring around the corner, the family started discussing volunteering with Parachutes for Pets one Saturday to see how it went. While they went through some very rough patches, they are unanimous that their animals are what helped get them through, and they wanted to repay Parachutes for Pets for what their animals received. Colleen says she’d be lost without her animals – a sentiment all of us agree with!

Luckily for us, that one Saturday was just the beginning, and now the Jones family are regular volunteers. And not only the three wonderful women, but their three-year-old ginger Bengal cat, Nemo. In fact, he plays such an integral role in their hamper deliveries that he has a whole other persona when volunteering – Supervisory Special Agent Nemo. A typical delivery date looks like this: Naomi organizing, Rebbekkah navigating, Colleen driving and Nemo supervising – he loves car rides and being in the thick of things, and everyone’s treat after a day of deliveries is a nice hike.

One fun fact: did you know that guinea pigs purr when they are content? When Nemo exudes confidence in his supervisory role, he actually suffers from anxiety, so when he’s stressed out, he’ll lay on Oliver and Dodger’s cage and purr with them. If you want to follow his escapades, follow his Instagram page: @jonesfamily_kitties!

When asked, the Joneses share the same sentiments about what Parachutes for Pets has done for them, both as clients and volunteers. Having experienced the gratitude of a hamper themselves, they love seeing people’s spirits lift when they receive a delivery. They have met some of the coolest people through Parachutes for Pets: other volunteers and people who are getting help. Colleen really feels that doing good things really helps manifest other good things – something else we all can agree with! While some days can be exhausting, she still says her heart has the biggest grin in the world – lovely! Ultimately, everything they and Parachutes for Pets do comes down to love of animals, because everyone shares the same care and concern for their pets.

Thank you to Colleen, Rebbekkah and Naomi (and Nemo)! We are so lucky to have you as ambassadors!

*This blog was written before the June heat wave, and unfortunately, even though the Jones family tried everything they could, Dodger succumbed to heatstroke. Nemo and Oliver are comforting each other and the rest of the family.

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