It all started in December of 2007, but I didn’t know it then. My family and I fostered a kitty named Edward. We were told beforehand that he was a shadow cat. It’s a term coined by many rescues for a cat with extreme shyness; so shy you only ever see their shadows. We picked him up from the pet store that had a viewing room for rescued cats. It was filled with little kittens, and one very shy adult Edward. We brought him home (to our other 6 cats). Not wanting the introductions to happen all at once, he was to stay in my parent’s bedroom for a couple of weeks. After a couple of days we adopted Edward, believing that it was very unlikely he would ever be adopted by anyone else. Weeks in the room turned into a few months. We rarely saw Edward as he spent all of his time under the bed. I would tug him out after school and fall asleep beside him. He was very nervous but loved to be petted and would purr. Eventually we introduced him to our quietest kitty (Minou) and they fell in love. At night Edward started to cry at the door, wondering about the rest of the house and its inhabitants. We let him out and after a few scuffles he seemed to find his place. He stayed with Minou at all times and continued to live under the furniture. It has now been six years and Edward continues to make progress. He will sleep on top of furniture now and he comes out whenever there’s food. He loves pats and cuddles and he even loves to be brushed. I’ve never heard a cat purr so loudly.

I didm’t know when we fostered Edward that we would come to love him almost immediately. I also didn’t know that he would inspire a very important project. Extreme shyness is a behavioural issue that makes it very difficult for the animal to be adopted. They don’t show well among the many other cats, and people who may be interested can be overwhelmed by the time it will take a cat (or other animal) to come around and be interactive.

In July of 2010 I saw commercials advertising the Pepsi Refresh Project on TV. It was a grant competition awarding grants to ideas with the most votes. Those ideas had to help Canada in some way. It sounded like an amazing opportunity to be able to help animals in Ontario shelters/rescues that were having trouble being adopted, just like Edward.
So on August 1st I applied for a $10,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant, with the hope that my idea would eventually become a reality. On August 28th my idea was approved for the voting stage. So from September 1st to October 31st, I was competing for the grant and I ended up in 6th place. I was amazed that I had managed to place so high. It meant I was put in the next voting round (since I was one of the runners up). After the second voting round I came in 2nd place and won a $10,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant!
I want to give animals like Edward another chance and a little bit of extra help. I want this website to help change people’s perception of these animals, as many of them will make amazing pets! I have called this project Second Hope Circle, because it will represent a network of caring people trying to give animals a second chance. This will give us all hope that the animals of Ontario can have a better future.

Kimberley Richards, Project Director

Page last updated March 2016