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Woman from Nanaimo stars in animal hospital reality TV show

Cat sanctuary manager Shena Novotny featured on second season of Animal Planet’s Pets and Pickers
Nanaimo’s Shena Novotny is being featured in the second season of ‘Pets and Pickers’ on Animal Planet. (Submitted photo)

A Nanaimo woman is featured on TV screens for Animal Planet’s Pets and Pickers.

Shena Novotny has been working at the Regional Animal Protections Society in Richmond since 2016. She’s the manager of the cat sanctuary and the adoption centre at the non-profit animal hospital that’s being featured in the reality series.

Growing up in Nanaimo, Novotny had an interest in helping animals as she’d worked with pets from a young age. She rode horses for nine years, worked at her local pet store, and had countless small pets in her home, from hamsters to cats.

She said the series shows important work done at the animal hospital by the dozens of employees and volunteers.

“As long as I can remember, I always had a very strong passion for animals and I always wanted to be surrounded by them,” she said. “It’s amazing [to showcase]all the amazing work we’re doing. We try to improve the lives of and also save as many animals as we can.”

Tyson Hepburn, the Pets and Pickers director also known for Rust Valley Restorers on Netflix, described the shelter as a “one-of-a-kind” pet hospital providing urgent care even when the pet owners can’t afford it. The hospital is funded by ‘pickers,’ who sort through auctioned-off storage lockers to find “hidden treasures” to sell at their thrift store.

Hepburn said he met RAPS CEO Eyal Lichtmann at the animal hospital and found it to be a “heart-warming” place.

“Lots of positive stories coming out of this. So that’s important for people to get some comfort knowing that, hey, this place is real, it really is helping. That’s something that people need these days,” said Hepburn.

The second season is set to air on Animal Planet starting Saturday, May 6 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

Bailey Seymour

About the Author: Bailey Seymour

After graduating from SAIT and stint with the Calgary Herald, I ended up at the Nanaimo News Bulletin/Ladysmith Chronicle in March 2023
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