Love of dogs a window to the soul

Steve Marshall Ford supportive of employee Michelle Godecke's work to foster Nanaimo SPCA dogs

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It’s been said that dogs are the only creatures that love you more than they love themselves and that the world would be a better place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally.

Perhaps it’s why, for the past 10 years, Michelle Godecke has demonstrated her love for dogs through her work fostering abused, neglected or otherwise distressed four-legged friends in her community.

Godecke comes by her love of dogs naturally, always having had dogs in the home. As an infant, she was photographed hugging Chico, a German shepherd twice her size. Then there was Muffin. Godecke’s mother brought home the St. Bernard pup and Muffin soon grew into a very, very large addition to the family home.

As an adult, Godecke has owned several dogs of her own, including a German shepherd, a bullmastif, three pitbulls and a Cairn terrier with a superiority complex, but it wasn’t until 10 years ago she decided to start lending a hand by fostering dogs in need of a stepping stone to a forever home.

“I’ve lost count, but I guess I’ve had over 50 dogs go through my home in that time,” said Godecke. “I’ve been asked why I do it, and my answer is simply that, if I can help, why wouldn’t I?”

By fostering animals in distress, Godecke provides them with a stable and normalized environment not available in a shelter kennel. In her home she is able to provide medical care while integrating the foster animal into her home where they get to socialize with her dogs and with family and friends.

“It takes some time, but it’s a way of getting the measure of the dog so they can more effectively be adopted by a family where a good match between the new owners and the adopted dog can be established,” explained Godecke.

One reason Godecke’s love of animals is practical has to do with her place of employment.

For the past 18 years, Godecke has worked at Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln where Marshall and his daughter, Leader and Dealer Principal, Ann Marie Clark, both have a tremendous love of animals and have been very supportive of Godecke’s passionate foster work with dogs. The dealership has not only encouraged Godecke to bring her four legged companions to work (she has a dog-bed in her office for her doggie visitors)  but also has made it clear that customers are always welcome to bring their own dogs down to browse the inventory of Fords and Lincolns. Water dishes and doggie treats are always available, and it isn’t unusual to see staff come out to pet canine visitors.

But Steve Marshall Ford has gone a step beyond that welcoming atmosphere by becoming a significant supporter of the Nanaimo SPCA. Much to Godecke’s delight, during the past three years the dealership has contributed more than $25,000 to the organization and continues to host annual events and programs to ensure the continued financial support.

“I’m going to continue to help foster dogs, for as long as I can,” said Godecke. “And I’m so thankful to be able to work at a place where people share my love of animals. It says a lot about who they are.”

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