By Moneca Jantzen

They say life is something that happens while you’re making plans. In the case of Shirley McCaffrey, during the last several months, this couldn’t have been a truer statement.

McCaffrey lost her 14-year-old “furbaby” Harry Ha Ha in early August. Harry Ha Ha was a compelling example of a rescue dog, originally left for dead in the woods in the Cariboo along with several other dogs back in 2003. Shirley met Harry as a volunteer dog walker during the fires of 2003. Central Animal Hospital’s Dr. Lewis had been tasked with euthanizing the animals rescued from this Cariboo puppy mill as none of them were destined to survive — except, quite remarkably, Harry Ha Ha.

Absolutely hairless and suffering with mange and other ailments, Dr. Lewis rehabilitated Harry and Shirley had the good fortune to adopt him.
Harry had grown to be a bit of a legend having had the opportunity to be the mascot for Pilots N Paws Canada (now Canadian Wings of Rescue). He also has a fan club and a Facebook page (1HarryHaHa).

After Harry Ha Ha crossed the Rainbow Bridge in August, McCaffrey’s plan was to do some fundraising in Harry’s memory. Blessed with an incredibly long mane of hair, Shirley wanted to combine two efforts very close to her heart by donating her locks to cancer wigs and raise money for the BCSPCA and their local campaign to build a new facility.

Just as McCaffrey set about building her campaign and getting the word out about her effort to raise money and cut her hair off at the SPCA Craft Fair in late November, she began having some serious health issues. Visits to the ER with stabbing abdominal pains didn’t deter her as she handed out postcards about her campaign to the hospital staff as they tried to determine what was going on with her health.

On one such fateful visit, McCaffrey was finally told the devastating news. She had cancer and it appeared to be in three different places — her colon, liver and lungs.

Since this day, it has been a veritable oddysey—a whirlwind of appointments, tests and much waiting in between. A longtime graphic designer and most recently a server at Scott’s Restaurant, McCaffrey is no longer able to work and understandably has shifted her focus onto her treatment. In spite of everything, McCaffrey still wants to meet her fundraising goal in memory of Harry Ha Ha for the BCSPCA.

For every $500 raised she was going to cut off an inch of hair. While beyond ironic since she herself stands to lose her hair during chemotherapy, her pre-emptive haircut as pictured above, harvested 23 inches of hair. She would like to raise at least $6,000 for the BCSPCA. As of writing, McCaffrey’s campaign has raised just over $3,000. Donations can be made at BCSPCA Champions for Animals https://tinyurl.com/haircutforharry. Tax receipts will be provided.