“Everyone wins:” Super-donor to Animal Services reflects on giving

Published Dec. 30, 2022

Buddy Magoo was Donna McCusker’s first connection to Placer County Animal Services.

buddy3She got a call in 2012 from a Southern California rescue group who was working with PCAS to relocate the smooth fox terrier, who was suffering from anxiety in the shelter. They needed someone closer by to host him while they looked for a placement.

McCusker, a Folsom-based financial advisor, picked him up from PCAS – back then, a much smaller and more modest facility – and shortly thereafter she told the rescue group they didn’t need to find a permanent placement; Buddy Magoo was already home.

That call a decade ago blossomed into not just a loving home for a pet in need, but a longstanding relationship between PCAS and the McCusker family, who have donated $40,000 to the shelter in the past two years.

“I’d always planned on giving (posthumously), but came to the conclusion, why wait?” McCusker said. “It’s soterriers rewarding to be able to see the joy and be able to help while alive. We’re very committed to doing philanthropic work to enrich lives.”

McCusker’s donations will support new shade structures that are being built in the dog exercise yards this spring. These will provide a safer and shaded place for dogs to exercise during the summer months. Additional funds will be used for enrichment activities and to expand low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics to help reduce the number of animals coming into the shelter. 

“These generous donations allow us to think big and provide an optimal experience for the animals in our care,” said program manager Katie Ingram. “Our goals are always to save more lives and place more animals in loving homes, and we are so thankful for this support that lets us deepen our impact.”

olive3Buddy Magoo, for his part, spent a decade in the McCuskers’ home – or on the road with them, never leaving their side – before passing away last spring of cancer. The family’s newest PCAS pup Olive, is another terrific terrier who also enjoys traveling by their side and hanging out on the Bocce courts.

Touring the new shelter, which opened in 2016, was an eye-opening moment for McCusker that reinforced her motivation to give back -- “give back and don’t look back” is another refrain she lives by. 

“My husband and I were amazed by the exemplary conditions and work being done at the shelter, by both staff and volunteers,” she said. “Adopt don’t shop is our strong belief in animal rescue work. Everyone wins: the humans and the canines. Our canine gifts from PCAS have added so much joy to our lives  –  not to mention entertainment – on a daily basis.”

For information on how to support shelter animals, from donations to volunteering, click here.