Pets have a way of bringing smiles to our faces, and, even after they die, they leave a lasting imprint in our hearts.
In 2002, Frank Apa, dealer principal and owner of Lexus of Oakville, lost his beloved pet Shih Tzu named Patch. For years, Patch had been a fixture at the dealership, as a mascot, a corporate spokes-dog and a brand ambassador. Patch’s kindness and charm won the hearts of all those who came into contact with him, team members and customers alike.
After Patch passed, Apa wanted to honour the memory of his canine companion, so he established the P.A.T.C.H. Challenge in partnership with the Oakville & Milton Humane Society (OMHS). The program’s aim is to foster a sense of caring and kindness among youth toward animals and each other. (P.A.T.C.H. stands for People and Animals Together Create Harmony.)
The annual challenge has been going strong since 2002. Each August, Lexus of Oakville donates $100 for each vehicle sold to the Oakville & Milton Humane Society. It also accepts donations from the public. The first year of the program saw $13,300 raised, while this year the amount was more than $22,000. To date, the program has raised more than $280,000 for the humane society.
Each year, the OMHS and Lexus of Oakville also presents the P.A.T.C.H. Challenge Award to a youth in the community who has demonstrated kindness. It also visits local schools to teach students about the responsibilities that come with owning a pet.
“Our relationships with animals can change and enhance our lives and the lives of those around us,” said Apa. “Animals have a proven effect on our ability to connect with other people, increase our lifespan, lower our stress levels and improve our self-confidence. They also help to teach us to be kinder and more empathetic to those who are different from us.”
Helping to rebuild
Hurricane Fiona, the fiercest storm ever to hit Atlantic Canada, flooded streets, demolished homes, left thousands without power and caused an estimated $300 to $700 million of damage.
The automotive industry in Canada has responded to the disaster by offering financial relief. The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association has pledged $10,000 to Fiona relief efforts and is appealing to its members to support the donation matching campaign set up by the federal government with the Canadian Red Cross.
Toyota Canada announced that it will support Fiona relief with a donation of $100,000. Honda Canada has told all its associates that any donation they make through the Canadian Red Cross toward disaster recovery will be matched by the company.
The Canadian Red Cross is currently working with community leaders to provide emergency humanitarian assistance, including supportive services such as shelter, food and clothing, and emotional support for those coping with loss.