Misty and Michael Bass, owners of Bent Tin Baked Goods in Thamesville, pictured with Myriam Armstrong, left, from PAWR. The Bass’s initiative led to 164 cat adoptions in August and a $13,860 donation from their business to PAWR.Photo submitted to The Ridgetown Independent News

A new Thamesville bakery cooked up an idea leading to over 100 kittens and cats being adopted in August.

And on top of that, owners of Bent Tin Baked Goods donated $13,860 to the Chatham-Kent Pet and Wildlife Rescue.

Misty and Mike Bass, who share a deep love for animals, came up with the idea to sponsor an adoption initiative for August through their Bent Tin Baked Goods.

Citizens could adopt a kitten or cat for $50, as the Bass family covered the rest of the $160 adoption fee. This led to 126 kittens and cats getting adopted during the month – and the Bass family happily paid the remaining $110 fee per cat for a total donation of $13,860.

The Bass’ daughter Ava, 11, also contributed financially by donating over $200 she made in a lemonade stand in front of the family bakery earlier this summer.

“We thought this was just a fantastic idea,” said Myriam Armstrong, PAWR Director. “When I told them how many cats were adopted, they were blown away and happy to follow up on their promise.”

“We are immensely grateful for their aid. Their commitment to the welfare of animals is truly remarkable,” Armstrong said of the Basses.

The Bass family moved to the Thamesville area two years ago and opened their Bent Tin Baked Goods at 87 London St. last November.

One of the first things the family did when they arrived from Alberta – even before looking for a site for their business – was looking into local cat shelters where they could volunteer their time, as they did in Red Deer. This led the family to the PAWR animal shelter in Chatham, where they performed a number of voluntary duties.

The Basses were so shocked at the number of cats that come into PAWR regularly that they began fostering felines at their rural Thamesville home to ease the burden on the shelter.

The Basses built 15 catios, enclosed patios where cats can live and move about freely.

They have fostered as many as 60 cats at a time.

When both the shelter and their own catios were maxed out, the Basses came up with the idea for the August adoption campaign.

“Just knowing there was no more space at the shelter and knowing we couldn’t take in anymore is ultimately why we decided to sponsor adoptions,” Misty said. “We thought more people could possibly afford to adopt and give cats a good home, and we would kick in the remainder of the fee.”

“We’re so appreciative and thankful that so many people came in and adopted the cats and kittens,” exclaimed Misty. “That was really amazing.” 

Along with giving so many cats a loving home, the Basses’ adoption campaign also helped lighten the burden on the shelter, allowing staff to focus on their mission of rescuing and caring for more needy animals.

“This partnership not only resulted in many adoptions but also raised awareness about the importance of adopting shelter animals,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said the shelter handles about 3,000 cats a year, as the expense of housing as many as 300 at a time, along with the cost of vet care, has skyrocketed.

“Trying to keep up with the demand and vetting has gotten so expensive that lowering the adoption fee is not an option,” she said.

The Basses were educators in Red Deer, and when the pandemic hit, they opened a bakery in a section of a flower shop owned by Misty’s mother.

“We did it farmer market style, and it took off very well,” Misty said.

The family decided to move to southwestern Ontario two years ago, as Mike was born and raised in Petrolia.

“We were looking everywhere in the area, all the way up to Goderich, for something affordable because the market was crazy,” Misty said. “It was a blessing, God’s direction, that everything lined up, and we found the place we ended up buying, and we found the empty space in Thamesville to open the bakery.”

She said the community has been very supportive of the bakery and has regular customers from as far away as London and Windsor.

The Bent Tin’s specialty is their Butter Bombs.

“They’re our version of butter tarts. We only use butter in the bakery, so it’s an all-butter flaky pastry,” Misty explained. “That’s what has put us on the map and what we sell the most, and our croissants are huge sellers as well.”

The Bent Tin is still on summer hours for the rest of September – Thursdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hours from October to June are Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

“It’s been amazing to have so many people supporting us. We’ve stayed busy, and hopefully, the second year will be the same,” said Misty.

It is the support from the community for their Bent Tin Bakery that has allowed the Basses to pay back the community with their support of the animal shelter.

“Our bakery has always been a place for community, and we are grateful for the opportunity to give back,” Misty said. “We believe every animal deserves a loving home, and we are thrilled to have played a part in helping these cats and kittens find their forever families.”

The Bass family and staff at PAWR hope other businesses consider making a similar commitment to sponsor an adoption campaign for their overcrowded dog and cat population.

Any business or individual interested in this heartwarming sponsorship initiative and helping more local animals find homes can stop at the PARW animal shelter, 405 Park Ave. E. in Chatham (226-996-9969 or visit www.pawr.org for more information.)

PAWR also welcomes anyone interested in adopting a pet to visit the shelter or go online to view the cats and kittens still in need of loving homes.

Even though the Bass’ special sponsorship has ended, the shelter continues its mission to find the perfect match for every cat in their care.

By Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 11, 2023 at 13:07

This item reprinted with permission from   The Independent News   Ridgetown, Ontario
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