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HELPERS: Bradford soap maker's love for animals benefits local shelters, rescues

'It's not a 'me' thing, it's a 'we' thing,' says local animal lover, supporter

Bradford's Carolyn Penrose has always had a love for animals, but it wasn't until she was an adult that she began advocating for their welfare, volunteering her time to causes and donating money to local rescues through her soap-making business. 

It all started 11 years ago when she was driving in her car to work one day and heard about mass euthanasia happening at the OSPCA shelter in York Region. 

The facility had planned to euthanize 350 animals due to an apparent ringworm outbreak. 

"I thought, I had to do something, I was on my way to work, I turned around, called in sick, I just felt this calling," she said. "My heart broke and I knew I had to help, somehow. I drove to the site, sat in my car in tears, not knowing what to do."

A gentleman nearby approached her, told her to wipe her tears, grab a sign and join the other protesters who had gathered outside the facility. 

That group continued to grow in size over the course of a few months, picking up media attention. Penrose picketed with them from May until October, rallying for change. Unfortunately, 102 of the resident animals were euthanized, but collectively, with the help of local vets, the protesters helped to save roughly 240 of them. 

"Collectively with the help of some local area vets, we managed to save roughly 240 animals," she said.

From there, her advocacy continued, rescuing animals and donating whenever she could.

Penrose is known in the community for her advocacy and is often tagged in posts on Facebook or contacted by residents whenever there is a missing pet, or animal found in distress. 

Penrose also has three rescue chihuahuas of her own: Rosie, Billy, and Sophia. 

"I kind of became known in the area as an independent rescuer, so whenever there was a need I would step up," she said. 

"I don’t like this to be a 'me' thing, it’s a 'we' thing," she said about her efforts to help. "It's my passion."

When she isn't able to physically volunteer her time, she donates financially, while fundraising for local rescues, donating 100 per cent of the proceeds from the end cuts of her handmade soaps.

Penrose has her own soap-making business, Carma Soap Co., producing anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 bars of soap per month.

"I wanted to help somehow, so the end cuts from the soap we make here at Carma Soap Co., are packaged up and donated to various rescues," she said.

She usually selects two rescues per year to donate the proceeds to. Some of the rescues she has supported include Speaking of Dogs, Buttonnoses, Mattie's Place, Tyson 'n Friends, Procyon Wildlife, and Uxbridge Cat Rescue. 

When the pandemic hit, Carma Soap Co. donated bottles to Redline Brewhouse in Barrie who had re-tooled their brewery to make hand sanitizer for frontline workers. As a thank you to their workers, Penrose also gifted them some soap for sharing their efforts to help our frontline workers.

"We gifted the nurses at Southlake with packages of end cuts to thank them for serving in our health care system. We also were asked to provide these little soap ends for the PSWs at a long-term care facility in Barrie, to thank them for their tireless work to keep their residents safe from the pandemic," she said. 

Carma Soap Co. always has end cuts for sale and donates the proceeds to one of the rescues. Should anyone like to purchase one, they can do so from her Bradford studio online here

"Our world is struggling, it costs nothing to be kind, most especially for those who cannot help themselves," she said.