Cora and Mado, Vancouver, CAN
Identity: Non binary queer lesbian

‘My immigration advisor messed up and I received a letter stating that I had to leave Canada because my application had been denied. After a lot of paperwork, stress and general panic I finally had an email saying that my new visa had been approved. The very same day I got a notification that one of the rescues I had applied for was having an adoption event on the weekend. I took it as a sign and adopted Mado the same day. I was determined to make a life and family for myself here.

I left France 10 years ago now, so maybe a lot has changed, but being non-binary is certainly not something I could have explained to my family. I don’t think I would ever have had the freedom to be myself had I stayed in France. And I guess that’s why some queer people, because of who or how we look, end up in some bad situations - because we had to leave the security of all that was familiar. Yet family, that sense of home, that unspoken feeling of being part of the fabric of society, of being necessary is what life is all about. I think people understand that a bit more having lived through Covid. But that’s why I think queer people sometimes struggle, because we can’t always be with our original family. We can’t always just pop round for gatherings and holidays - not that we were kicked out, or that there was any animosity, just that we could never have flourished where we’re from. Like everyone, I need family, and I’ve started to build it with Mado.

Mado came with a lot of issues. To this day she still refuses to leave the house if I'm not there and she refuses to walk on leash more than a block or two. But she’ll run off leash for hours on the trails or at the beach. During the pandemic I realized that my only joy was to walk Mado. So I started walking other dogs and made the decision to quit a very well paid career and do something that I really made me happy. All of the rescue dogs that I walk are teaching me so much and I want to help them more in return so I’m studying to get a trainer certification to help all the skittish rescues of this world (but also a huge part of me just wanted to take that course so I can finally walk Mado on a leash for more than two blocks!).

Mado has taught me that it’s okay to ask for help, that it’s okay to talk to a therapist and that it’s okay to completely change careers. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Mado.’

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