She has a rescue dog named Butters and two cats, December and Joey, but it isn't a love for just her animals, but animals that don't have a permanent home and she's now being recognized for her efforts.
Lisa Esson moved to Prince George in 2018, but her passion for animals began when she was a child.
"Whenever I saw an animal that needed help, food, water, etc., I’d stop whatever I was doing and I was determined to help. My mom was the same way, she taught me to be compassionate to all living creatures," she tells PrinceGeorgeMatters.
Esson says a stray cat once never left her side and slept on their doorstep for two weeks.
The two developed a bond and after some time, her parents decided to let her keep the cat.
"He became my best friend, we were inseparable," she says. "From then on whenever I saw any kind of animal lost, or hurt, my mission is to save them."
Esson adds there have been more than just cats and dogs, but a racoon, a young coyote, a squirrel that had fallen out of its nest, domestic bunnies, a budgie, a wandering horse, and even a baby seal in Stanley Park in Vancouver.
Her dog Butters was rescued from Bully Buddies which is a non-profit rescue down in Vancouver.
Joey, which is her youngest cat, was rescued by Surrey Animal Resource Centre. Esson says he was a three-legged runt.
Her second cat, she rescued here in Prince George from the Prince George Humane Society named December. She was a surrender.
"All of them I love with all my heart," she says.
Esson has been highlighted by the SPCA during National Volunteer Week.
She began fundraising for the SPCA in 2006.
A friend of hers, as well as coworkers, came together to collect donations and purchased a ton of supplies that the SPCA was in need of and delivered to the personally for Christmas.
She started a bottle recycling fundraiser initiative for the Surrey SPCA, that she has continued to do in Prince George.
Esson says she actively was fundraising more since 2017 during a time where life got really hard for her.
"I've always in one way or another, I've supported rescue my whole life by either donating food, money or even going out of my way to help an animal in distress, including wildlife," she adds. "But more actively fundraising since 2017, a time when life for me got really hard. By helping animals in need, in turn, it actually helped me too."
Since she moved in 2018 to Prince George, she's continued her good will toward the B.C. SPCA in the form of donations but she also helped during the 2018 wildfire evacuations last year.
She hadn't begun holding fundraisers but once she heard the story about a cat named Gloria, that was left in a Prince George landfill.
"Abuse like this honestly makes me so sick I lose my appetite for days," Esson says. "I went to the SPCA to meet Gloria and that’s when I started fundraising for the SPCA’s Treat Week campaign. It was tough! Being new in town I only have a small circle of friends, and of course my friends and family on Facebook."
Esson adds she did run into some problems trying to fundraise with some of the groups in Prince George on social media. In the end, she says she still raised $800 for the Prince George SPCA.
"I am so grateful to those who donated," she says.
Since moving to the city, she has experienced some sad situations with animals, saying she's heartbroken with the amount of lost, stray, and feral cats.
"I have a feral cat living in my backyard that I feed and look out for," Esson says. "I can’t seem to get close enough to the cat to see if it’s in need of medical care so I have reached out to Amanda with Soft Paws here in Prince George to help with that. And also coming from the big city, I’m amazed how these ferals survive the cold winters here. For me personally, I’m glad I moved to Prince George, I love it here. The people in this town are so friendly. There’s less stress and everyone is so laid back, nothing like the Lower Mainland. I have family here as well.."
Esson also gave her time to help animals that were evacuated during the wildfires last summer, by helping the SPCA and jumped in to help walk dogs.
Because the smoke became so thick, they had to wear masks while walking dogs.
A news release by the BC SPCA says Esson would walk up to 13 dogs a day.
"My experience helping the SPCA during the wildfires was very emotional for me. It was a very sad time for everyone," she says. For me, it was to help the animals. Lots of resources were made available for the people, however, all living creatures need our help too."
Esson has also had numerous experiences reuniting lost pets with their owners.
"It's definitely a rewarding experience seeing animals reunited with their families or finding them new families to love them," she adds. "I have found lost dog’s and cats and was lucky they had tags with phones numbers so it was an easy call to their owners. I have seen pet owners visit with their dog’s after being away from them for long periods of time during the fire evacuation. I brought the kitty to Ospika Animal hospital who was able to help me by checking for a tattoo or chip. The family who had rehomed him was so upset with the state he was in, they decided to bring him home and keep him for good."