Organization for the Rescue of Animals

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We wish to thank all of our supporters who make it possible to rescue and care for so many animals every year either through financial contributions or by donating services, goods or their time.

Special thanks to all ORA volunteers, the faces of the people who make ORA what it is:

Claudia Vecchio

ORA Founder

Claudia Vecchio was born and raised in Milan (Italy). After completing her postgraduate degree in Political Science, majoring in International Law, at the University of Milan, she moved to Brussels where she undertook further postgraduate courses on Law of the European Union. She worked at the Press and Information Department of The EEC and in 1980 she came to Canada.

After a short period of teaching at York University, she went into Real Estate: her motto is “finding homes for animals and people”. She is still juggling her real estate profession with the management of ORA and the care of the many cats under her direct care.

Since her childhood, Claudia has shown a great love and compassion for all animals and a particular attraction to cats. She has rescued stray and abandoned cats on her own for over 25 years. In 2002, she realized that she could no longer carry out these massive rescue efforts by herself. She decided, with Corinne Thaw, to found ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals - a rescue organization that obtained charitable status in November 2002.

Claudia speaks several languages fluently, but finds the biggest challenge comes from interpreting the non-verbal communication of cats.

Claudia’s dream is to create wildlife sanctuaries throughout Southern Ontario - oases where wildlife, endangered by urban sprawl, may find quiet and peaceful areas in which to live undisturbed. She hopes to realize this objective through the donation of land by private landowners. Landowners who wish to ensure that their land will be protected against logging and hunting can donate the land to ORA while retaining right of use during their lifetime while enjoying considerable tax benefits.


Corinne Thaw
Volunteer Fundraiser

Corinne Thaw was born and raised in Toronto. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto. She has rescued animals since her early childhood, bringing home and caring for many injured and sick animals. Corinne has been involved with Claudia in cat rescue for many years even before the creation of ORA. After ORA was founded, she decided to take one year off from her real estate management business and undertook post-graduate studies at Humber College in Fundraising and Volunteer Management, graduating with honors. She couples her full time job in property management with a second career as a volunteer fundraiser for ORA. Fundraising for a small animal organization is a very difficult and exhausting struggle.

Corinne’s favorite pastime is walking in the York regional forest with her three dogs and any other dogs she may be fostering at the time. She enjoys the solitude and peace of the forest and the happiness of the dogs running and playing. Corinne has also shown a great and instinctive ability in dealing with rescued dogs, helping them to overcome the trauma of abandonment and to feel comfortable and loved.

Clara Huang Speer
Volunteer Social Media Director

Clara Huang Speer was born and raised in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario, and she studied music at The Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Waterloo. She currently lives with her husband, Justin, and their two Canadian felines in Los Angeles, California, where she divides her work time as a private piano teacher, freelance writer and copy editor. A friendly advocate for both animals and the arts, Clara likes to give back, so she often finds herself sharing her administrative and marketing talents with local non-profits and national philanthropy groups. Most recently, she has dedicated herself to helping to build awareness for ORA-Organization for the Rescue of Animals, her favorite hometown charity.


Renate Simon
Volunteer Web Director

Renate was born in Romania, near one of Dracula's castles, and shared her cradle with 2 black cats. She grew up in Austria, and came to Canada in 1956, completing her public education here. She studied Geology at the University of Toronto, and Information Processing at Seneca College. After graduation she worked as a geologist in Yellowknife, and as a scientific editor at the Ontario Geological Survey in Toronto. After OGS moved to Sudbury, Renate worked for Ontario Hydro as a Computer/Network Technical Specialist and a Systems Analyst until health and then retirement slowed her down. Now she keeps family and friends' computers in working order, and looks after some websites, including ORA's.
   Renate has 3 cats - Heidi, Nova and Max - and often 2 dogs, Fiona the whippet and Katie the Shi Tsu, that actually belong to a friend.  She has loved animals all her life. When not up to her elbows in computer guts, she likes to read, collect books and art, watch TV, and listen to hard rock music.

Corina Grecu
Volunteer, Pet Massage Therapist

Corina was born in Timisoara, Romania and came to Toronto in 2000. She graduated from the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinarian Medicine, Faculty of Animal Husbandry and Biotechnology, Timisoara, Romania. Corina is a certified animal massage therapist. She graduated in 2006 from Northwest School Of Animal Massage, WA. She has been volunteering for ORA for several years, doing massage for dogs on various events. More about her work can be found at



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