How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?
The grant helped us care for the animals at the NKLA PAC while they waited for adoption. With capacity to house 80-90 dogs and 50-60 cats, half of the PAC’s kennel spaces are reserved for NKLA Coalition members to showcase their animals pulled from L.A.-city shelters. This means that half of the animals that get adopted from the PAC were pulled from shelters by Best Friends, and the other half were pulled by other rescue groups. The PAC provides 24-hour animal care for all pets, trainers, and volunteers, facilitates the adoption process for every pet, and passes along all the adoption revenue to Coalition members. The Dogly Do Good Grant helped support these operations and in particular the enrichment we give every dog who is waiting for their forever home.
Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.
Filthy, underweight, and covered in wounds—that’s how Samson arrived at one of the L.A.-city shelters. An NKLA Coalition Partner, Labs and Friends.org, pulled Samson from the shelter and brought him to the NKLA Pet Adoption Center for healing and adoption. “When I arrived to pick him up, a staff member had to carry him out,” says volunteer Lotta. “He laid him on the pavement by my car, and Samson just laid there, no willpower to stand.” For weeks, Best Friends staff and volunteers worked tirelessly with Samson to help him build confidence, overcome his fear of people, and heal from a life of neglect.
While Samson was regaining his trust in people, U.S. Marines veteran Doug was searching for a therapy dog with the help of another NKLA Coalition partner, Hounds and Heroes. Doctors helped heal Doug’s physical wounds after he survived an explosion in Afghanistan in 2013, but he was left with emotional scars. Like many veterans, Doug was battling PTSD, so doctors suggested he get a therapy dog. Doug visited the NKLA Pet Adoption Center and met a few candidates, but he didn’t make an instant connection until he met Samson.
Doug was drawn to how well Samson stayed by his side on-leash, giving him the sense of security he desperately needed. “When no one’s around, I’m on edge,” says Doug, who endures seizures, frequent headaches, and vivid nightmares about combat since his service. “But just having Samson around makes me more comfortable and relaxed.”
Labs and Friends.org was so moved by the instant friendship that Samson’s adoption fee was waived. “It was our small way of saying thanks to the troops for all they do for us,” says Julie Jones, founder of Labs and Friends.org. “We wouldn’t have a free country if it weren’t for veterans, so we just wanted to do something.”
Bonnie-Jill Laflin, founder and CEO of Hounds and Heroes, says Samson’s instant effect on Doug isn’t a surprise. “So many veterans get paired up with a dog and then tell me that it has saved their life,” she says. “The suicide rate for veterans is now 22 per day, so not only are you saving a dog’s life who would have been euthanized at the shelter, but you’re also saving a hero’s life.”
While that may seem like an obvious win-win situation, Bonnie-Jill says it still takes teamwork among rescue groups and shelters. “Best Friends has been such a great help with all of the NKLA Coalition partners,” she says. “Everyone’s been so helpful and just phenomenal in the way they handled this situation. It was a total team effort.”