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Shiba Inu Rescue Association (SIRA): COVID-19 Operation Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Our grant from the Petfinder Foundation was used to help address veterinary costs for a group of 13 dogs rescued from a commercial breeding facility during the coronavirus crisis. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we had to adapt our usual process quickly in order to be able to get the dogs to safety and address their immediate medical needs while protecting our volunteers and foster homes from unnecessary exposure.

A commercial breeder/puppy mill contacted SIRA to take 13 dogs that it could no longer keep. These dogs ranged in age from older puppies (10 months) to breeding females who were no longer productive. The coronavirus crisis restrictions hit as we were making our final plans to retrieve the dogs. Knowing that the lives of these dogs could be at risk if we delayed or cancelled our plans, we went ahead with our scheduled plan, with volunteers travelling to another state to retrieve the dogs.

We changed our typical process for vetting newly rescued dogs. Rather than ask each foster home to schedule exams and spay/neuter surgeries with our partner vets, our volunteer made arrangements with one vet hospital to examine all 13 dogs, update vaccinate as needed, and perform spay/neuter surgeries and other necessary medical treatment. Several dogs also required dental procedures, including one dog needing extractions. The dogs were transported to their foster homes two days later.

We continue to work with our foster homes to ensure that all of them have the necessary food, supplies, and equipment to care for their dogs despite interruptions in income. We are pleased to report that a month after the 13 dogs came into rescue, adoptions have begun. Three of the younger male dogs have been adopted to fully screened, approved applicants.

The total cost for this vet care exceeded $5,000, an amount of money that has drained our small rescue's resources. The Petfinder Foundation grant, along with individual donations raised in a social-media campaign, have helped us to cover these costs. We are deeply grateful to the Petfinder Foundation for acting so quickly to help small rescue groups like SIRA during this unprecedented crisis. Because of your support, we have been able to sustain operations and have not had to suspend intake.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Bobby is one of the “Lucky 13” dogs rescued by SIRA during the coronavirus epidemic thanks to a grant from the Petfinder Foundation. When Bobby first arrived in his foster home, he was very fearful, skittish, and emotionally shut down. But he quickly learned that his foster family was kind and gentle and that a home was a pretty good place to live, with soft beds, things called toys, and lots of good food to eat.

Once he began to relax, Bobby’s true personality emerged. Bobby is a year and a half old and still has a lot of “puppy” energy. He loves to be outside and quickly learned to walk on a leash. While he’s still skittish of new sounds and sudden movements, he adapted quickly to living in a home very different from the commercial breeding facility where he was born.

He learned quickly to trust his foster mama, enjoying keeping her company while she worked from home and enjoying petting. He loves treats and playing, and has been known to hoard all the toys in the house.

Once Bobby was potty trained and fully recovered from his neuter surgery, his foster mom confirmed that he was ready for adoption. Bobby got his happily-every-after on Easter Sunday, when his adoption was finalized. While saying goodbye is always bittersweet, Bobby will always be a part of the SIRA family, even now that he has his forever home. These photos show Bobby’s journey from a scared pup who cowered in a corner to relaxing in his very own tee pee!

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