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Humane Society of Summit County: Purina and Amazon Treats for the Holidays Grant Report

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

For 48 years, PAWSibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron has served as our county’s haven for victims of animal abuse, neglect, and abandonment and strays suffering from illness and injury. Our staff includes two full-time humane officers who respond to calls, investigate animal cruelty and, as warranted, prosecute offenders. We take the time to nurse animals back to health and find them loving, permanent homes through adoption. We are a no-time-limit facility and adoptable animals are cared for until they find their forever homes. We are also an independent, nonprofit organization directly dependent upon the generosity of our community for funding and supplies.

PAWSibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron was honored to be chosen as a recipient of eleven cases of Friskies Party Mix cat treats through the Amazon Treats for the Holidays grant. The products from the Petfinder Foundation have been used to build trust and foster life-changing relationships between our rescued felines and staff, volunteers, visitors, and adopters.

One way that our staff and volunteers garner trust and bonding is through treats! Due to our mission, most animals we care for at PAWSibilities have experienced and survived terrible situations -- some at the hands of neglectful, abusive humans. With patience, understanding, and yummy treats, we are dedicated to teaching our animals that not all humans are malicious. Over the past few months, our visitors, potential adopters, and volunteers were given packages of Friskies Party Mix donated from the Petfinder Foundation to offer to our adoptable cats to build relationships and ease anxiety. Appealing to our felines’ taste buds with Friskies Party Mix has encouraged the development of confidence and trust for our most challenged cats.

We extend our most sincere appreciation to the Petfinder Foundation for providing PHSGA with the means to continue to give second chances and bright futures to our rescued felines.

How many pets did this grant help?

On Jan. 15, 2016, the day in which PHSGA received its Petfinder Foundation award, our facility was sheltering 120 cats. Within the following few months, our organization rescued 132 cats from desperate situations of abuse, neglect, illness, or injury and provided not only rehabilitative physical care, but also socialization. By coaxing rescued felines into building trust and confidence, we prepare them for successful integration into their new adoptive families. Thanks to the support of the Petfinder Foundation, PHSGA placed 143 cats into loving homes from January 15 to March 31!

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

Begonia’s story at PHSGA started on Sept. 2, 2014. She was barely two months old when she was brought to us after a thoughtful citizen found her alone and helpless. It became evident that Begonia, as she came to be called, would be a bit of an extra-special case for PHSGA staff. Although Begonia was an adorable, healthy little kitten, she had not received any proper socialization before coming to PHSGA. Little Begonia was fearful, anxious, and overwhelmed by her foreign surroundings. She had only ever known the outdoors and had not learned how to bond with humans. It was decided that without extra-special time and effort to win Begonia’s trust, she would not thrive at our facility.

Luckily for her, Begonia’s tough shell won her a coveted spot within PHSGA’s Office Cat Program. At first, Begonia still struggled with her surroundings. She would often hide, dart around, and avoid attention from people. Eventually, though, by observing PHSGA’s other two office cats, Begonia would allow specific people to come closer and learned that people really are not all that bad, especially when tasty treats were involved!

Today, a year after her start in the program, Begonia is much more comfortable, confident, and trusting. She even solicits attention from a handful of regular office employees and allows a bit of a belly rub once in a while! She was also the first cat to inspect and approve of the delivery of Friskies Party Mix from the Petfinder Foundation! A package of these treats, which just happen to be her favorite, have been used to positively reinforce her confident behaviors and further encourage her to trust more people and situations.

Although she still waits for an adoptive family to open their heart and home to her special needs, we now know that Begonia can live a happy, comfortable life as a part of a patient and understanding family – as long as there are treats!

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