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Animal Rescue Foundation, Inc.: COVID-19 Operation Grant Report

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

The funds supplied by this grant were used to cover a night or two of emergency boarding for dogs and a few cats so they could be pulled directly from the overcrowded local shelters, preventing euthanasia as well as reducing the strain caused by the flood of additional pets brought in during the crisis. Thanks to the additional funds from this grant and combined with our other fundraising efforts, we were able to assist an extra 27 dogs and cats in the first month of Covid-19 alone and provide extra boarding and medical care at vet clinics to prevent otherwise unnecessary euthanizing for space at our city shelter. We were also able to pay for a portion of the heartworm treatment of one of the dogs rescued with the last of the grant funds left.

One of the biggest blessings of the grant was that, during a time when everything felt overwhelming and everyone was asking for our help, here was some help being offered to us. The funds stretched further than we thought possible, paying for boarding costs and desperately needed medical care for dogs and cats, and then the donations came in and helped even more. But this grant was there before anyone donated anything and it was the first piece of hope in a time that was incredibly scary for all.

The majority of the dogs and cats rescued during the initial wave of Covid-19 animals have all been placed in foster homes and/or adopted. Our rescue has also doubled its highest intake numbers ever recorded in our first six months and the same can be said for our adoption numbers.

While we cannot say that Covid-19 is by any means over, we are still going strong and our rescue numbers continue to be high, both intake and adoptions. We are amazed by the community response and love of rescue and how everyone is coming together for our animals. Fosters and adopters are stepping up and we are continuing to creatively fundraise. The first help was our amazing Covid-19 grant from the Petfinder Foundation. Our intake group took a deep breath and we knew we could do this, and here we are, nearly four months strong and we are still saving many more lives, thanks in great part to the Petfinder Foundation.

How many pets did this grant help?

16

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

The very same day we received the Covid-19 grant, an urgent plea for help went out from the shelter on a dog they were calling Eeyore — a dog who would soon become one of our very special ARFies.

There are pets in rescue who stop in for a moment, ones who stay for a while and then there are the ones who leave a mark on your soul. The mark I speak of was looking into Eeyore’s eyes and realizing instantly that the life had left him; he was just a shell of a puppy, frozen in fear at the shelter, having shut himself down in the corner of his kennel to the point that he was non-responsive to any outside stimulus (first photo). No noises, prodding, or movements could garner a reaction or proof of life. Eeyore huddled in on himself with his head drawn down so low he was nearly bent in half. A male pit bull-type dog was not a good thing to be around here, and to make matters worse, he was heartworm-positive in an overcrowded shelter. Would anyone give him a chance?

Thanks to a very special foster who opened her heart and home to Eeyore, we were able to give him his second shot at life! First we had to get him home and try to teach him how to “dog.” We knew from past experience that this could go a lot of different ways. So we got the foster home set up with the tools to be ready for anything, and off we went to rescue some shelter pups and kitties.

Eeyore had been brought in on a chain, left with dark stains around his neck that it took many a bath to scrub away. He shook in the corner when we first approached him, but otherwise made no acknowledgement of our existence. So confused and uncertain of what lay ahead of him, Eeyore had to be coaxed out of the shelter and into a car, and from there, things begin looking up.

After giving Eeyore some much-needed TLC, a little bit of coaxing, and a bath, the foster said it as if someone flipped a switch on the super sweet boy and he knew he was safe. Eeyore began to enjoy every minute of his second lease on life. That’s not to say there were no bumps in the road; he had to undergo heartworm treatment, he worked with our behaviorist, he attended training classes, and he had to learn how to eat properly, but for what he had been through, his resiliency was remarkable.

After over three months of diligent foster care, Eeyore was adopted into his amazing forever home (second photo). He was renamed Vito, which means “life,” because, as they put it, he no longer acts like an Eeyore and is now thriving! Eeyore/Vito really is the gentlest soul, and he left an imprint on us all. A heartbreaking sight when he came to us underweight and under-loved, he now has a hopeful, bright future with lots of love, and he will never know a chain again — only the warmth of his family!

We could not have saved him without the help of the Petfinder Foundation, his wonderful foster mom, and all of the support from our community.

We would like to finish with a story from his foster mom, in the voice of Eeyore/Vito himself:

“My foster mom says I am such a smart boy! I have been here for a while now and I am learning how to play with other dogs — two successful interactions with big, playful dogs! They’ve been showing me how to play-wrestle without hurting my dog friends by accident. I have mastered sitting on command, and I even listen when instructed to go to my kennel. I think I’ll understand the inner workings of a household with other dogs in no time. I still don’t understand what toys are, but my foster brothers seem to love them so I’m sure I’ll figure those out soon enough.

“I do in fact have some trust issues, just not in the way they originally thought. I eat my food and drink my water so quickly that I throw up. My foster mom has had to get a little creative with that until I can trust that there will always be more food and water and love. It seems to keep coming — it’s so amazing. This is the best life ever and I am happy. Love Eeyore.”

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