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Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS): Kia Pet Adoption Grant Report

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

PAWS utilized this generous grant from the Petfinder Foundation to offer fee-waived adoptions for cats and dogs in our care. Doing so gave us a chance to tell our animals' stories to a new and wider audience, and encouraged people to open their homes and hearts to animals they might not have considered otherwise. It began conversations that led to excellent matches, new beginnings, and second chances for other animals who were waiting for those spaces in our shelters and foster homes.

The changing profile of the homeless pets who need us most is an illustration of our progress toward becoming a no-kill city, but it also brings challenges for finding adopters. As rescue resources have expanded and surrender prevention efforts have become more effective, most of the animals whose lives now hang in the balance in the city’s animal control shelter are sick, injured, or suffering from age-related conditions. PAWS is a primary lifesaving outlet for these pets. PAWS rescues cats and dogs from the city shelter who are at risk of euthanasia due to medical issues (contagious disease, metabolic disease, injuries, and other ailments), age (neonates and seniors), or behavior (shy and shut-down cats or energetic/anxious/unsocialized dogs).

We are one of the few rescue partners with significant in-house veterinary resources, and the priority we place on saving pets unlikely to find an alternate live-exit opportunity is a key element of our strategic approach to partnering with the city shelter to reduce the euthanasia of savable animals.

However, it also means that we are constantly searching for adopters who see the benefit of adopting a senior pet to give them the brightest golden years or who understand that pets with chronic illnesses or disabilities have just as much love to give.

This grant gave us the flexibility to waive adoption fees for these pets, removing a barrier and making it more financially feasible for adopters to welcome a new family member who might need extra care.

We deeply appreciate this support. It inspired people to step forward to expand their families and in turn, freed up space for us to rescue more homeless pets in need.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant has already allowed us to offer 45 fee-waived adoptions and will enable us to offer at least 35 more. However, the number of pets helped is far greater because every pet that gets adopted represents two lives saved: the adopted pet, now in a loving home, and the cat or dog we rescue who takes their place in our shelter.

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

Smoothie King (first photo) was one dog helped by this grant.

Large dogs constantly flow into Philadelphia’s shelters, whether as strays, surrendered by owners who are facing heartbreaking hardships, or due to challenging behaviors stemming from a lack of routine, training, and socialization.

Smoothie King is one of these gentle giants. He was taken to the city’s animal-control shelter by police officers who found him roaming outside. He developed a debilitating case of pneumonia in the shelter, and PAWS rescued him to give him the veterinary care he needed.

He was exhausted and wheezing, so we placed him in a loving foster home where he could heal, thanks to antibiotics and a comfy couch to snooze on! Once Smoothie King was feeling better, he was made available for adoption, but with so many large dogs looking for forever homes, we knew he could have a long road to find his perfect match. Thanks to support from the Petfinder Foundation, we were able to waive all dog adoption fees in August, including Smoothie King’s. He was adopted on Aug. 30 and quickly became a cherished member of his new family!

Bette (second photo) is a cat who was helped by this grant.

FeLV is an often misunderstood disease and can cause even the sweetest of cats to be overlooked. PAWS rescued Bette in January 2022 from the city’s animal-control shelter, where this sweet senior tested positive for FeLV. She waited for two months before finding what we hoped would be her forever family. Unfortunately, she returned to PAWS when her adopter developed severe allergies.

Bette became a staff favorite at our Old City Adoption Center, winning everyone over with her friendly and affectionate ways. Because she was both FeLV+ and a senior, we knew it might take some time before the right person came along and fell in love with Bette.

Funding from the Petfinder Foundation covered her adoption fee, enabling us to encourage a first-time adopter to give Bette a second look. Soon, she was on her way to her forever home, and her new companion couldn’t wait to start filling Bette’s golden years with comfort and love!

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