Posts By: Emily Fromm

Help Your Local Shelter Cope with COVID-19

Are you with a shelter or rescue group impacted by the pandemic crisis? The Petfinder Foundation has grants of up to $1,000 available — apply today.

Coronavirus has impacted everyone — including homeless pets and those caring for them. We reached out to thousands of shelters and rescue groups; all are desperate for assistance. Below, you’ll find the most important ways you can help.

(Use this link to find adoption organizations near you.)

FOSTER (OR ADOPT!)
Fewer pets are being adopted, but they haven’t stopped coming in to shelters. Adoption groups need your help getting them OUT! “With everyone staying home, it’s a perfect opportunity to step up and foster a cat or dog,” says Cathy Boruch of Paws for Life Utah.

And if you’ve been considering adoption, do it now! “It’s a great time, with people spending time at home, to bring a new animal into the household,” says Jacki Dapkus of Surface Creek Animal Shelter in Colorado. “Keep those kids busy training a new puppy!”

DONATE PRODUCT
Groups desperately need pet food and cat litter — and cleaning supplies. “Don’t hoard!” says Julie Edwards of Humane Society of Northeast Georgia. “We need hand sanitizer, bleach, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, etc.” Bobbi and the Strays in New York has had to close its two locations to the public due to the shortage of hand sanitizer.

You don’t need to go to the shelter to donate; most have online wish lists with links to the most-needed items. “We are asking our supporters to leave their old towels and blankets at home, limit their visits to the building, and donate through our Amazon wish list,” says Patricia Suess at Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts. Shelters that are closed to the public can still receive donation deliveries.

VOLUNTEER
Some shelters have told volunteers to stop coming in, but others are desperate for help. Shelters are short-staffed as employees have to stay home to care for their children; many shelter volunteers are over 60 and need to avoid contact. Extra hands are needed to clean, call vet references, take photos for social media, and, of course, socialize the animals.

Any high school or college student who is now without classes would be valued as a volunteer, especially as a dog walker,” says Laura Amlong at Franklin County Humane Society in Missouri. “Interaction with pets can reduce anxiety, and dogs and cats aren’t included in social-distancing recommendations (thank goodness).”

SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Homeless pets need you to network them. “We need additional exposure for our adoptable animals due to slow-downs or cancellations of off-site adoption events, transports, and adoptions,” says Sharon Banaszak of Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Texas.

Please also use your social media to share your local groups’ other needs. “Our priorities are adopters, temporary fosters, donations via our website, and social media exposure to support all of the above,” says Nicole Schiff of Georgia’s Paws Humane Society.

MOST OF ALL, GIVE CASH
I’ll be real with you. I usually ask you to give to us, the Petfinder Foundation, and we distribute your donations to the shelters that need it most. But right now, everyone needs help. So today, I’m asking you to give what you can to your local shelter or rescue group.

Annual fundraising events that many groups rely on have been canceled, adoption fees are drying up and longtime donors are putting their wallets away. Shelters may literally lose the roofs over their heads. “We are terrified,” says Danielle Stewart of Apollo Support & Rescue in Texas. “What will we do if we can’t afford to pay our mortgage?”

And please give an unrestricted gift. “Lots of people want to donate to specific programs or initiatives, but it’s the shelter workers and animal-care attendants who need the support now more than ever,” says TJ Treviño of San Antonio Pets Alive!.

I know everyone is hurting right now, but the good news is, there are many ways you can help homeless pets in your community. Thank you for thinking of them, and please take care and stay safe.

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Abigail

Abi was rescued in 2010 and she was with me for a little bit over nine years. Abi was my best companion and friend during many transitions in my life. She was the most patient, calm and loving dog I could ever have. Across the 9+ years, we lived in eight different cities, including our transatlantic move to Germany 2.5 years ago. During the last year of her life, she enjoyed time in nature hiking with us. Abi passed away very suddenly from an undetected heart condition a day after we got engaged, as if her mission to leave me in the hands of a loving human lifetime companion was complete. We miss her every day. May you be in doggie heaven eating a lot of cheese and getting unlimited belly rubs from the angels. We love you forever, our beautiful wolf❤.–Gloria Cadavid

The Best Pet Transformations of 2019

We asked the shelters and rescue groups that received grants from the Petfinder Foundation this year to send us their favorite rescued-pet transformations of 2019.

Here are just a few of the submissions we received.

Many of these images are graphic. But these are the realities that animal rescuers face on a daily basis. Thank you to the shelter staff and rescue-group volunteers who work around the clock to save these vulnerable pets.

Your donation today can help change more pets’ lives.

The Most Amazing Transformations of 2018:

The Most Amazing Transformations of 2017:

The Most Amazing Transformations of 2016:

The Most Amazing Transformations of 2015:

The Most Amazing Transformations of 2014:

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Max

Max rescued me in 2005 and we were together in this life for a little more than 13 of his 14 precious years. Every day with him was nothing short of a gift. I miss him so much. He was so beautiful, loving, smart and inquisitive….just the most amazing dog I have ever known. He was always there for me with kisses and cuddles, even through some of the toughest times of my life. “Once by my side, forever in my heart” could not be a more accurate statement. I hope all of the pets you help in your organization get the opportunity to find their forever homes and get to experience the love they deserve.–Melissa Lee

Gracie

In memory of our Gracie girl (2007-2019). Thanks to Petfinder, we found two sisters (whom we named Lulu and Gracie) who needed a loving home over 12 years ago. Gracie (on the right) was the sweetest girl with a gentle and loving spirit. Her heart was big and so was her appetite — she was a voracious eater. And she always wanted and usually got a taste of whatever we were eating. She loved her people dearly and always wanted to be close and right smack in the middle of things. She also loved our walks in the park and our trips to the beach. We are heartbroken and Lulu is lost without her sidekick, but we are so grateful for her long, happy, and very spoiled life. Forever in our hearts, sweet girl — you were loved deeply and will be missed dearly. We promise to take good care of Lulu until you meet again.–JoAnn Gomes

Jill


In memory of Jill, the best friend of Shevawn Eaton, who was taken far too soon this past weekend. She will live forever in her heart.–Carole Devine

Charlie

Please give your furry friends a big hug tonight. We lost our Charlie on Sept. 23, 2019, in an attack occurring in our yard. We didn’t hear anything. We have no idea what it was. If you’re like us, and see the stories about animal attacks or even just coyote/owl/bobcat/mountain lion sightings, but don’t think this could happen to you, please remember our Charlie. Let this be yet another reminder that we have a lot of wildlife that will take advantage of those of us that get too comfortable and don’t take precautions.

In our 8 short years together, you watched me navigate college, marry the man of my dreams, and become a mother to two beautiful children. You have been my constant companion through it all, never complaining and always ready for more cuddles. It is so hard for me to accept life without you by my side.

RIP Charlie. You were so special to us and we will miss you dearly.–Audrey Miller

Bauer


In memory of brave Bauer, the Alaskan Corgi who lived a wonderful 16 1/2 years that included daily walks in subzero weather, salmon fishing, and a myriad of other activities with his adoring family.–Carol Wetmore

Getting Dogs Out of Shelters – ASAP!

Shelter dog Cookie with one of her field-trip fosters

We like programs that help homeless pets by breaking down old ways of thinking — like the idea that shelter dogs need to stay in shelters! That’s why we’re supporting field-trip programs, which get dogs out of shelters for a few hours or even days.

These programs have countless benefits:

  • They relieve stress for the dogs, and tire them out so they’re better behaved when they get back to their kennels.
  • They let volunteers collect valuable information about (and take adorable photos and videos of) the dogs in real-world settings.
  • They get the dogs out into their communities, and their adorable faces in front of potential adopters.
  • They attract new volunteers and adopters by offering a low-stakes way to hang out with the dogs.

ACC field-trip favorite Bundles

When Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) debuted its field-trip program, the line to volunteer stretched down the block! “The BoroughBreak is a great way to not only give the animals much-needed time out of the shelter, but to gain deeper insight into their behavior from our fosters and volunteers,” says the shelter’s Jennifer DiClemente, “who become adoption ambassadors for great dogs like Bundles.”

ACC’s grant from the Petfinder Foundation will fund the purchase of no-pull harnesses so that volunteers can feel confident handling dogs who need to practice leash manners or have energy to burn — the same dogs who benefit most from getting out of the shelter.

DAWG dog Rocket on his field trip

Denison Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) received a Petfinder Foundation grant to purchase supplies such as collars, leashes, and ID tags for its field-trip dogs. The program has been a game-changer for the Texas shelter: “Dogs are receiving more visitors and increased visibility in our community,” says President Stephanie Phillips.

Hold times are shorter, adoptions are occurring quicker,” and other organizations are more likely to pull dogs thanks to an abundance of information about them, she adds, including “videos, report cards, likes and dislikes, and things the volunteers might not have observed in a shelter setting.”

Ping’s field-trip fosters adopted him!

“The program does so much for our dogs,” says Mirah Horowitz, Executive Director of Hawaii’s Kauai Humane Society, which also received a Field Trip Grant. “It gives them a much-needed break from the stress and boredom of living in the shelter. It improves their socialization by getting them out in new environments and with new people. And, it some lucky dogs’ cases, it results in a forever home!”

One such lucky dog was Ping. “His family was living on Kauai for a temporary work assignment and took him out on multiple field trips. As they were getting ready to return to the mainland, the adopter’s children decided to surprise their mom on Mother’s Day with the gift of unconditional love. The family adopted Ping, and now he is living his best life on the East Coast!

The Animal Foundation’s Papz

Since launching its program in July, The Animal Foundation in Las Vegas has sent more than 150 dogs on field trips to restaurants, parks, and even family holiday gatherings. “These temporary breaks have helped many of our dogs better cope with living in the shelter as they await their forever homes,” says Development Manager Amy Wiles.

The shelter will use its Petfinder Foundation grant to purchase booties for field-trip dogs. “They will protect the dogs’ paws as they venture out into our uniquely hot Las Vegas climate with its scorching surfaces,” Wiles says.

With your help, we can get more dogs out of shelters, where they can de-stress, show off their true personalities and meet potential forever families.

We’re Keeping Shelter Pets Safe from Dangerous Heat

This summer, many parts of the country have experienced dangerously high temperatures.

That’s why the Petfinder Foundation has Summer Cooling Grants available as part of our longstanding Disaster Fund.

Our grant helped Adele stay cool.

Our Summer Cooling Grant helped the dogs at Arizona’s Pima Animal Care Center, which used the funds to install an overhead misting system in two outdoor yards. In Tucson, where temperatures can top 110 degrees, the yards had often been unusable for both the dogs and potential adopters.

Now, thanks to the misting system, “nobody’s getting overheated,” Adoption Coordinator Ellie Beaubien said. “We really needed those. It was a great investment.” We also provided the shelter with kiddie pools, which were enjoyed by dogs like Bear (top photo) and Adele (above).

Skylar enjoyed shade, turf and mist.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona used our Summer Cooling Grant to install a misting system, a shade sail and turf in its yard, which had previously been hard dirt.

Thanks to those upgrades, “It goes from scorching hot to tropical cool within seconds of flipping a switch,” Shelter PR Coordinator Sara Gromley said. “Staff members enjoy taking breaks by bringing dogs out in the yard and it’s actually pleasant to be outdoors. Petfinder Foundation, we love you!”

Nala the donkey chills out.

Our Summer Cooling Grants don’t help only dogs. Lusco Farms Rescue in Iowa used its grant to purchase two large fans and build a multipurpose pasture shelter for the donkeys, mules and miniature horses in its care.

“The grant not only allowed us to make a cooling station, but we designed it to be used as a shelter in the winter as well,” said Treasurer Scott Shehan. “So the donkeys will now be nice and dry even when it rains or snows.”

We don’t expect to see the end of extreme temperatures any time soon, so these severe-weather grants are now a permanent part of our Disaster program. Your donation to our Disaster Fund will help us save lives.

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