Posts By: Emily Fromm

Rescue U Turns a Former Schoolhouse Into a Cat Sanctuary

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A volunteer with her favorite cat

In May, Rescue U volunteers from Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia headed to Grafton, W.V., to renovate a cat shelter called P.U.R.R. (People United for Rescue and Rehabilitation) West Virginia. P.U.R.R. is housed in an enormous former elementary school that needed a lot of renovation. Projects included painting, organizing and hanging fiberglass, as well as some fairly heavy construction work.

The team replaced the shelter’s entryway with a new porch after the existing porch, which had been held up with wood that rotted over the years due to water damage, collapsed. Volunteers also created a new storage room and built a new loading entrance to it. A section of the brick wall had to be demolished in order to install a new door.

To create the storage room, the team removed 7,500 pounds of scrap metal from an old schoolroom and built a ramp leading up to the entrance (the scrap metal was recycled and the proceeds went to the shelter!). Volunteers demolished its bathrooms to create a cat intake area, removed the railings from the sidewalk outside the new room and expanded the sidewalk to allow shelter staff to move supplies in via pallet jack.

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The artists’ studio that became a cat colony

An old artists’ studio was cleared of debris, its walls scraped, repaired (P.U.R.R. owner Sarel Venter strapped on stilts to plaster hard-to-reach spots) and painted a “purplicious” color to create a new cat colony room.

The major renovations to the shelter have made life easier for the shelter staff and volunteers, and most importantly, more comfortable for all the adoptable cats. As P.U.R.R. wrote on its Facebook page: “Pawesome job at P.U.R.R., Rescue U volunteers!!”

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A volunteer makes some new friends.

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These Abandoned Puppies Won’t Be having Puppies!

Adopted Pit Bull Allie in her new home

Adopted Pit Bull Allie in her new home

Thanks to our SNAP-X (Spay, Neuter, Adopt, Protect) grant, some pit bull puppies who were abandoned at the Humane Society of Pensacola in Florida won’t be having puppies of their own.

The shelter applied for a SNAP-X grant to help with the county’s problem with an overabundance of that breed, writing, “We would use the funds to spay the pit bulls and pit bull mixes that we see so often in our shelter.”

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Mama dog Angel‘s pups as newborns

Luckily, the grant funds had arrived the day an entire Pit Bull family was left at the facility — mama dog Angel, her mate and their four newborn pups. All six dogs “were abandoned on our porch with a note,” the shelter’s managing director, Sarah Humlie, tells us.

“Dad has been adopted,” she adds. “Mom is still waiting for her forever home, and all of the puppies have gone to great new homes.

“The puppies were beautiful and well behaved. By 10 weeks old, Bane knew how to sit, shake and roll over! Allie, as you can see from the picture, is a sweet girl without a care in the world in her new home. Both of these puppies were able to be spayed and neutered with the help of the grant.”

Bane in his new home

Bane in his new home

The pups’ mama, Angel, “loves to play, is a delight to be around, and will bring a smile to any face,” according to her Petfinder profile. Learn about adopting Angel here.

A SNAP-X grant also helped a dog named Sherman, who was in the care of Maple Hill Farm Toy Breed Rescue in Butler, Ohio.

Maple Hill president Dawn Porter tells us, “Sherman was a dog sent to us by a lady from Shelby. She found him and tried to find a home for him but could find no one, so she sent him to us. He is a poodle mix — we felt even possibly part Chinese crested. [A couple] came to adopt Laura; they liked her but then saw Sherman and the husband could not stop loving on him. So they ended up deciding to adopt him instead!”

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Thanks to program founder Fabiola Beracasa and everyone who donated to make these SNAP-X grants possible!

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SNAP-X: Saving Lives, Preventing Unwanted Litters

With our SNAP-X (Spay, Neuter, Adopt, Protect) program, created by media personality and adoption advocate Fabiola Beracasa, we’re helping shelters combat pet overpopulation in regions desperate for spay and neuter services. Here are the stories of just a few of the pets SNAP-X has helped:

West Virginia

“These are some dogs who have benefited from the grant,” says Beth Vuolo, Executive Director of Summers County Humane Society in Hinton, WV. “The first four are still available for adoption.

Trixie is a sweetie. So far she is fine with all my creatures, with the exception of Vanna, who won’t stop barking at her. She is doing very well with everyone else these days.

Goose is an awesome guy! Super sweet, shy and timid at first, but always gentle and loving. Goose loves to play with the other dogs and is truly your best friend. Goose is very happy sprawled across your lap getting a belly rub. Goose is about 18 months old and 70 pounds.

Brogan is a huge baby. He tries very hard to please and loves other dogs. Brogan is so big, he scares other dogs when he runs up to say ‘hello’ so he is learning some manners. He knows how to sit and he is learning to walk on a leash. It is hard to get a picture because he wants to sit for you all the time. Brogan is not pushy. He’s great with cats, kids and dogs and would love to go home. He is 18 months old and 93 pounds. He has an impressive Mastiff bark and we think he is mixed with Labrador. Very friendly.

Mickey loves people! He wants to say hello to everyone he meets and get a good scratch. Mickey loves other dogs too but he doesn’t share his food with them (we are working on manners). He has wandered in the hills so long he hasn’t figured out food is not scarce anymore. Mickey is a great guy and will make a great companion! Mickey is about 5 years old and 59 pounds.

Kelly

Kelly

“Kelly is a 9-week-old puppy spayed before going home. She was surrendered when someone failed to spay their dog and ended up with a litter. Their dog is now altered and has been adopted. This is a picture of Kelly in her new home.”

Wyoming

Brandee Smith, program coordinator for the Laramie, WY, chapter of Black Dog Animal Rescue, emails us:

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Corona

“The first two pictures are Corona, a yellow Husky mix. He was neutered in our program. He was adopted! Corona was [pulled from a shelter]. He hadn’t been there long but he had few options, I think mostly because of his look. He was in our program about two weeks before he was adopted to a family in Laramie.

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Corona with his new family

“The next is Klondike, a black Pit Bull mix, who was neutered in our program and then adopted! Klondike was at a shelter for several months and quickly deteriorating. [One of our volunteers] was there when he was surrendered. She said it was heartbreaking. He screamed and cried and refused to go in the back. He was adopted after only about a week in our program.”

Klondike.

Klondike

Ohio

These two stories are from Dawn Porter, president of Maple Hill Farm Toy Breed Rescue in Butler, Ohio.

Buddy — now Biscuit — in his new home

“Buddy’s owners decided they made a mistake and didn’t want him after all after only one week. He is about 11 weeks old, a chocolate Yorkie. He is a wonderful guy! So sweet and quiet considering his age. He went to his new home today. He will be called Biscuit now!”

The SNAP-X grant also allowed Maple Hill Farm to help puppy mill survivor Hannah, a 5-year-old Chihuahua who’d spent her life in a tiny cage. “The money has enabled us to make an appointment for Hannah to be fully vetted next week,” Porter says. “Thank you so much for this opportunity to help more dogs.”

Many thanks to Fabiola and everyone who donated to SNAP-X for helping these and many other pets in desperate need!

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Searching Through the Rubble for Oklahoma Pets

The Petfinder Foundation has given a $10,000 grant to City of Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Division, which has been working with Central Oklahoma Humane Society (which received a $5,000 grant from us) to house the hundreds of pets displaced by Monday’s deadly tornado. The funds will buy crates, vaccinations, grooming supplies, enrichment items and beds, and pay for medical treatments and staffing costs.

When we spoke with shelter superintendent Catherine English today, she was operating on just three hours of sleep. As the agency tasked with being the lead local responder to the crisis, the division had called all its staff members to work around the clock.

“We have worked two days now at 24 hours [a day],” English told us.

When the storms hit, the shelter staffers worked with regional and out-of-state rescue groups to take in their adoptable pets so that they would have more room for the newcomers. As of this morning, the agency had already taken in 92 dogs, 13 cats and three horses.  “We have a couple of officers down there going through rubble and patrolling the streets looking for strays,” English said.

All incoming animals are checked by a veterinarian and treated for injuries such as lacerations, shock and broken bones. Volunteer groomers were coming in that afternoon to wash the pets, which could reveal more injuries, English said: “We won’t know until we bathe them, whether or not the water runs red, whether they have fiberglass blown into them.”

Under normal circumstances, shelter staff try to achieve a 75 percent live-release rate, English said. They get close to their goal – recently they’ve hovered around a 63 percent live-release rate – because they provide medical interventions that save lives. They have a special Angel Fund set up to pay for expensive surgeries and procedures such as ultrasounds and X-rays, but English expects this crisis will quickly deplete that fund.

Notified of the Petfinder Foundation grant, English said, “That’s amazing! Thank you — I’m thrilled.” The funds, she said, would help ensure that only the most grievously injured pets are euthanized. “We are not going to lower the bar,” she said. “It’s our standard and we’re not going to lower our standard.” –Karen Hollish

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Housing 130+ Displaced Dogs in Oklahoma

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Central Oklahoma Humane Society writes on its Facebook page: “This boy came into our facility with a fractured rear leg. He is currently receiving necessary medical care.”

The Petfinder Foundation has rushed a $5,000 disaster grant to Central Oklahoma Humane Society, which is finding and housing pets displaced by Monday’s deadly tornado in Oklahoma. The grant money will be used to pay for the pets’ medical care, sheltering and food, and it will help with the staffing costs associated with the shelter’s around-the-clock response.

Under normal circumstances, the shelter takes in 250 to 300 animals a month. As soon as the tornado struck, it emptied all its kennels of adoptable pets — either by transferring them to partner rescues or placing them in foster homes — to provide room for the more than 200 displaced pets expected to come in.

Already the shelter has have taken in more than 130 dogs, and the shelter’s staff have been working around the clock. It has taken in only a few displaced cats – but Director of Outreach Amy Shrodes tells us she expects that number will quickly rise.

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This Sheltie was found stuck in a tree’s branches after the storm.

“It’s still a very chaotic environment in Moore,” she says. “We are thinking most of the cats are still hiding.”

When we caught up with Shrodes on Tuesday, she was finally back in her office after spending the morning searching through the rubble in Moore. During the morning’s search, she and her staff found three dogs, among them a Sheltie who was stuck in a tree’s branches. “He was actually in better shape than some of the dogs we found who weren’t in trees,” she says.

Many of the displaced pets were injured in the storm. “We are looking at an at least 50 percent injury rate for the animals that are coming in,” Shrodes says.

Injured pets are being treated at the in-shelter clinic and at local veterinarians’ offices. The animals have been damaged by debris and are dealing with abrasions, eye injuries, lacerations and fractured legs.

The shelter currently is in need of syringes, needles, sterile gloves, gowns, shoe covers, pet shampoo, clipper blades and chemical antiseptic, Shrodes says.

“We are working around the clock to take in as many displaced animals as possible,” Shrodes says. “This money will go a long way.”

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Helping Tornado Victims in Oklahoma

With 51 people dead and countless displaced after a massive tornado in Oklahoma, the human cost of the storm is incalculable. But we’re working to help local animal shelters mitigate the suffering of residents’ pets.

The local animal control, City of Moore Animal Shelter, has lost power; its four staff members have been working with almost no sleep to pick up the hundreds of lost pets roaming the city.

They have set up three temporary holding areas, at locations such as the county fairgrounds, where displaced dogs are being held so their owners can locate them. The shelter has not taken in any displaced cats yet, but expects to as the days go on.

Shelter Manager Vanna Conway tells us, “We lost half of our city, and it’s pouring down rain today so it’s not helping matters.” Conway herself went home at 4:30 a.m. last night and was back at work at 7 a.m. today.

On a regular day, the shelter may take in 20 dogs and 10 cats. During the last disaster, a twister that killed at least two in 1999, it took in more than 250 displaced dogs and 200 displaced cats. Shelter staff reconnected all those pets with their families or found new homes for them, and that is what they want to do again.

But this tornado has been even deadlier. “We have a lot more deaths this time, people and animals,” Conway says. Still, most of the animals she and her staff have picked up have been alive. “They’re covered in mud and insulation,” she says, “but they’re breathing.”

Many of them, however, are injured. “We have several vets that are volunteers and they are taking care of those,” Conway says. Uninjured pets are awaiting their owners at one of the three holding areas.

Donate now to help us help Oklahoma shelters save the lives of displaced pets.

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Saving Roxy the Stray and Her Puppies

Thanks to your donations and a matching grant from Orvis, a stray mama dog named Roxy and her puppies were saved by staff at Ponca City Humane Society in Oklahoma. We got this grant report from Executive Director Patricia Amador:

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Roxy is ready to play.

“We were contacted back in the beginning of March of this year by an individual who had found a stray who had had puppies behind our local skate park. We at that time did not have room to take the stray and her puppies in, but we were able to secure the person who found them to keep them on a temporary basis as a foster.

“She was able to house them but began to inform us that her neighbor was trying to take the mother dog, now named Roxy. Roxy sadly was stolen from foster’s yard on March 17. Her puppies, who were still nursing, where found scattered in the driveway of the home. Luckily, the foster was able to locate all eight puppies. We scrambled for fosters and were able to find two that were willing to take the puppies in. They were fostered for roughly two weeks and returned to our facility. Roxy was eventually found at our local animal control and we were able to reclaim her from there.

“The puppies, unfortunately, had been exposed to parvovirus, although only five came down with the disease. All were admitted into our local vet and aggressive treatment was started. Sadly, we lost three of the female puppies. We were saddened that even with aggressive treatment we were unable to save them all.

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Roxy’s puppies

“The remaining puppies recovered well and the first puppy from that litter, Disco, was adopted on March 8. The second, Buster, was adopted on March 10. Disco went home with a lovely young lady, while Buster, now named Ace, was adopted by a father, son and daughter team. We wish them all the best in their new homes. Roxy and the remaining three puppies are waiting to find their forever homes. We welcome anyone interested in them to contact us.

“We would like to give the Petfinder Foundation a huge thank you for the generous Orvis grant. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit no-kill small humane society that does not receive any government funding and relies on the good will and generosity of individuals, corporations, and adopters and donors to keep us going.”

Learn more about adopting Roxy here!

Meet Roxy’s puppies who are still waiting for forever homes:

Hank

Pepper

Linus
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Abused, Burned and Abandoned

The Petfinder Foundation gave a grant to Saving Animals for Everyone in Anthony, FL, which used the funds to buy food and bedding; to construct a yard area in which the dogs can play, socialize and meet potential adopters; and to pay for repairs, vet visits and general operating supplies. They also shared with us the story of Chance:

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Chance

“Chance was found one morning tied to the front gate. He was abused, with obvious burn marks, and very thin. He was so very happy to be found. He was immediately taken to the vet for an exam. He was found to have heartworms and other parasites. He was given medicine and then had to be kept in quarantine for 6 months or until released by the vet.

“He was between 2-4 years old, a Staffordshire terrier mix. He was so affectionate and smiled whenever anyone came to feed or spend some time with him. In a few months, his worms were cleared up, he had gained weight, had been neutered and was ready to be adopted.

“Before we could list him on Petfinder, a friend of the sanctuary saw him and immediately wanted to adopt him. He didn’t get along with other dogs well, but in this home he would be an only dog, so away he went to his forever home. The Petfinder Foundation grant helped Chance to get a new home. It is what this grant is all about, so thank you for granting it to us.”

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A Miracle for an Escape Artist with Separation Anxiety

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We got this grant report from Humane Society of Warren County in Front Royal, VA. Executive director Lavenda Denney tells us:

“A loving pit bull named King had once been adopted but then returned to the shelter because he was suffering from separation anxiety. During times of separation, he was chewing excessively and causing destruction in the home.

“He was also an escape artist. His first adoptive family lived in town limits and the neighbors were scared of King due to his breed. All of these behavioral issues combined forced the family to return King, although he had been wonderful with the family, very kind and loving, as long as he had adequate attention.

“Once returned, we placed King in a Thundershirt. He did very well in kennel, participated in shelter dog-play groups and off-site adoption events. King was even featured at a Chamber of Commerce after-hours event. He was given a second chance when a wonderful family came to adopt him.

King in his Thundershirt. “He was so excited to be adopted that he wouldn’t sit still,” Denney says.

“The family was made aware of his separation anxiety and escape issues. King was sent home with his Thundershirt in an effort to continue to reduce his stress level as he transitioned (once again) from the shelter to a new home environment. King’s new family was trained on the use of the Thundershirt and encouraged to purchase a shirt.”

 

 

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One Picture Saves a Life

Bones, before (inset) and after

These days, most people who adopt find their pets on Petfinder before they meet them at a shelter. That means the pet’s photo plays a big part in making a first impression.

And wouldn’t it be great if all shelter pets could have their portraits taken by a bestselling, world-famous pet photographer? Like, say, Underwater Dogs author Seth Casteel?

Seth can’t photograph every homeless pet, but in our new program with The Animal Rescue Site and GreaterGood.org, One Picture Saves a Life, he’s traveling the country training shelter staff and volunteers to take pictures the way he does — pictures that show the pet’s true personality. And our friends at John Paul: Pet are helping to give those pets grooming makeovers so they can truly put their best faces forward.

One Picture Saves a Life kicks off at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, and will be followed by stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, NC, and Puerto Rico.

To learn more, visit www.OnePictureSaves.com.

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