In memory of sweet Max, who was loved by so many and will be missed by all.–Sheryl LaBoda
Posts By: Emily Fromm
During January’s polar vortex, temperatures in some parts of the country hit minus-30 degrees. In such extreme temperatures, shelters pets are incredibly vulnerable.
That’s why the Petfinder Foundation is introducing Winter Warming Grants (and, later, Summer Cooling Grants) as part of our longstanding Disaster Preparedness and Relief Program.
Our Disaster Grant helped the dogs at Oklahoma’s Perkins Animal Control. “Our shelter is partially open-air,” said Animal Welfare Supervisor Colleen Crummy. “In the worst of winter, our aging heating system could not even keep the shelter above freezing, and the dogs’ water would be frozen.” With our grant, the shelter purchased infrared heaters and had outlets installed to power them.
This was a blessing to dogs like Cody (pictured above), who was found roaming a field, skinny, cold, and scratched-up. “Despite his rough appearance, he was one of the sweetest dogs we have ever had,” Crummy says. “He enjoyed the warmth of the shelter, which was provided by our new heaters. Cody now lives nearby and is enjoying a very spoiled life.”
Another dog who benefited from a Petfinder Foundation grant was Diddy (pictured above). The 11-month-old boxer mix was abandoned in Illinois during a polar vortex and left in the cold to fend for himself until a good Samaritan took him to Hope Animal Rescues.
Unfortunately, the shelter’s pipes were damaged by the extreme cold, and it lost heat and running water. Our grant paid for repairs and insulation so the pipes will never freeze again, and the shelter was again livable for pets like Diddy, who’s since been adopted.
We don’t expect to see the end of extreme heat and cold 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.
Brody will be missed by more than you know.–Donna Webb
Every time we give a grant to a shelter or rescue group, we ask for a report detailing how they used the funds and telling us the story of an individual pet helped as a result. (You can read all of these reports here.)
There are always some that make us smile, or laugh, or say, “wow!” And I wanted to share those with you. So here you’ll find our favorites from 2018, all featuring pets helped by your donations.
Best Breed Ambassador: Ginger
An adoptable pit bull at Associated Humane Societes in Newark, N.J., Ginger (pictured above) arrived at the shelter fearful and anxious. The staff decided to make her the resident office dog to socialize her. She quickly came to love all people, and soon got a second job: She visits area libraries so children can practice reading to her. Her calm, sweet disposition mean she’s always a popular audience.
Best Jogging Buddy: T-Bone
We’ve heard of stray dogs joining humans on their runs, but cats? T-Bone was walking along a Colorado hiking trail when a man jogged by. The friendly cat joined him and ran along beside him for a couple of miles. After the run, the jogger brought T-Bone to Colorado’s Routt County Humane Society, where a Petfinder Foundation grant helped him find a wonderful forever home.
Most Dramatic Rescue: Bear
Fleeing Hawaii’s volcanic eruption in May, a dog named Bear and his owner were separated moments before they were to be rescued by helicopter. Despite many subsequent searches, Bear could not be found. After several weeks, volunteers hiked into the lava-flow zone and found him! He was much leaner, but in good spirits and happy for some company. With help from our disaster grant, Hawaii Island Humane Society was able to rescue Bear (along with some cats, ducks and chickens) and reunite him with his owner.
Best Model: Pom Pom
When Pom Pom was adopted after 2 1/2 years at Jersey Shore Animal Center, staff and volunteers cried tears of joy. Her adopter didn’t care that Pom Pom was 10 years old, had no teeth, and suffered from an autoimmune disease — she just wanted to rescue a cat who really needed a home. Sweet Pom Pom had been so beloved at the shelter that a volunteer painted a beautiful picture of her, which was presented to her adopter. Pom Pom is now being pampered in her forever home.
Best Second Act: Jackson
Jackson lost both eyes as a result of dog fighting. Florida’s Pit Sisters rescue took him into its TAILS (Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills) program and, when one particular inmate started training Jackson, they formed an instant bond. Thanks to a Petfinder Foundation grant, Jackson was able to go home with his new dad after graduation — the perfect second chapter for both.
Best Office Assistant: Casper
Casper would “attack” when anyone tried to open the door to his cage at Michigan’s Harbor Humane Society. So staffers decided to see how Casper would do in a different environment and put him into office foster. Within hours, Casper showed his true nature. He loved attention so much, staff took to calling him Caspuurrrr because of his loud purrs when he was pet. He soon went to a wonderful home with another long-term resident cat.
Best Cinderella Story: Ginger
Somerset Humane Society in Maine used our grant to purchase agility equipment, which worked like a charm on a 2-year-old pit mix named Ginger. Ginger had been at the shelter for months, with no interest because she was so anxious in her kennel, barking and throwing herself at the kennel door. But the new agility equipment helped her use up her excess energy and focus on learning routines. After the shelter posted Facebook photos of her doing her tricks, she was adopted within a week!
As you know, these stories are only possible because of your support. Thank you so much from all of us at the Petfinder Foundation, and warmest wishes for 2019!
We’ve awarded a Disaster Grant of $750 to Oscar’s Cause in Dundee, Florida, to help care for pets it rescued from Hurricanes Michael and Florence.
“Our disaster relief team deployed with supplies for Hurricane Michael two weeks after returning home from Hurricane Florence,” says Funding Coordinator Tori Hodges. “Our efforts included search and rescue, supply distribution, transportation and intake. We brought home three surrenders in need of medical care who were directly impacted by the hurricane.”
The grant funds will go directly to those three dogs, who needed to be completely vetted and cared for while awaiting forever homes. One of the three, Riley (pictured above), a 2- to 3-year-old boxer mix, has severe PTSD and anxiety from being crated inside his home as it collapsed during Hurricane Michael. Oscar’s Cause is working with local trainers to provide him support during his decompression time. The group expects him to be one of the more difficult adoption cases at its facility.
Another dog, Rico (pictured below), approximately 11-month-old, 70-lb. male bulldog mix, has been adopted.
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 2018.
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.
The Most Amazing Transformations of 2017:
The Most Amazing Transformations of 2016:
The Most Amazing Transformations of 2015:
The Most Amazing Transformations of 2014:
As wildfires devastate California, we’re helping shelters save displaced and injured pets. Here are a few of the disaster grants we’ve sent out so far:
Butte Humane Society: $4,000
The Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County has destroyed more than 10,000 structures, displaced more than 50,000 people, and caused more than 60 deaths, and more than 600 people are currently reported missing. Many households in the region have pets. “Conservatively, we estimate that there will be at least 15,000 dogs and cats (not including other small animals or livestock) that are displaced, injured, abandoned, lost or have already perished,” Butte Humane Society Development Director Brad Montgomery tells us. “We feel it will take weeks or even months in order to truly evaluate the scope of the impact.”
BHS has been working with regional partners to do everything it can to help its community’s pets and their owners. The first day of the fire, the shelter moved out all of its adoptable animals — either to emergency foster homes or shelters in safe zones — to open up needed space for evacuees’ pets and injured and stray animals from the impacted areas.
“Our partners North Valley Animal Disaster Group, Chico Animal Control and Butte County Animal Control have handled much of the sheltering of the evacuated animals, and we’ve been asked to shelter and care for overflow and a number of injured strays,” Montgomery says. “We also noticed that, because people can’t keep their animals with them at the American Red Cross shelters, many people have chosen to keep their animals with them wherever they are, from living the last week in a Walmart parking lot to staying with friends or in motels, to staying in shelters and keeping their animals outside in their vehicles or in crates or whatever they have.”
To help these evacuees, the shelter established a temporary pet-supply resource center at an offsite warehouse. “We have received literally tons of donated pet supplies and we are giving them to people in need,” Montgomery says. “People are breaking into tears when we give them a doggy bed, a bag of cat food, or a dog leash.”
BHS has also been providing veterinary services at its clinic. “We are fortunate to have an exceptional veterinarian named Dr. Turner, as well as backups in crisis from other partner agencies,” Montgomery says. “Dr. Turner lost her home in this fire, yet she’s still at work providing our clinic services. She’s ensuring that the injured animals we are taking care of are getting the treatments they need.”
At the same time, the shelter continues to provide many of its regular services, such as spay/neuter, vaccinations, and microchipping. “We have started providing these services at no cost to those impacted by the Camp Fire,” Montgomery says. “It’s simply the right thing to do in this situation to remain true to our organizational mission. Our average costs are roughly $190 per animal.”
Santa Maria Valley Humane Society: $3,000
Southern California is suffering from wildfires as well. As of Nov. 17 in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, the Woolsey Fire was 82% contained after burning 98,362 acres and displacing thousands of people and animals. Santa Maria Valley Humane Society is providing care and safety to dogs and cats transferred from at-capacity shelters in the area.
“On average, Santa Maria Valley Humane Society cares for about 100 dogs and cats at any given time,” says Executive Director Sean Hawkins. “In addition, this last week we accepted another 43 dogs and cats who were transferred to us from Ventura County Animal Services and Santa Barbara County Animal Services so that those agencies could make room for animal victims of the emergency evacuation due to the Woolsey Fire.”
Our grant funds will be used for veterinary care of these animals, including specialized surgeries, spaying or neutering, vaccinations, and to help offset fee-waived adoptions to move these animals into homes as quickly as possible.
Surfcat Cafe and Adoptions: $2,500
Our grant will help the Oxnard, CA-based rescue group care for cats displaced by the Woolsey and Hill Fires in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.
“Our first response is to help fire victims recover their cats,” says Executive Director Leslie Ann Weiss. “We were able to purchase wildlife night-vision cameras and feeding-site materials so displaced cats had food and water. Once cats were spotted on the video feed, we were able to place humane live traps to rescue them and reunite them with their humans.”
The group is also pulling “less-adoptable” cats from local shelters including Ventura County Animal Services and Humane Society of Ventura. The Petfinder Foundation’s Disaster Grant will help fund emergency medical care for injured cats and supplies for foster parents keeping displaced cats safe and healthy until they can be in a more permanent location.
My donation is a memorial for my friends who have just lost their beloved spaniel, Millie. They found Millie 10 years ago with Petfinder. Here is Millie’s picture on a happy day when she got a new leash!–Diann Hicks Carlson
Here’s an update on how the adoption groups who received Petfinder Foundation Disaster Grants are helping pets impacted by Hurricane Florence.
We granted $2,500 to Peak Lab Rescue in Apex, N.C., which has rescued more than 100 dogs from Florence, including 48 dogs pulled before the storm at the request of shelters facing closure, as well as pets still being rescued from affected areas on an ongoing basis. The group also transported 42 dogs and 40 cats to safety from the Carteret County Humane Society in Newport, N.C., after it was partially destroyed by Florence.
We granted $2,000 to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville, N.C., which rescued and/or provided care to around 250 animals before and after Hurricane Florence. Brother Wolf evacuated animals from shelters in Harnett County, N.C., and Horry and Fairfield Counties in South Carolina, transporting them to 10 rescue partners New York State and Fort Myers, Fla.
Brother Wolf also sent its Rapid Response team to rescue stray, lost and abandoned animals from the floodwaters in Warsaw, N.C. The pets rescued included a tiny 4-week-old kitten found screaming for help atop a floating pile of debris; two dogs, one of them completely blind, who’d been abandoned in one-foot-deep freezing water inside their home; and four cats whose elderly owners had been forced to evacuate without them and were desperate to get them back.
We also granted $1,500 to Operation Paws for Homes in Alexandria, Va., which transported animals from rural North and South Carolina shelters. The pets saved included Kassandra (above), a 5-year-old Lab mix who’d been in a shelter that was right in Florence’s path and was forced to evacuate. Kassandra, who is shy at first but gets along with dogs, cats, and kids, is healthy and ready for her forever home!
Our grant of $1,000 to JerseyGirls Animal Rescue in South Plainfield, N.J., helped the seven dogs the group rescued from North Carolina, before and after Hurricane Florence. All the dogs, who range from just under a year to 4-5 years old, received routine vet care, spay/neuter, and treatment for any medical conditions, and all seven are still available for adoption. They include Gummo (above, pictured while waiting for transport to a foster home in New Jersey).
Thank you so much for your donation to our Disaster Fund; we could not have helped these organizations save lives without donors like you!
As the floodwaters from Hurricane Florence continue to rise, we’re helping adoption groups that are rescuing abandoned animals and evacuating adoptable pets from local shelters to make room for flood victims.
We’ve sent a Disaster Grant to Brother Wolf Animal Rescue in Asheville, N.C., whose Rapid Response team is running search-and-rescue efforts in flooded areas. “It’s not uncommon to find dogs on chains neck-deep in water, community cats in trees, and animals who are ill, injured, or severely malnourished and dehydrated from surviving for days without food or fresh water,” Brother Wolf’s Andee Bingham tells us.
We’ve also rushed funds to Operation Paws for Homes in Alexandria, Va., which transported animals from rural North and South Carolina shelters in Florence’s path. “Many have only outdoor kennels that offer little protection from the elements,” says OPH volunteer Mark Conners. The pets are now in loving foster homes and receiving necessary veterinary care.
Another Disaster Grant recipient, JerseyGirls Animal Rescue in South Plainfield, N.J., has taken in adoptable dogs from a North Carolina shelter that had to evacuate prior to Florence’s arrival. “We intend to rescue more dogs from the areas affected by the hurricane,” says president Rosemary Petriello. “Unfortunately, the likelihood of those dogs being in poor health is very high.”
These grants are just the beginning of what we expect to be weeks of rescue and recovery efforts. We are continuing to reach out to shelters and rescue groups to provide whatever assistance is needed.
Your donation to our Disaster Fund will help the animal victims of Hurricane Florence.