Posts By: Emily Fromm

No More Burned Paws! Rescue U Renovates a Michigan Shelter

Dogs like Emmet will benefit from Rescue U’s shelter renovation.

Rescue U volunteers have arrived at the Humane Society of West Michigan in Grand Rapids and begun a massive renovation project! We have a lot of work to do, and only a week to do it (the build is from Aug. 18-24). Among our projects:

  • Thanks to all the generous people who donated via our Groupon Grassroots campaign, we raised enough money to put in a dog agility course and play area in a space that’s currently just a big, fenced-in area. Once the course is installed, the dogs will have plenty of activities to occupy them when they go out to the yard to play.
  • There are some long dog runs in the back of the shelter that have a pea-gravel base that gets really hot in the summer and burns the paws of the dogs, so we are going to put AstroTurf in the dog runs, which will save paws and be much easier for the staff to clean.
  • Inside the shelter, the area where the dogs are housed is extremely noisy, which stresses the dogs, so we are going to install sound baffling in the kennels to stop the echo and quiet the kennel down.
  • We are going to add shelving to organize the shelter’s pet-food bank program, the Kibble Konnection, which helps low-income pet parents provide food for their pets.
  • To help prevent the spread of disease among cats, we’re installing a sanitation barrier in the cat-intake area — a sheet of plastic resembling a shower curtain that will hang between the stacks of cages so that, when cats sneeze and cough, they don’t transmit upper-respiratory infections to the cats in the cages across from them.
  • We’ll also be painting and organizing the reception/admitting area and the vet clinic.

This build is particularly exciting because most of the students — who come from Rescue U chapters at Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Michigan State University — have never been on a Rescue U outreach trip before. Everyone is excited to take the skills they learn here back to the shelters where they volunteer regularly to improve the lives of even more pets.

Learn more about Rescue U.

The Best Wedding Gift? One that Helps Homeless Pets

Brent and Lindsay at their wedding

Here at Petfinder, we’ve brought lots of love into people’s lives. So we’re always delighted to hear that a couple is celebrating their wedding by asking guests to give back to the place that helped make their family complete by donating to the Petfinder Foundation.

Brent and Lindsay Wagner of Cincinnati did just that. The couple, who wed on June 23, found their two dogs on Petfinder. Pierre was adopted from Happy Tales Pet Rescue in Fort Wayne, IN, and C.B. from Clinton County Humane Society in Frankfort, IN.

“Both of our dogs have brought so much joy into our lives,” says Lindsay, 28, an ingredients safety specialist. “It would be wonderful to give every pet their forever home but, of course, this is not possible for the average person. Donating to Petfinder is one small way that people can help!”

Lindsay adds that she and Brent, 27, a medical student, have been living together for two years and didn’t need many household items: “Instead of multiple registries at department stores, we had one store registry for guests who prefer [to give] traditional gifts, and [also] the Petfinder donation option.”

adopted dogs

C.B. (left) and Pierre

The Petfinder Foundation set up a special donation page for the pair and the gifts came flooding in. “An aspect that seemed very helpful was that Brent and I could see who had donated, which allowed us to treat the donation just like any other wedding present,” Lindsay says. “We sent thank-you notes for every donation and mentioned how we couldn’t imagine a better wedding present!”

Another couple who asked guests to donate to the Petfinder Foundation in lieu of gifts: Andrew and Stanton of Westchester County, NY. The pair, who wed in July, have been together for 18 years and, like Brent and Lindsay, didn’t need household items. “We thought it better for people to donate to worthy causes,” says Andrew, an attorney, “pet rescue being such a cause.”

In fact, the couple met while walking their respective dogs, and are now proud dads to 11-year-old Elmer, whom they adopted from a German Shepherd rescue in Dutchess County, NY. The pooch even had a starring role in their wedding: “Elmer was the ring bearer,” Andrew says. “He got a pair of wings to be Mercury, the messenger of the gods, for the wedding.”

Andrew says the request to donate has gotten a positive response from guests: “People have been happy to donate in lieu of the standard gifts. They understand the thought — and appreciate it.”

Many thanks to Lindsay, Brent, Andrew, Stanton and their friends and families for sharing the joy of their special days by helping pets in need. We wish both couples (and their pets!) a lifetime of happiness. If you’d like to request that guests donate to the Petfinder Foundation in celebration of your wedding or other event, email me at Emily (at)!


Max’s Happy Ending: Neutered, then Adopted!

Max with parents Laurie and Rob

Max the dog can look forward to a lifetime of love from his adoptive family — and he won’t be fathering any unwanted litters. Thanks to a spay/neuter grant from our partners at the Ryan Newman Foundation, Max and 63 other dogs and cats have been spayed or neutered, preventing potentially millions of unwanted puppies and kittens over the years.

Three shelters — Pulaski County Animal Shelter in Somerset, KY, Clearfield County SPCA in Philipsburg, PA, and Paws & Claws Feline Rescue in Statesville, NC — received $1,000 each from the Ryan Newman Foundation via the Petfinder Foundation.

The Clearfield County SPCA used the funds to neuter 13 male dogs and spay three females. One of the neutered pups was Max, who went on to be adopted by Laurie and Rob Porter, pictured with him at right.

Max, a 2-year-old Boxer mix, had been dropped off at the shelter by an owner who didn’t have time for him. Boy, has his life changed for the better!

Laurie recently wrote to the shelter with an update: “Max is up to 63 pounds now (no more ribs) and all smiles. Everyone he meets comments about how handsome and friendly he is. Max is great with people and other dogs, and we visit the dog park several times a week. Our friend has a tiny Yorkie and they love to play together too. The size difference is rather amusing, but he’s very gentle with her. …

“He loves water and really enjoys visiting lakes and parks as well. Max is walking much better on the leash, and he is very intelligent and willing to learn new things. He is very snuggly and lovey as well. He is an absolute sweetheart and we love him very much.”

Many thanks to the Porters for adopting Max, the Clearfield County SPCA for caring for him while he awaited his forever home, and the Ryan Newman Foundation for funding Max’s (and so many other pets’) spay/neuter to keep more pets like Max from ending up in shelters.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman and his wife, Krissie, established the Ryan Newman Foundation in January 2005 to educate and encourage people to spay/neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters, among other goals. Learn more about the Ryan Newman Foundation here.

You can help support the spaying and neutering of pets in shelters and rescue groups by donating to the Petfinder Foundation.