Petfinder Foundation News

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

 

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.”

 

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.

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Roux is at City of Moore Animal Shelter.

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.

 

How Rescued Rabbits Are Helping Save Homeless Cats

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Hopscotch, a lionhead rabbit in Woburn, Mass., is available for adoption through the House Rabbit Network.

We gave a vaccination grant to the House Rabbit Network in Woburn, Mass. They couldn’t use it — so they paid it forward to their friends at the nearby Lowell Humane Society.

“We didn’t want to see the vaccines go to waste,” House Rabbit Network foster parent Aimee Swartz tells us. “So we just picked the humane society we knew could really use them and that we work with a lot.”

The House Rabbit Network won the grant by coming in second in the state during the recent Animal Rescue Site Shelter+ Challenge. Like all second-place state winners in the online competition, the network received 100 dog or cat vaccines.

Unable to use them on their rabbits, the volunteers who run the organization decided to give the Lowell Humane Society 100 FRVCP vaccines to protect its cats against the upper-respiratory infections most common in shelters.

“It’s great,” says Jill O’Connell, executive director of the Lowell Humane Society, a private, open-admissions shelter that takes in nearly 2,000 homeless pets each year. “We are a pretty small shelter, but we consider ourselves pretty high-volume. The majority of our money is spent on medical costs, so this allows us to spend somewhere else.”

Abby the Lop Eared Rabbit.

Adopt lop-eared Abby from from the House Rabbit Network.

In the next Shelter+ Challenge, the House Rabbit Network plans to go for Massachusetts’ first-place prize — a cash grant, Swartz says. In the meantime, its vaccination grant will make a huge difference for nearby cats.

“We are just getting into kitten season,” O’Connell tells us, “and to vaccinate 100 cats is really going to help.”

Donate today to help us help more pets in need.

 

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.

Roxy Babies

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

 

We’re Helping Shelters Take Amazing Animal Pictures

Adorable Kitty

Jack from the Humane Society of Sullivan County in Sullivan, Ind., has an adorable glamor shot thanks to the photography tips we offered shelter workers at the recent Animal Care Expo.

I got off the plane in Nashville, super excited be attending my first-ever Animal Care Expo hosted by the Humane Society of the United States. I was ready to meet hundreds of shelter workers from across the country, learn about the challenges they are facing, and figure out how we can help them do their hard jobs even better.

At the heart of my Expo experience was spreading the news about the Foundation’s One Picture Saves a Life program, which teaches essential pet-photography skills to shelter staffers and volunteers. We’ve partnered on the program with Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel and our friends at The Animal Rescue Site, John Paul Pet and GreaterGood.org. The program’s central premise is a shelter pet’s chances of being noticed by a potential adopter rise exponentially when they are represented by an attractive photo.

Seth Training Shelter Staff

Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel taught shelter workers how to take better photos at the Animal Care Expo.

Again and again at the Expo I heard from workers who bemoaned their organization’s low-quality photos. They said that their animals’ pictures oftentimes showed them looking blurry, frightened and dirty. While some shelters said they counted on volunteer professional photographers to take pleasing photos, and an even smaller number said they have trained photographers on staff, most said they struggled to take engaging photographs that do justice to their temporary residents.

We pointed them toward the free teaching resources on the program’s website, http://www.onepicturesaves.com, and told them about our upcoming workshops. We invited them to a talk we hosted with Seth Casteel and cat-behavior expert Jackson Galaxy (they had terrific chemistry!). We cheered as Debbie Heller of Little Rock Animal Village in Little Rock, Ark., won a digital SLR camera and choked up when she talked about all the lives it was going to help save.

Seth Casteel presents a digital SLR camera the winning shelter worker.

Seth Casteel presented a digital SLR camera to Debbie Heller of Little Rock Animal Village.

The Expo taught me that most Petfinder.com member organizations the Petfinder Foundation proudly serves are struggling to take good pet photos. They may have money in their budgets for pet food, electricity bills or an animal-care attendant, but photography funds are much harder for shelters to come by.

The One Picture Saves a Life program is closing that gap, though, by providing easy-to-implement tips, in-person workshops, and technology grants so that shelter workers have the cameras and editing software they need.

And already it’s making a difference. Humane Society of Sullivan County President Miranda Webster Hay, who took the above picture of Jack the kitten, said the tips she learned at Expo have yielded terrific results.

“I am so excited about this program, it is all I can talk about since I arrived home from the HSUS EXPO!” Hay wrote. “Meeting Seth and just showing him some of my pictures, he was able to give me such great pointers in 5 minutes! Two days of shooting with this lens (50 mm/1.80) and I am in heaven–I am so excited to be registered for the August workshop in Chicago.”

Rachel Rosen from Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, N.J., also sent us this terrific photo of an adoptable pup that she took using the One Picture Saves a Life lessons:

Fresh, an Adoptable Dog

Fresh is available for adoption at Liberty Humane Society.

“I put quite a few tips I learned at the workshop to use in this batch of pictures,” Rosen said. “The fact that it was cloudy made me realize how much easier it would be to shoot in the shade rather than in the sun like I did in the past.” (Learn more about adopting Fresh.)

As a former shelter worker who has struggled countless times to get the perfect shot of a squirmy critter, I was thrilled to promote this progressive program at Expo. Because of the generous donations we receive, we’re able to provide life-saving resources that shelters wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Like the One Picture Saves a Life page on Facebook to see all this year’s success stories!

Learn more about the One Picture Saves a Life Program.

Donate now to help us teach shelters how to take life-saving pictures of their adoptable pets.

 

How You Can Help Shelter Pets by Quilting

Denny snuggles on his favorite quilt.

Last year, we worked with pet-loving crafters to get handmade quilts to cats stranded by Hurricane Sandy. Here, Nan Baker, marketing director at The Quilt Pattern Magazine, tells us how this creative and compassionate project developed, and how you can help:

“It all started with Denny. He loved quilts. Although the colors or designs didn’t matter to him, he definitely had his favorites. Put a quilt on a chair, a floor or a shelf and he magically appeared to stake his claim, especially for naps.

“After seeing many pictures of cats on quilts on the Internet, I knew that I was not alone in thinking that cats on quilts make great photos and that they just need to be shared.

“In the fall of 2011, The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) started our annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. Subscribers were urged to send in pictures of their kitties on quilts and given the chance to win some great prizes donated by very generous kitty-loving sponsors! We even had a sponsor kitty – Miss Piggy of Kona Bay Fabrics.

Miss Piggy & Gracie

Sponsor cat Miss Piggy, left, and 2011 Quilt Kitties Photo Contest winner Gracie

“However, because TQPM’s staff are all cat lovers and many have rescue cats, they took it a step further! They wanted to help cats, particularly the less-fortunate kitties who don’t have homes or who end up in shelters. They gave their readers an opportunity to donate to an organization that specializes in helping kitties.

“In the fall of 2012, the same wonderful sponsors, along with some new ones, rejoined TQPM for its second annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. TQPM was pleased to announce that the Petfinder Foundation had joined them in promoting this endeavor. Who could have guessed where it would lead?

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

“Wanting to give their readers a little something extra for their kitties, TQPM was the first to offer free, downloadable patterns for Kennel Quilts. (Find Kennel Quilt patterns here!) These quilts are 12″ x 18″ and are perfect for most cat carriers and cages. The plan was for readers to make one for their own furry friend and another for a local shelter kitty.

Kennel Quilt

Kennel Quilts fit perfectly in cat carriers.

“Then, Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast and Kennel Quilts took on a whole new meaning. Several of the staff members, knowing firsthand how devastating hurricanes can be for people and their pets, contacted the Petfinder Foundation to offer help.

“Petfinder gave TQPM a list of affected shelters in New York and New Jersey. One shelter, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, delivered the quilts on a supply truck along with water, pet food and other essentials to people on the Jersey shore. They knew these people had lost everything and that a bright, new quilt for their pets would bring a little bit of joy. Another shelter reported that these donated quilts made everything look very bright and pretty. The volunteers and visitors were all talking about them.

“Because they fit the kitty Kuranda beds, which many shelters use, one shelter asked how we had known to make them the perfect size. As more quilts were delivered, the compliments continued to come in. Shelters were amazed by how many people cared. Strangers, yes; but ones who extended helping hands in times of need. The response was overwhelming, with more than 100 quilts made and sent from the United States, Canada and England. The shelters continue to receive quilts to this day.

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A cat at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center snoozes on his donated quilt.

“As a result of the overwhelming response, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation decided to make this an ongoing project. Thus, the Small Kennel Quilt Team was formed.

“The TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team is a volunteer organization that is available to respond when disasters strike. It is a way to join a larger effort in helping our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team here.

“The team will supply Kennel Quilts to shelters. Free patterns can be downloaded from the TQPM site (download a free quilt pattern here) or you can design your own. TQPM will post members’ progress on the program web page and email updates to them. Members are not obligated to make quilts; they can sign up simply to receive program updates.

Zoey on a quilt.

Zoey the shelter cat has her choice of quilts.

“If you don’t quilt, but want to be a member of the team, you are most welcome. There are other very important ways to help; one is to give a donation to the Petfinder Foundation, which will be greatly appreciated and well-used.

“This new venture is still in the formative stage. As time passes, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation are sure to find new ways to help shelters and their animals. Join our ‘Passion with a Purr-pose’!”

Many thanks to Nan and all the quilters around the world who are working so hard to offer some comfort and cheer to shelter cats and their caregivers during times of need.

Download Kennel Quilt patterns.

Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team.

 

 

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:

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.”

 

No-Fee Adoptions Help Ten Lucky Colorado Dogs

Ten patiently waiting pooches — including a pair of bonded rat terriers — have found families thanks to an Orvis grant the Petfinder Foundation awarded to a shelter in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Buddy, left, and Lucky were adopted together.

“This grant enabled us to waive adoption fees for ten of our ‘harder to place’ dogs,” Marsha Rana Wayman, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region grants and corporate relations manager, tells us.

This extra adoption incentive helped recruit one loving home for both Buddy and Lucky, two 5-year-old rat terriers who were surrendered when their owner’s health faltered.

“Buddy and Lucky were not only featured as a two-for-one bonded pair — their single adoption fee of $65 was completely waived,” Wayman says. “The pair was happily adopted after a mere five days at the shelter!”

Percy’s foster family adopted him.

The grant also helped ensure a happy ending for Percy, who was brought into HSPPR as a stray with a badly fractured leg. Shelter staff immediately treated Percy’s painful injury and pursued his case as a cruelty investigation, Wayman says.

After Percy spent months recovering in a loving foster home, his foster family signed on to keep him for life. Not only did the grant underwrite Percy’s waived adoption fee, it helped pay for the medical care he needed, Wayman says.

Learn more about Petfinder Foundation grants that could help your shelter or rescue group.

 

A Big Thank You to the ASPCA

ASPCA Throughout the year, the ASPCA recognizes employees’ exceptional contributions to the ASPCA and its mission. Each honoree receives a gift certificate redeemable for a grant to their favorite animal welfare organization from the ASPCA Grants Department. In 2012 the Petfinder Foundation was selected by an ASPCA employee to receive their honorary $500 grant for general operating purposes.

We are very grateful to the ASPCA for their support in furthering our mission to help ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home!