Petfinder Foundation News

A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge!

Mary-Kate, an adoptable cat at The Long Island Feline Adoption Center, is healthier thanks to a vaccination grant from BIVI and the Petfinder Foundation.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) and The Animal Rescue Site to help vaccinate 2 million shelter pets.

The initiative, called A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge!, is a three-part collaboration to help protect shelter pets against disease so that they are more likely to be adopted.

Nearly 8 million pets enter shelters each year, with about half of them making it out. A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge! will vaccinate 25 percent of the shelter population and hopefully help more animals be adopted.

Visitors to The Animal Rescue Site, a partner of, can click daily on the “Click Here — it’s FREE” button on the site. For every click, the funding from advertising sponsors helps pay for food and care for shelter animals.

The Petfinder Foundation works with shelters, rescue organizations and animal welfare organizations across the country to help ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home. Based on the number of clicks the campaign gets through The Animal Rescue Site, the Petfinder Foundation will work with local shelters to provide vaccination awards.

BIVI will provide the vaccines that will be granted to shelters to vaccinate both dogs and cats. “We are extremely excited about this partnership,” says Colin Meyers, BIVI’s executive director, pet division. “We believe prevention is the best medicine and that every dog and cat deserves to be protected against disease.”

BIVI has already donated 13,500 doses of vaccine to help pets displaced by Superstorm Sandy. Working with the Petfinder Foundation, more than 13,000 pets were vaccinated due to this effort, and BIVI hopes A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge! will continue to help more animals be vaccinated.

“Imagine 2 million animals being vaccinated just because people went to The Animal Rescue Site and clicked on our sponsorship ad,” says Meyers. “It is truly amazing what we can do if we work together, and I look forward to the day we vaccinate that two-millionth pet.”

“The Animal Rescue site is proud to have Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., as a partner,” says Liz Baker, executive director of “We believe together we can give shelter pets a better chance of finding homes by keeping them healthy with vaccinations.”

“Our mission is to ensure no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a home,” says Petfinder Foundation executive director Lisa Robinson. “Providing good health is one of the biggest steps in helping animals find good homes. BIVI is providing that through preventive health.”

To help donate to the challenge and for information on how the challenge is progressing, visit

If you are with a Petfinder shelter or rescue group and would like to apply for a vaccination grant, click here.


Kitten Thrown from a Car Finds Love


We received this grant report from Cyndi Dill at HELP Humane Society in Belton, MO, which received a Shelter+ Challenge grant from the Petfinder Foundation and The Animal Rescue Site.

Slick and his new best friend.

“Slick was brought into our vet clinic right at closing time on a Saturday afternoon. A Good Samaritan had seen the kitten get tossed from a car right in front of her. She stopped to help the kitten but could not afford to have his injuries treated. Her vet contacted us about taking over his care and we were happy to be able to help him.

“Our vets were not sure he would survive — he had many injuries and a hairline fracture on one of this back legs. He did survive and is now in a family where they can’t imagine life without him. Their little girl dresses him up. He is now a year old. Slick loves his little girl.

“In addition, we were able to purchase 30 feline leukemia/FIV combo tests at $813.60. Each and every cat that comes into our shelter must be tested, and the test is not cheap. We were so happy to be able to purchase these with a portion of your grant!”

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Animal Rescue Site’s Shelter+ Challenge. Your donations enable us to help shelters and rescue groups help more pets like Slick.


How Did Five ‘Hard-to-Place’ Dogs Find Homes?

Dart was adopted thanks to a grant from the Petfinder Foundation and Orvis.

We received this grant report from Peg Zappen at Coulee Region Humane Society in Onalaska, WI. The shelter received a grant from the Petfinder Foundation and Orvis, which for the second year in a row is matching your donations to the Petfinder Foundation dollar-for-dollar up to $30,000. (Donate now and double your impact!)


“Several dogs with special needs got boosts toward adoptability. We used grant funds for extra veterinary care that removed obstacles to adoption for these dogs.

Dart is a 6-year-old male pug cross who is very social, loves to give kisses and had very bad breath. His teeth were so bad that adopters were reluctant to look at him very seriously. Thanks to you, lucky Dart got his very bad teeth cleaned, a tooth extracted and was neutered. He now has a sweet smile and has been adopted.

“Choodle is a male poodle/Chihuahua cross who loves to be dressed in sweaters and cuddled but sadly suffered from bad teeth and very bad breath. Choodle also benefited from having his teeth cleaned and needed dental extraction completed and was neutered. He became much more appealing and is now in his forever home.


“Wyatt is a male redbone coonhound — a common dog in this part of the country — surrendered because he was missing a foot. Wyatt was neutered, which is just what it took to make it easier to place him. He is now living in a coonhound-loving home.

“Sweet Maggie is an 8-year-old beagle with too many strikes against her, including epilepsy. Thanks to you, she had seven teeth extracted, improving her prospects for long-term good health. An adopter with experience with an epileptic dog saw her, saw the work that had been done for her and wanted to keep her run of good luck going by taking her home forever.

“Pee Wee is a charming, snuggly Chihuahua mix who was surrendered to us by a man who was devastated because he had accidentally hurt this dog. This gentleman was dog-sitting Pee Wee for a friend and accidentally stepped on Pee Wee’s leg and broke it. The man had dogs of his own and was not accustomed to having a small dog underfoot. He offered to pay for half of the veterinary care for Pee Wee, but the owner said Pee Wee was not worth spending money on and wouldn’t take him back. Our gentleman already had all the dogs he could manage, could not truly afford any vet care, and brought Pee Wee to us.


“We turned to the Petfinder Foundation’s Orvis grant funds for help. A local vet x-rayed Pee Wee’s leg, found a fracture that required surgery and performed the surgery for less than $250. A vet tech is providing foster care until Pee Wee can be safely adopted out.

“These five dogs would not be in such good shape, with such good fortune and hope, without you. Thank you so very much.”

Donate today and Orvis will match your gift to help more dogs like these find forever homes!




Cats in Long Island are Healthier Thanks to Our Grant

Mary-Kate with her vaccines.

We received this email from Lisa Napoli, shelter manager at The Long Island Feline Adoption Center in Smithtown, NY. LIFAC received a grant from the Petfinder and Boehringer Ingelheim to replace vaccines that had been destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.

“On behalf of the Long Island Feline Adoption Center, I would like to take this opportunity to thank BI and the Petfinder Foundation for awarding us this vaccination grant.

“During the storm our facility lost power, destroying the vaccines we had for our animals. These vaccines can be costly and replacing them ourselves would have been a hardship that we would have otherwise been forced to endure on our own.

“As a rescue, we know that every penny counts, so we are extremely thankful for the assistance we received.

Baby with her vaccines.

“Here are a few pictures of our cats waiting to receive their vaccines. The brown tabby is Baby, who has been at the adoption center for a few years now. She stays in the office and greets everyone who comes into our adoption center.

“The second picture is of a tabby-and-white cat named Mary-Kate. She can be shy at times but is very sweet. She is a beautiful kitty and is waiting for her perfect home.

“Thanks again for helping us in our time of need. These vaccines will be of great benefit to all of our cats and kittens here at the shelter. Now we can focus all of our efforts on getting them each good homes.”


A Shelter Renovation is the Key to Getting Pets Adopted

The Petfinder Foundation‘s program assistant and resident photographer-videographer, Brody Anderson, spent last week in Tavares, FL, documenting Rescue U  ‘s renovation of Lake County Animal Services. He sent back this report:

This cat at Lake County Animal Services in Tavares, FL, will enjoy a new outdoor enclosure.

“I was fortunate enough to be a part of Rescue U’s January project at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in Indian Trail, NC, so I thought I had a good idea of what I would witness at the Tavares build. The shelter would undergo a series of improvements with the intention of enriching the lives of the pets living there. Happy, healthy pets have a much better chance of finding forever homes.

“During the course of my visit, I had the opportunity to speak with the shelter’s animal services director, Marjorie Boyd. As our conversation progressed, I began to truly understand the impact the project would have for the shelter’s pets.

Zeus (left) and his sister Princess were both adopted during the Rescue U renovation.

“Marjorie was very excited about the new meet-and-greet yard. Families will now have a chance to spend quality time with the dogs, in the sun and away from the noisy kennel environment. With their stress levels lowered, each dog will have the chance to impress adopters. The majority of the shelter dogs were well-behaved, and many knew tricks. Playing a quick game of fetch or demonstrating sit-and-stay skills could be a shelter dog’s ticket to scoring a forever home.

“Being a big fan of cats, I was dismayed to hear how many at the shelter are euthanized each year. At first glance, many cats can seem shy and distant. This can be a turnoff for families looking for a household pet. Marjorie hopes the new outdoor cat enclosures and the new playroom will go a long way toward changing this perception. She works diligently to promote cat adoption and she’s convinced these new areas will have a positive effect.

“After my discussion with Marjorie, I wandered through the kennel corridors with my camera. I came across Zeus and Princess, brother and sister Pit Bull mixes. It was sad seeming them behind the chain-link kennel gates, but thanks to your generous donations, they got the chance to run and play in the meet-and-greet yard. And sure enough, both were adopted while I was in Florida.”

Your donation to the Petfinder Foundation will help us renovate more shelters and give even more homeless pets a better quality of life and greater chance at finding forever homes.

Rescue U is Off to Florida!

Pets like this border collie-mix girl will benefit from Rescue U’s renovation.

The Animal Rescue Site and the Petfinder Foundation’s Rescue U is in Tavares, FL, at Lake County Animal Services from March 9-15 performing some much-needed renovations. Volunteers from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, New Jersey and Florida are rolling up their sleeves.

The adoptable dogs at Lake County Animal Services will have plenty of space to play and exercise with a new 50’x70′ exercise pen built by Rescue U volunteers. 

Right now there are only two small outdoor play areas for the dogs at the shelter, which severely limits the amount of play and exercise time each dog is able to get. Rescue U is building a brand new 50’x70’ outdoor exercise pen. This will mean a significant increase in the amount of time each dog gets outside, making the dogs happier, healthier and more adoptable.

Rescue U is also making general fencing repairs throughout the shelter. Several of the cat and dog kennels are in need of repair, and the industrial perimeter fence needs to be replaced in some areas. Our Rescue U volunteers will fix this for Lake County Animal Services to make sure their kennels are safe and their perimeter is secure.

By the end of the Rescue U build, this area will include two outdoor play areas for the adoptable cats at the shelter.

The cats at the shelter are getting a special focus on this trip. Not only will their kennels be repaired where needed, but the cat room is getting a fresh coat of paint, and a mural to brighten up the mood of the room for potential adopters!

The Petfinder Foundation also ran a Groupon Grassroots campaign to help fund two outdoor cat play areas. These areas will vastly improve the quality of life of the cats at the shelter, allowing them a safe, stress-free place to stretch and play outside. This will reduce upper respiratory infections and other communicable disease and make the cats at the shelter much more adoptable.

All in all, this trip will make a huge difference for Lake County Animal Services. There is a lot of work to do in one week, but Rescue U will get the job done as always!


We’re Helping Shelter Cats See the Sun

A cat at Lake County Animal Services in Tavares, FL

Doug Woolsey, program manager

With Rescue U, I spend a lot of time going into animal shelters across the U.S., scouting locations for renovations, volunteering my time and actually building. The majority of the time, we focus our efforts on the outside, building exercise pens, meet-and-greet areas, and making functional repairs to the building or surrounding grounds.

One thing that always strikes me whenever I go into an animal shelter is the cats. Most of the time, the cats have their own large room and it’s filled with small cages where the cats spend the majority of their time. Some shelters have a colony room that the cats can go into for a short period of time, but then it’s back to the small cage. Typically there is no natural light, poor air flow and not enough room for them to exercise. That’s why building safe, enclosed outdoor cat areas is so important.

When we did a renovation in Jefferson City, TN, at the Humane Society of Jefferson County last May, we built an outdoor cat area, and I left feeling like I had really made a difference in the lives of the cats. I have a small obsession with cats. When I go into shelters, I always look at the ferals. It’s because of them that I realize how dire the cat situation is: Seeing a cat who is used to roaming free and fending for himself trapped in a cage and terrified shows me what the other cats have resigned themselves to. When I saw the cats in Jefferson City run out into the sun and have a safe place to stretch out and relax or play, it made all the frustration and hard work that went into building that enclosed yard instantly worth every second.

Petunia is a happy cat at the Humane Society of Jefferson County thanks to lots of outdoor time!

On March 9-16, Rescue U is going to Lake County Animal Services in Tavares, FL, for our spring break renovation, and one of the projects we are doing is building two separate outdoor enclosures that will include cat trees, scratching posts and toys.

This is extremely important for these cats. The area where they keep the cats is small, has no natural light and is very stuffy. The new enclosures will not only allow the cats to have some outdoor time, but greatly improve their overall well-being. Melissa Enck Descant, shelter director at the Humane Society of Jefferson County, said it best: “The difference we have seen in the cats has been amazing. They are happier, healthier and more playful. Our adoption rate for kittens has also increased. People love being able to go in and interact with the kittens, helping them to find their perfect companion. Our euthanasia rate is also down thanks to how healthy everyone has been.”

For this trip we started a Groupon Grassroots Campaign to help with the cost of building the yards. Our goal was to raise $500, and the campaign ended up raising $800, meaning donors made 80 donations of $10. The wonderful thing about the program is that the donations received beyond our goal will be used exclusively for improving life for the cats at the Tavares shelter. The last Groupon Grassroots Campaign that Rescue U participated in raised more than double our goal, and thanks to our generous donors, the Humane Society of West Michigan received a much larger dog agility course and we were able to put more money into other projects for the shelter.

We have volunteers coming out from Oklahoma, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Kentucky to help with this build. I’m sure that everyone who participates in this project will get the same gratification that I did in Jefferson City when they see the cats run out into the sun, stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh air that they would not have gotten otherwise.


Rescued Golden Retrievers Stay Healthy Thanks to Vaccination Grant

Charlotte, a former puppy mill breeder, was vaccinated thanks to our grant.

We got this report from Robin L. Adams, executive director and cofounder of Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue Inc. in Reinholds, PA:

“While we bring in golden retrievers and goldendoodles on an almost daily basis, we have occasion to address emergency placements.

“Last week, such an event occurred. We were contacted by our golden retriever rescue partners in Tennessee about [an emergency] situation in Arkansas consisting of golden retrievers, German shepherds, great Pyreneese, pigs and horses. The Tennessee rescue was not able to cope with a sudden influx of golden retrievers, and knowing that we can handle these situations due to our facility, Golden Gateway, we of course said yes.

“A cooperative effort between the Great Pyrenees Club and DVGRR resulted in finding transportation for 16 dogs (11 golden retrievers, five great Pyrenees) to Golden Gateway. We provided overnight housing and care for the great Pyrenees, who were then picked up the following day to be taken to a veterinarian and ultimately, foster homes.

“The ARK 11, as we called them, and 45 golden retrievers before them have been the beneficiary of 56 of the vaccines to date.

“For DVGRR, the impact of Hurricane Sandy was felt in the form of the loss of the rubber mulch we use in an exercise area devoted to puppy-mill survivors (an estimated $10,000 repair), electricity loss (vaccines destroyed) and a large pool of donors no longer able to support our efforts due to their own personal loss.

“We are extremely grateful to the Petfinder Foundation for their collective efforts to help continue rehoming of animals everywhere.”


Our Vaccination Grant Protects Dozens of Cats in the Adirondacks

Cats like Nova at Adirondack Save a Stray benefited from our vaccination grant.

We got this note from Meredith Fiel at Adirondack Save A Stray in Corinth, NY, which recently received a vaccination grant from the Petfinder Foundation to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy:

“We were able to update the 65 cats and several kittens in our cat room and kitten area. This was done as a direct result of your fabulous grant. We were able to update all of the rabies and distemper vaccines to all that needed it. We are extremely grateful. We still have leftover vaccines and because of that, we were able to take in and rescue additional cats and dogs and many have been placed into loving homes.

“Our cat room has free-roaming kitties. [Cats can spend time there] once they are vaccinated and vet-checked and all of the medical attention has been done. This cuts down on a lot of stress. Our puppies are in our puppy rooms and our older dogs are in the kitchen and adoption area and kenneled at night. We try to have a stress-free environment for all of our furbabies until they are adopted into loving and forever homes.

“Again, I want to thank you for all you have done on behalf of the animals here and everywhere. You have made many tails wag and hearts purr.”


Twister Was Abandoned, Starving, with her 10 Puppies

Twister, as she looked when she was rescued

We received this grant report from Bellowood Rescue in Cedar Springs, MI, which received an operations grant last year from the Petfinder Foundation and the Pedigree Foundation. The story has a happy ending for mama dog Twister and her pups. As Bellowood president Kimberly Schreuder tells us, “With the wonderful lifesaving grant from the Petfinder Foundation, we were able to vet and take care of Twister and her entire family, including little Iris who had a broken leg. Thank you, Petfinder Foundation!! Glad to have you on our team!”

Saving Twister: Anatomy of a Rescue
By Laurel Barrick

“It was Aug. 1. The caller was clearly distraught as she described how the mother dog had sat trembling in the middle of a busy road, with cars driving around her. Her teats were swollen beyond belief, in stark contrast to her backbone and ribs showing through the skin stretched tightly over her skeleton. All the woman knew was that the dog was in Morley, near a shop where her husband had purchased some parts. She did not know the address or the cross street. She thought maybe the dog belonged to the man who owned the shop. Her husband was furious at her for calling, but she could not get the image of this mama dog shivering in the heat of day in the middle of a road out of her mind. And so she called Bellowood, the closest rescue she could find. Then, with her husband yelling at her to ‘mind your own business,’ she said she couldn’t tell me any more and she had to get off the phone.

Her teats were swollen, her body nearly skeletal.

“Aug. 2 was a frustrating day as myself and Rhonda Waldorf from Safe Haventried to find a clue to the dog’s whereabouts that we could follow. The caller said to try looking on Craig’s List for ‘lawnmower repair.’ Rhonda found a number that might be the shop and called but was told by a man that it was not his dog and he didn’t know what she was talking about.

“The next day, Aug. 3, did not start out much better. I had to call the woman back and beg her to please look up the phone number for the shop when her husband wasn’t around. We were not getting anywhere trying to locate the dog. Finally, armed with the correct phone number, Rhonda again called, and while the dog was not related to the shop at all, a man was able to tell her that he thought she might be his neighbor’s dog. He could not give a name or address, but was able to give her directions to the house where he thought the dog might be.