Petfinder Foundation News

An Innovative Shelter Program Helps Princess Find Her Castle

One of the many shelters that won grants in The Animal Rescue Site’s Shelter+ Challenge last year was the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha. Grants Manager Alexandra Nather wrote to tell us how our $1,000 grant changed the life of one very special dog there.

Princess leaves the shelter with her new BFF.

“Being an open-admission shelter, we accept all animals, and many with special needs or circumstances have long stays with us. The following is the story of Princess, a young Pit Bull who finally found the perfect forever home after being at the shelter for five months.

“One of the biggest challenges we faced at our shelter last year was finding creative ways to handle dogs who had a long shelter stay. Princess forced our staff to think outside the box.

“She came to the shelter because her owner didn’t have the time or money to care for her. She was young, strong and out of control, but oh, so loveable. She would sit on desks, go through the trash and jump over half doors. It soon became clear that working with her in the shelter was not enough — we needed to find a way to get her off-site and exercised, both mentally and physically.

“We created a new dog-walker program called Shelter Support. Trained volunteers led teams that worked with Princess. The dog walkers scheduled times and days to take her off-site to the lake or to McDonald’s for ice cream, out to a shopping mall or a store where well-mannered dogs are allowed.

Princess relaxes at her new home.

“The new support system was a success and made all the difference for Princess and other dogs with similar issues. After five months of shelter care, a calmer and well-mannered Princess finally found her forever home (complete with one adoring little girl).

“We are most grateful to be the recipient of a $1,000 grant through the Shelter+ Challenge. Thank you for helping us care for homeless pets.”

Thanks to the Nebraska Humane Society, the Animal Rescue Site and, of course, Princess’s new family for finally giving her a castle to call home!

 

For One Rescue Group, the Petfinder Foundation Is ‘The Angel in the Wake of a Storm’

Alvin is one of the adoptable pets at H.E.A.L.S. in Lodi, NJ.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast on Oct. 29, 2012, many animal shelters lost power and supplies. One of them was Helping Every Animal Live Society Inc. (H.E.A.L.S.) in Lodi, NJ, which received a $2,500 disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation. H.E.A.L.S. cofounder Benjamin Ortiz wrote to tell us about the impact the grant had for his organization.

“Days prior to Hurricane Sandy, H.E.A.L.S. had rescued 12 puppies and four adult dogs from a southern shelter that was scheduled to euthanize them on the same day that Sandy was set to make landfall in New Jersey. H.E.A.L.S. knew that this was unfair to these sweet babies and made the decision to save them from a sure death and bring them home.

“We knew the battle to keep the dogs alive was just starting when we saw how intense the storm had become and the condition of the puppies when they arrived at H.E.A.L.S. They had upper respiratory infections along with canine influenza and were immediately treated and prescribed antibiotics and cough medicine. It seemed they had gotten sick during their transportation from the south and the stress of transport made their illness worse — these babies needed a lot of T.L.C.

Flooding outside the H.E.A.L.S. shelter in Lodi, NJ.

“The antibiotics that were prescribed needed refrigeration, as did many of the vaccines we had in stock, so we made sure we had a generator prepared in case we lost power. H.E.A.L.S. prepared as much as possible for the worst, but Hurricane Sandy planned to outsmart us.

“When the storm hit, we lost power within the first hour and flooding began soon after. The generator was knocked off the platform and swept into the nearby river. We immediately filled our coolers with bags of ice that we had bought in case all else failed and put all the medications in the coolers.

“When the storm had passed, the ice in the cooler had melted and the puppies’ condition has shown very little improvement. The medication was no longer refrigerated and no vets or animal hospitals were open due to their own damages and power failures. Sadly, many of the puppies’ got worse. Days passed and still no power; gasoline became a privilege. We struggled to find fuel to transport these animals to Pennsylvania to receive proper medical attention, but it was impossible.

“Finally, after a week, some power was restored and we received notice that a nearby vet was now open for a few hours. We immediately ran there with the puppies. After a full check-up, the vet advised us to hospitalize the puppies because their condition was critical and it was going to take a lot of medical treatment to get them healthy again. The bill for the treatment and the hospital stay, after a discount, would come out to $2,446. We could not afford this enormous bill. But we told the vet that we would have the money and to please treat our babies (we knew that their lives were more important than a bad credit report and there was no way that we were going to let them die).

“I cannot tell you how much stress I was under at that moment. I had no idea how we would raise $2,500 in two days. That night, I went home, opened up my e-mail and saw a message from the Petfinder Foundation. This angel by the name of Toni Morgan had sent us a grant application. I immediately filled it out and prayed that we could get something to cover at least half the vet bill.

“God knew what He was doing, as always, and this angel was at work for him. Within a few days we received an e-mail stating that we were approved for the grant and that the check was in the mail. THIS WAS THE MOST UPLIFTING MOMENT EVER! I immediately printed this e-mail, showed it to the vet and was granted some time to pay the bill. The most incredible thing was that when the checked arrived, it was for $2,500 — just the right amount! The Petfinder Foundation was and still is our ANGEL! THANK YOU for everything! You GUYS ARE AMAZING!”

We are so happy we could help H.E.A.L.S. and its dogs survive the storm and their illness. Thank you to everyone who donated to our Hurricane Sandy relief efforts to make lifesaving grants like this one possible!

 

Hurricane Sandy Pets Get Handmade Quilts to Keep them Warm

A-Rod, a favorite cat at St. Hubert’s, rests on his kennel quilt. He loves to knead the quilt before taking his naps.

In the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, the Petfinder Foundation was contacted by Nan Baker of The Quilt Pattern Magazine with one question: “How can we help?” With an audience who loves quilting, and many shelters in need of blankets to keep their pets warm, there was a clear answer. The Petfinder Foundation provided the names of groups in need of blankets for their pets. With that information, the online magazine asked its subscribers to put their passion to good use by creating small “kennel quilts” for the pets affected by the disaster. (You can see the pattern and the list of shelters who need quilts here.)

How did their audience respond? With more than 60 quilts made and mailed, and more on the way.

St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in New Jersey said the quilts they received have been a big help to their shelter and the shelters they are assisting.

Grey Joy, a kitten at Pets Alive in New York, tests out his new kennel quilt.

Vice President Nora Parker says, “The quilts are the PERFECT size for the kitty Kuranda beds that we (and many others) use at the shelter, so they work for both the cubbies and around the cattery when the cats are out lounging around.

“We’ve been happy we could send some off to the supply spot at the Jersey Shore. We will send more when we have them as we are keeping that spot stocked for those folks into the new year. The quilts keep coming in! I thought you’d like to know that we’ve just received a package with seven quilts and a sweet note from a lady in ENGLAND!”

The generous readers of The Quilt Pattern Magazine aren’t slowing down, and they expect this to be an ongoing effort. Nan Baker tells us, “We know there will be more occasions where quilts are needed, and we want to be ready to respond when there is a need! The shelters that have received the quilts have been so appreciative. This is one way we can let them know we are so grateful for the work they are doing in taking care of animals in need.”

The Quilt Pattern Magazine has free downloadable patterns on their website for anyone who wishes to contribute to this effort. Get the pattern here. To learn more about the effort, read The Quilt Pattern Magazine’s blog or visit the magazine’s Kennel Quilt page to download the pattern and see a list of shelters in need.

 

How I Nursed Four Abandoned Puppies Back to Health

This is the culprit who brought the Petfinder Foundation to its knees

Brody helped nurse Bella back to health.

Brody’s mother adopted this little girl, whom she named Maggie.

While taking a late afternoon stroll through my uncle’s rural desert property 40 miles west of Tucson recently, my mother and I happened across four abandoned puppies. They were cold and starving, barely a week old and unable to open their eyes. We knew that, without a stable environment, these little guys wouldn’t survive much longer. We scooped them up and carried them home.

After a warm bath and a little puppy formula, the four perked up. They were so adorable. But I already have four dogs and a kitten, so I knew I couldn’t provide them with a forever home. My mother and I decided to foster them until they were healthy enough to adopt out. We’ve had them for a few weeks now and they’ve grown rapidly. They appear to be a mix of Husky and Chow Chow, but we don’t know for sure. Each puppy has his or her own look and a unique personality to match. My mother is adopting one of the females, whom she’s named Maggie, and there are two females and one male still looking for homes.

A local rescue group, In the Arms of Angels, has volunteered to vaccinate and spay or neuter the puppies to get them ready for their forever homes. Check back for more updates!

We are working with a Tucson organization, In the Arms of Angels, to vet and adopt out these three puppies. There are two females and one male (on the right).

 

Cute Puppy Temporarily Shuts Down the Petfinder Foundation

Noah Horton, assistant director

Today, our program assistant, Brody Anderson, brought the Petfinder Foundation to a screeching halt for about five minutes. I was on the phone talking with one of our partners when I heard the screaming begin. What started as unintelligible squealing eventually turned into one understandable word: “Puuuuupy!!!” As soon as I was off the phone I rushed in to see what all the fuss was about, and this is what I saw:

This is the culprit who brought the Petfinder Foundation to its knees.

Bringing a puppy into the Petfinder Foundation offices is a recipe for distraction. Work ground to a halt, and this little girl (who doesn’t have a name yet—any ideas?) was showered with affection. I think Scarlett, our executive director’s lab mix and another office dog, felt a little left out.

Executive director Lisa Robinson’s Lab mix, Scarlett, felt a little left out. She was given a ton of love and treats shortly after this photo was taken!

Despite our inclinations to take the day off and play with the puppy, we knew we needed to go back to work. I decided I needed the best of both worlds, and so as I write this post, the puppy is sleeping in my lap.

This is how Noah reacts when a puppy comes in the office!

As it turns out, this little girl is part of a litter of four that Brody found and nursed back to health. They look like Chow/Husky mixes, they’re approximately three months old, and all of them are adorable. Brody’s mother adopted one of them, but the other three still need homes. Stay tuned!

 

Muriel the Coonhound was Starving, with Heartworm and a Broken Leg

Muriel, before her rescue, with a badly broken right foreleg

Muriel is a redbone coonhound whose life was saved – and transformed – by American Black & Tan Coonhound Rescue, Inc., thanks to a $1,000 grant from the Petfinder Foundation and the Pedigree Foundation. The organization’s VP and treasurer, Molly Smith, wrote to us with Muriel’s story.

At 45 lbs., Muriel was emaciated.

“The grant allowed us to save a young coonhound, Muriel, and provide her with the care needed to allow her to live a full life. She is now adopted and has a great home. Without your grant, the medical expense would have been a major hardship for our group.

“Muriel was found in Alabama, skeletal and limping. But what a gentle, loving spirit she had in spite of everything that had happened to her. In her short two years, she had seen more than her share of pain. We suspect that she was hit by a car; her right front leg had no sensation and she did not use it to walk. When she was found, she hadn’t had food in a long time, and at only 45 lbs., she was at least 20 lbs. underweight.

“Muriel had her right front leg amputated on Aug. 10, 2012, was treated for heartworm, and by the end of August, she had found her forever home!” (See more photos of Muriel and her new family at ABTCR’s website.)

Her adopter, Brian, sent this update to the rescue group in September: “Muriel’s new name, Nyla, means winner or victor in the Creek Indian language. How appropriate for one who has survived so much adversity and made it to her new, loving, forever home.

Today, she is happy and healthy in her new home.

“She is getting along great with our other Coonie, Belle, and our old girl Golden Retriever, Sophie. They act like they have known each other forever. She has adapted well to her amputation and is eating us out of house and home. She still needs to gain a few pounds but we are going to have to watch her to be sure she doesn’t gain too much. She is such a sweet girl. How do these dogs go through so much and still trust and love their new families?

“Nyla is enjoying being in the country and loves to ‘tree,’ looking for squirrels and other critters. She may be slowed down a little by her amputation, but she is the most ‘handicapable’ animal I have ever seen. There is nothing she won’t attempt. She is going to do just fine.”

Thank you to the Pedigree Foundation, American Black & Tan Coonhound Rescue and everyone who made Muriel’s wonderful new life possible!

 

VIDEO: Rescue U Helps Carolina Waterfowl Rescue Rebuild

Noah Horton, assistant director

When Carolina Waterfowl Rescue was hit by a tornado in spring 2012, wind destroyed many of the structures that housed the adoptable and wild birds the rescue cares for. Kennels, cages and full sheds were blown across the property; feeding areas and barns lost their roofs; and several birds were injured. Rescue director Jennifer Gordon remembers the day the storms hit: “I was outside scrambling to get supplies in the shed, and the roof was lifted off, just like you see in tornado movies.”

Local volunteers made initial repairs (CWR is an all-volunteer organization), but the rescue still needed help. So Rescue U volunteers from Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona, Washington and North Carolina took time off work or gave up their school vacations to renovate the facility. Our projects include a new barn to store supplies and serve as a bird habitat, privacy fencing around the goat enclosure (CWR is also home to rescued goats!), more than 1,500 feet of chain-link fencing surrounding the property to keep out foxes, raccoons and other predators, repair on the existing fencing and gates, and several habitat and feeding structures around the property, including one on an island that can be reached only by kayak.

Mr. Pringles, a grey goose, will benefit from the barn being built by Rescue U volunteers. “Pringles is the dominant goose,” says rescue director Jennifer Gordon, “so he will be able to pick his spot in the barn first!”

The barn, in particular, will be a godsend. Many of the cage-free waterfowl prefer to roost inside when it is cold or rainy. Rescue U volunteers will build several of the raised beds they normally build for dogs to keep the birds off the ground, since birds lose a lot of body heat through their feet. Most importantly, the barn will provide protection for all the birds in the case of another terrible storm. “We get a lot of storms here,” Gordon says. “It will be nice to know we have a safe place to protect our birds when another one hits.”

This project was generously funded entirely by The Animal Rescue Site. Volunteers are here until Jan. 11. Stay tuned for more updates on construction progress and the pets who will benefit from the work!

 

Rescue U Builds a Barn to Protect Adoptable Birds

Noah Horton, assistant director

A curious Canada goose comes to the island to check on the progress of his new pole barn.

Today I experienced a little bit of island life. No, there weren’t any piña coladas, Hawaiian shirts or tanning sessions — I was working on an island at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in Indian Trail, NC, as a part of our current Rescue U renovation project. (Read more about the renovation.)

A Rescue U volunteer ferries building supplies to the island via kayak.

CWR has around 150 adoptable birds at any given time. The majority are cage-free waterfowl, and those birds need water to swim, for enrichment and grooming and to avoid predators. There are several small ponds around the 11-acre property that serve this purpose. The largest pond surrounds a small island on which the geese and ducks at the rescue can sleep overnight to keep themselves safe. However, they were still vulnerable to birds of prey such as owls at night. Rescue U decided to build a pole barn — a small barn without walls — on the island to protect the birds from aerial predators and the elements and to keep the food kept on the island dry in the rain.

The only way to get to the island is by kayak. This makes building a bit of a process, as all tools and supplies must be ferried across the pond. And because the barn would rest on uneven ground and the boards had to be cut at odd angles, each board had to be measured and marked on the island, sent back to the mainland to be cut, then ferried back and installed. Finally, after a huge team effort, the whole pole-barn team and I were on location with all the supplies we needed to get the job done.

It took all day, with curious adoptable geese frequently coming over to say hello and check on our progress, but by the end of the day, the barn was completed. The waterfowl now have a little extra protection from the elements and predators.

In the coming days, Rescue U volunteers will be building a feeding box to store under the pole barn so food won’t need to be taken to the island by kayak as often, and will stay dry once there. Stay tuned for more updates!

Noah (center) and other volunteers celebrate the completion of the pole barn, which will protect many of the birds at the rescue.

Once Chained and Starved, Now Beloved by a Whole Neighborhood

Kase, now renamed Chance, with his adoptive mom, Marcia

Together with our partners at The Animal Rescue Site, we’ve given more than $1 million to shelters and rescue groups through the Shelter+ Challenge. Among them: Second Chance Rescue in Bunnell, FL, which received a $1,000 grant.

Second Chance founder Debi Root wrote to us about how they used the money. “Our rescue was in dire need of large crates, both for overflow at the shelter and for our adoption events,” she said. “With this grant, we were able to purchase 14 extra-large crates and now we can take more dogs to events/adoptions and are finding more homes! We go to our local Petsmart store every Saturday from 11-5 and take as many dogs as we have crates for to meet potential new and forever homes.”

Chase “before”

One of the large dogs Second Chance could save thanks to the crates was Kase. “Kase was another guy who was too large for the few crates we [had before] and was adopted the very first time he went with us when we had the new crates!” Debi said.

“This poor guy was rescued after being taken on an abuse/neglect charge in Orange County. He was on a chain in the yard of an abandoned home, starved and living for who knows how long with a collar deeply embedded into his neck and throat (that required surgery to remove). He sends his thanks to you!”

His adopter, Marcia, sent me this story of her adoption of Kase, now renamed Chance.

“On Oct. 11, 2012, our beloved 10-year-old Rottweiler, Lyla, had to be put down because of bone cancer. My husband, Phil, Lyla and I were like the three musketeers, doing everything together: traveling, camping, hiking, jogging, you name it. Her passing left a huge hole in our hearts, and on the day I went to our local vet to donate her food and medications, I mentioned this to Cheryl, the receptionist. Cheryl suggested looking into a rescue dog as a possible way to at least partially aliviate our sadness.

“We had always adopted dogs (Lyla was our third adopted Rottweiler) but never from a rescue. That afternoon, while browsing the Internet, I came across the Petfinder adoption site for the first time. I entered ‘Rottweiler’ and ‘Florida’ on the site and read about Chance, who was then called Kase. I looked at his picture and read his story to my husband while crying about his awful abuse. I was so moved by his story that I immediately filled out the adoption form and wrote to Second Chance Rescue about coming to Bunnell, Florida, to see him the following day.

Chase is now happy and healthy.

“Very early the next morning, we were out biking and the phone rang. It was Dana from Second Chance asking if we could drive up to see him. She had called our references and she thought we would be ideal owners for Chance. ‘Yes, we’d love to,’ I told her, and as soon as we were back home from our bike ride, we drove the 70+ miles to Bunnell.

“When Kelly, who works at Second Chance, brought Kase out, my husband I both felt, without saying a word to each other, that he was special -– there was kindness and soulfulness in his face that instantly touched our hearts, along with playfulness and exuberance that seemed totally remarkable, considering the abuse he’d suffered. Although my husband was due to have hip-replacement surgery the following Wednesday, we took him home, only stopping at Petsmart to buy a crate large enough to accommodate him and sign the adoption papers.

“How has Chance’s life changed? For one thing, he is now in a home where he is loved and appreciated for the magnificent animal he is. In fact, everyone in my neighborhood adores him and friends stop by just to see him, bringing along their children to meet him. His demeanor is so friendly and loving that everyone — from our neighbors to the staff at our vet’s office to the guys who pick up our garbage — responds to him.

“I’ve been working for the past few weeks with a dog trainer, and she believes he has the potential to be a therapy dog someday. My husband and I hope to achieve that goal, since we think his story is so compelling: He went from not knowing anything about a house (I don’t think he’d ever been inside one before we adopted him) to becoming housetrained in two days. He is extremely smart and has insatiable curiosity. He loves to ride in our truck and is a fantastic jogging partner, logging two-plus miles a day at my side. He has also learned many commands, such as sit, lie down, stay and come here, and he has never once shown any kind of antisocial behavior.

“The best change in his life, though, is that at night, when my husband and I are reading on the living room couch, he curls up next to us, calm and content, knowing we are there for him. When we first got him, he would go out into our backyard on his own, but only for a moment or two before rushing back into the house. It was clear that he was afraid he’d once again be abandoned. That soon changed, and today, for example, while we were eating lunch, he went outside, stretched out on the grass, and went to sleep in the sun, obviously secure in the fact that he was home for good.

“We love the fact that he has a tail (all our previous Rotties had theirs cropped) since we can immediately sense his emotions by its expressive wagging. They say that when you rescue a dog, the dog, in return, rescues you, and in this case it is definitely true. Absolutely, I believe that Chance helped my husband recover faster from his surgery, and helped us recover from the loss of Lyla. In short, Chance has filled our hearts with love and joy by being the wonderful guy he is.”

Thank you to Debi, Marcia and everyone else who made Chance’s rescue and wonderful new life possible!