Success Stories

Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.

Spokane Humane Society: Play Yard Renovation Grant
What was the money or product used for?

This grant will be used to renovate the main play yards used by our team for our playgroups, which are guided by the protocols of Dogs Playing for Life.

We have had a delay in expending the funds due to staff changes. Our facilities manager unexpectedly resigned his position and a new executive director was delayed in starting with our organization. Now, freezing weather will delay the completion of the project until the spring.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant will help us exercise the dogs in our care. It will provide a safe, cleaner place for them to play and give our volunteers who supervise them a more pleasant environment.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant will help hundreds of pets.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

The Play Yard Renovation Grant will help us install irrigation and grass in our two main play yards used for Dogs Playing for Life playgroups. Theodore (first photo) is one of the dogs that would benefit from a cleaner play yard. Theodore was surrendered to us on July 10, 2021, and was described as dog-selective. DPFL-trained volunteers evaluated him and slowly introduced him to our play group, where they discovered that he was actually great with other dogs. The DPFL notes say that he is super patient, he’s a greeter/helper, he’s social, he plays gently and daintily, and that he’s a sweet dog!

This is why we love DPFL: It helps us see a dog’s personality in ways the previous owner couldn’t. This is a vitally important program to our adoption program and having a proper surface for the playgroups will allow the program to flourish. You can meet Theodore here.

Another one of the dogs who enjoys playgroups is Missy (second photo). From her Petfinder profile: “I’m a love bug! I want to be your adventure buddy. My medium-size is packed with athleticism, and I am ready to accompany you on walks and other adventures. In fact, I think I would make an excellent hiking partner. Are you ready for some exercise? I sure am!” You can meet Missy here.

From Facebook: “Our shelter dogs love the Dogs Playing for Life program where they get to stretch their legs and remember what it’s like just to be a dog again! We have amazing volunteers who make this happen four days a week. They have completed training programs so they can help these doggos live their best lives at the shelter, get the socialization they need and find out more about them and how they interact with other dogs. It truly is a masterpiece in dog behavior analysis run solely by dedicated volunteers!

“Before it begins, a lead volunteer analyzes each shelter dog and finds out which ones would belong in the ‘ruff & rowdy’ playgroup and which ones like to hang out, sniff around and just spend time in the fresh air. The ‘ruff & rowdy’ like to play hard and get all their energy out so they can better enjoy their days in their kennels and have a better kennel presence. With all the cooped-up energy in their kennels, they sometimes can seem like too much to handle, when all they really need is some space to run and play, then are ready to snuggle up and rest!

“This program is extremely vital to getting to know our dogs and helping potential owners choose their perfect match. Plus, it helps the dogs live healthier and better lives at the shelter. We wanted to thank the volunteers who make this happen in the early hours of the morning and can’t wait to share more about the program!”

Brown County Humane Society: Senior Pet Adoption Grants
What was the money or product used for?

The grant money was used to waive adoption fees for senior dogs and cats.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Having waived adoption fees for seniors provided a unique way to market the pet and gave us extra talking points when discussing specific pets with potential adopters. It set those seniors apart from other, younger pets. Seniors typically take extra time to find homes for, and the grant helped to bring attention to them and to decrease their length of stay. Getting them into happy homes quicker is a win for everyone!

How many pets did this grant help?

The grant covered adoption fees for five dogs: Blue, Clifford, Harmony, Kaden, and Nadia; and four cats: Boo Boo, Boom, Marvin, and Roo.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Blue (first photo) was found wandering around a rural part of the county. Neighbors had been seeing him for several days, but no one recognized him. Upon arrival at the shelter, he was terribly underweight, his coat was in bad shape, and he had a horrendous ear infection, so bad that he would yelp if you barely touched his ear; however, he was microchipped. Unfortunately, the contact information associated with the microchip was no good and his owner was never found.

After a veterinary work-up, it was discovered that Blue had diabetes insipidus and would need to be on medication for the rest of his life. Blue is estimated to be 9 years old, and with an ongoing medical issue, finding an adopter for him was a challenge. In addition, his kennel presence was terrible. He was so desperate for attention that he would bark nonstop when he saw anyone walk by, scaring potential adopters away.

Thanks to the grant, he was adopted relatively quickly, but the resident dogs at his new home did not accept him, so he was returned to the shelter. However, from that adoption, we learned what an awesome dog he was in a home and were able to do a lot more marketing.

After a few more weeks, a nurse from several states away read about Blue and decided he was the dog for her. She had been looking for just the right senior and was not concerned about his medical issue. She drove nine hours to meet Blue, fell in love with him and adopted him on the spot. Blue is now living his best life, and the grant helped us connect Blue with his new family.

Boo Boo (second photo) was surrendered by his family after living with them for 11 years. The reason? Not using the litter box. The family was not willing to pursue veterinary care to see if there was a medical reason for the recent change in his litterbox habits.

At the shelter, it was quickly determined that he had crystals in his urine and that was potentially why he was not using the litterbox. We put Boo Boo on a special diet and placed him in a foster home to evaluate his potty habits.

The foster reported that he did not have any accidents outside the litterbox and that he loved children. Boo Boo had been reserved with people in the foster home until the 8-year-old nephew came to visit. Boo Boo went right up to the nephew for pets and was rubbing on his legs and even started purring. Those details, along with the waived adoption fee, helped us to create great marketing for Boo Boo and to find his forever home.

Love-A-Bull, Inc.: Bar Dog Operation Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The money from the Bar Dog Operation Grant was used for the care of and supplies required by a medical-needs puppy.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant helped us care for a small, white pit bull-type puppy who needed eye surgery by providing supplies for both his medical and general care. The grant also provided for supplies to care for a litter of four other motherless puppies we rescued from a rural euthanasia list. The cost of caring for puppies can be a lot! Puppy food, wet food, pee pads — the list goes on, and all of these things really start to add up on the way to helping them to get strong and find their forever homes!

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

We save the hard-to-save dogs and puppies from the euthanasia lists at rural or overcrowded shelters. Because we receive animals from shelters without any medical care services, we usually must provide the vaccinations, basic medical care, and then all of the supplies to our foster parents, which can be a lot for the amount of puppies we rescue!

One of these puppies was a small, white pup on the euthanasia list with his larger dog friend in San Antonio, TX. Another rescue in the area saved his friend, so we knew we had to save him! This poor 3-month-old puppy had two cherry eyes and a lot of missing fur from Demodex mange.

The Petfinder Foundation grant helped us put him on the road to recovery by providing funds for medical supplies and general puppy supplies before and after his eye surgery. He actually ended up losing one of his eyes due to further complications we discovered at the time of surgery, so having extra funds to make sure we could provide him the best care really helped. This puppy is now named Orson and he is enjoying a long recovery in his forever home with his new family!

Animal Rescue of Tracy: Emergency Medical Grant
What was the money or product used for?

Amputation of severely damaged leg.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Unexpected medical expenses such as this amputation are a challenge to a small rescue like ours. To have this amazing grant to cover this expense allowed our rescue to help a wonderful mama cat, Zephyr, without jeopardizing our ability to help other deserving cats and dogs.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Zephyr has not been adopted yet. She is still being socialized with her foster, as she came from the streets and is not used to being cared for as an indoor cat — although as a tripod, she can’t return to her previous life; it would not be safe for her. We are sure that, in time, she will learn to trust humans and be adopted into her forever home. You can meet Zephyr here.

SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke: Bar Dog Operation Grant
What was the money or product used for?

To prepare six large dogs for adoption (neuter, vaccinations, microchips, parasite treatment) and cover their adoption fees.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

All six dogs featured through the Petfinder Foundation Bar Dog grant found forever homes. One dog had been in shelter over 400 days.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Xena was brought to the Winchester SPCA in August of 2020. A local resident rescued her from an online site. She presented with superficial injuries the vet determined could have been due to fighting.

Xena’s wounds healed and she was vaccinated, spayed, and microchipped. A BARC behavioral assessment was completed and Xena performed well in all categories except for dog-to-dog interactions.

Xena is one of the friendliest dogs you will ever meet: She has an amazing personality and loves all humans. She loves belly scratches, snow, eating out of your hand, and playing outside. She traveled in a multi-pet transport van to get spayed, and she did great at the vet.

Still, finding Xena a home was a challenge. The Winchester SPCA wanted to ensure that Xena’s next home was forever. She needed a home without any other pets and a 6-foot privacy fence.

As Xena waited, she started to shut down. Often, she wouldn’t even want to leave her kennel for daily walks. Volunteers would come to read to Xena to help keep her spirits up. Staff and volunteers would carry the large lovebug when she refused to walk. Xena was well-loved in her time at the Winchester SPCA. Still, she deserved a family of her very own.

We featured six large dogs thanks to the grant from the Petfinder Foundation and Bar Dog Wines. Xena was mutt No. 3 of six. Several families started to come visit with Xena.

On the day of her adoption, Xena didn’t know why she got a special bath and new bandana. She didn’t know that a wonderful family had applied to adopt her. She didn’t know their home check was complete and their application approved. She didn’t know when they came to visit that they would be taking her home. We didn’t tell her. We waited patiently and hoped that all would go well and that today would be the day, and it was.

There are so many humans for Xena to love in this new home, her forever home. After 408 day in shelter, Xena was adopted.

Straight Outta Rescue Society: Emergency Medical Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The grant was used to pay for Nova’s veterinary bills related to her second tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant enabled us to keep our intake open by helping us offset some of the veterinary costs associated with Nova’s TPLO surgery.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Nova joined our care in March 2021. Due to a breakup between her humans, she ended up in our care, as they were no longer able to dedicate the time she needed to be the best gal that she could be. She had an ongoing issue with her back end and an x-ray done during her intake assessment confirmed that she needed a TPLO. Thanks to our generous supporters, we were able to raise nearly $3,500 of this $4,000 surgery.

Nova struggled for the first few days post-op. Then her recovery really accelerated and she was quickly cleared by our vet for controlled walks around the neighborhood and rehab. No roughhousing or running for this gal. We were looking forward to getting clearance to start socializing her again at her eight-week X-ray, but that week she walked up to her foster mom … with a limp. This time she was favoring her left hind leg.

On May 11, she had her eight-week X-ray on her right leg, and an X-ray to check out her left leg. Her vet and surgeon were thrilled with the healing of her right leg, but said that it did indeed look like she might have a tear in her left leg. It is unfortunately not uncommon for big dogs like Nova to end up needing surgery on the other leg but, I’m not going to lie, it was pretty tough news to hear. She was put back on full restricted movement, just the basic poops and pees, in hopes that the inflammation would subside and we were not facing yet another surgery.

Despite this restricted rest, it was confirmed that Nova did, again, require surgery. We had her booked for her second TPLO and were looking at a second vet bill and aftercare of $4,000+. It is not common for us to do big-ask fundraisers like this, and we would never have thought we would be asking just two months after doing so for the same pup!

While we were humbled to see the support, raising $1,225 of the $4,000 we would need for her surgery, the Petfinder Foundation grant really assisted us in closing the gap, enabling us to continue to intake some more challenging medical cases during Nova’s recovery.

She had her second surgery on June 24 and has been cleared at her eight-week x-ray, although big hikes and runs are out of scope for her and her bionic legs now.

Nova is a super-smart gal and she just likes to please. We are thrilled to see her no longer in pain and enjoying herself so much. She’s learned so many tricks and knows more than 30 commands and counting.

Nova is still looking for her perfect forever home. You can meet her here.

Red Clay Animal Rescue: Emergency Medical Grant
What was the money or product used for?

Annabeth is a stray dog who was found by the side of the road, badly injured. A good Samaritan brought her to the veterinary ER. She had two major surgeries: a plate and wire to fix her broken mandible and a left forelimb amputation due to nerve damage sustained in her accident. The bill for her surgeries and hospitalization was $6,053.26.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant will put a sizeable dent in my bill for Annabeth’s care. Sometimes it is scary for a small rescue like mine to take on an animal that is this injured — her bill was a pretty substantial portion of my yearly operating budget. But it was worth it, of course!

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Annabeth is a stray dog who was found badly injured by the side of the road. A good Samaritan brought her to the veterinary ER, bloodied and unable to walk. She’d sustained a fractured jaw and had severe nerve damage to her left front leg, which ultimately had to be amputated.

Through all of this, Annabeth was the sweetest, most loving dog and always seemed so grateful for the care she was receiving. My rescue took in Annabeth on Aug. 17, 2021, and she was adopted on Sept. 9, 2021, the day her stitches came out.

Humane Society of Marion County: Orvis Animal Care Grant
What was the money or product used for?

Two Tether Tug outdoor tug toys for dogs
Three portable misting systems for misting the outside of the dog kennels when the weather is hot for extra comfort
Four 10” Jolly Balls for large-breed dogs

Total spent: $902.09
Total grant money from Orvis: $850

Thank you so much!

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We are so excited to receive this grant from Orvis for our shelter dogs. The tether tug toys and the Jolly Balls all are to enrich the environment of the dogs in the play yards and to entertain them for their happiness.

The dogs really enjoy playing with the Jolly Balls and they last a considerable amount of time and are easy to clean. The outdoor tether toys are so much fun for the dogs too and the rope tug part is easily replaceable, so these should last for a very, very long time as well and help a lot of dogs!

The misting systems are going to be amazing in the sweltering-hot summer months in Arkansas. While the dogs do have air conditioning in the inside part of the kennels, we are excited to provide the extra comfort on the outside of their kennels, where they can be lightly misted for cooling and comfort. Thank you Orvis, for making these comfort items possible !

How many pets did this grant help?

Currently 13 (but these items will last a very, very long time and help a lot of dogs through the years)

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Beau (first three photos) is a beautiful border collie/spaniel mix. He came to us very nervous and withdrawn. Our all-volunteer group has worked with him and now he is an outgoing, loving dog who loves to play. We feel he would be great with a family or individual who likes to take long nature walks. He really enjoys play/agility and walks and has learned how to walk on a leash. We feel he would excel in learning in an agility course. He is very smart and loving with adults.

The Jolly Balls we’d had prior to getting the grant were torn after being used for many years. The dogs love them! When we got our order from the Orvis grant, Beau immediately started playing with the tether toys and Jolly Balls. He is a very happy dog now. Beau is still looking for a forever home. You can meet Beau here.

Stray Cat Blues, Inc.: Senior Pet Adoption Grants
What was the money or product used for?

The grant funding was used to purchase insulin and syringes from our veterinarian to support the adoption of diabetic senior cat Beetle. The funds also subsidized his adoption fee, making a senior cat with medical issues more attractive to an adopter.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Beetle receives daily insulin injections to manage his diabetes. The supplies purchased through grant funds incentivized his adoption and he is now happy in a great home!

How many pets did this grant help?

One senior cat

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Beetle was rescued as a senior cat with diabetes. Pulled from [an open-intake] shelter by a Stray Cat Blues volunteer, he received necessary medical care, including a dental workup, bloodwork, and medication to stabilize his diabetes. He was available for adoption for some time. Marketing a senior cat is tough enough, let alone a senior with a lifelong medical condition. The medication purchased through this grant helped to incentivize Beetle’s adoption, and he is now happily adopted and flourishing in a furrever home!

From Facebook, June 16: “I don’t have to tell you that Beetle is a Very Good Boy! Beetle has passed the tail sniff test from five extremely picky female cats in his foster home. The first day he arrived, his foster parents found him upstairs under the bed cuddled with the two grumpiest ones! There hasn’t even been one hiss! It’s as if cats know things we humans will never know about Beetle’s story.

“He was abandoned on the streets of Philadelphia, and was found emaciated, dehydrated, dirty and matted. He looked as if he had been on the streets for a long while. Just when the weather finally got warmer, Beetle was about to have his first saving grace, and he was brought into an Animal Care and Control Team shelter by a good Samaritan.

“Next, the veterinary staff at ACCT performed extensive bloodwork on Beetle when they noticed that he continued to drink excessively, and it was confirmed that Beetle was diabetic.

“A few weeks passed. Beetle’s chances of being adopted were dwindling, and his time was running out. Then a Hail Mary pass arrived, and Beetle was posted by the ACCT Life-Saving Team as at-risk, and only available to local rescue partners. Many kittens, especially bottle babies and medical-needs cats, are considered at-risk and are pulled from the shelter to be able to live in foster homes with more attention and care.

“The day Beetle was scheduled for euthanasia, Friday, May 7, 2021, became Beetle’s lucky day. The ACCT transport team drove Beetle from the city shelter to a Stray Cat Blues adoption center in the suburbs.

“Beetle is a gentle giant who greets you with a tiny kitten ‘me-you.’ He is still young at heart, he has collected every catnip toy in the house to roll around and do bunny feet with, and he has not stopped purring. His favorite things are belly rubs and snuggles.”

From Facebook, Aug. 30: “Beetle has been adopted! Beetle is a 12-year-old diabetic gray-and-white domestic shorthair. He was time-stamped at ACCT. Luckily, a foster home was found for him.

“He was adopted at his foster home today. He now has a family of four who will give him the best care and lots of love! They recently lost their 15-year-old diabetic cat. When they saw Beetle, they knew he was the one for them. Beetle will have a kitty ‘sister’ — also a former Stray Cat Blues kitty — to welcome him to the family!”

Beartooth Humane Alliance: Emergency Medical Grant
What was the money or product used for?

To offset the expenses related to abdominal surgery provided to Oscar, a young cat who was abandoned and left to starve, and ate whatever he could find in an attempt to survive. His surgery was successful and he now lives with a loving family.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant offset the expenses for Oscar, which in turn will allow us to help the next animal that is in need.

How many pets did this grant help?


Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Everyone knows Oscar the Grouch from TV’s Sesame Street, successfully living in a garbage can, but this sweet little feline dumpster-diver didn’t have such good luck.

When a concerned citizen in Joliet, MT, called to tell us that she had found a cat on her property who appeared ill, Cara Kisthard, Beartooth Humane Alliance’s Animal Care Coordinator, drove the 30 miles to make sure the cat was okay.

Upon arrival, Cara picked up the friendly cat and could immediately feel a large hernia on his abdomen. Initially, Cara named him Jack, since he is an orange tabby, the color of a pumpkin. She brought him to Dr. Rebecca Brown, one of our veterinarian partners at Grizzly Peak Animal Hospital, for veterinary care.

Jack was prepped for surgery and, once his belly was shaved, an enormous hernia was clearly visible (bottom photo). During surgery, Dr. Brown discovered that it was not internal organs protruding from the hernia, but actually a large blockage in Jack’s stomach. Upon resection of the stomach, Dr. Brown was surprised to find a mass which included nothing a cat should ever ingest: shoelaces, baling twine, and string (fourth photo). The blockage would not have passed normally and therefore would have caused this poor cat to suffer a very painful death.

Jack’s surgery was a success and he left the operating room on a stiff dose of antibiotics. The costs of his surgery, medication, and hospitalization totaled $602.54.

We realized that Jack was the orange tabby who was one of a couple of cats that a resident of Joliet had abandoned and left to fend for themselves after they moved out of state. He was used to the easy life of a pet cat, with a regular diet of cat food, but that suddenly stopped and he had been living on the streets for weeks with nothing to eat. He had never hunted for mice or birds and had never needed to dig in the garbage for food. He was simply eating anything he could find to extinguish the pangs of hunger that had been all too regular since he was abandoned.

Now that Jack was on the mend, finding a home for him was our next priority. The concerned citizen who had initially found sweet Jack was very concerned for his welfare and had checked on him numerous times during his stay in the hospital. She and her family were willing to give him a forever home. They came to visit him in the hospital and renamed him Oscar. He bonded with them immediately, and especially with their young son.

They were able to take him home straight from the animal hospital for his recovery. He now has a forever home with a family that loves him and can depend on a bowl that is regularly filled with cat food.

Thanks to a concerned citizen, the Beartooth Humane Alliance, quality veterinary care, and a loving family willing to adopt him, this Oscar will no longer live in a garbage can and will never again need to be a dumpster diver.