Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
The grant money was used to cover the adoption fee for 11-year-old Alexandra and and the cost of her monthly cortisone injections to help with the arthritis in her hips.
Without a doubt, this grant helped Alexandra find her adoptive home. She had been in our care for four months with no one interested in adopting her due to her being a senior cat with arthritis. Within days of us promoting her story and the Petfinder Foundation grant, she was adopted! Not only that, but due to the savings, her best friend (Fancy) was adopted with her! This then freed up space for us to rescue two other senior cats. 🙂 So even though this grant was applied directly to Alexandra, three other cats were indirectly helped through that!
Shortly after we got the news that we’d qualified for the Senior Pet Adoption Grant, we took Alexandra on our local news station to share about her and the Petfinder Foundation grant that would cover her arthritis treatments for life. We also promoted the TV segment through social media. You can see the video here.
A few days later, we were contacted by a young lady who worked for the news station and had seen Alexandra’s story. She had recently moved to our area and was wanting a cat companion to share her apartment with. She fell in love with Alexandra’s adorable face and story. Due to her new job and limited income, she was overjoyed to hear that Alexandra’s arthritis treatments would be covered, as well as her adoption fee! Due to this great savings, she was also able to adopt Alexandra’s best friend, Fancy! Now Alexandra and Fancy are enjoying their lives together with their new mom (second photo) thanks to the Petfinder Foundation!
Kennel enrichment with KONG toys makes for happy pups!
Our dogs love toys and the only toys we trust are KONG toys! Kong toys give our dogs a safe and fun toy to chase, chew or play with!
Meet Frannie (first and second photos). She loves her new Kong toy. You can see the excitement in her eyes when she gets to play with her new toy! Frannie is still available for adoption. Meet her here.
Midnight (third photo) loves his new Kong toy! He runs with it in his mouth, drops it and runs after it. It is great fun! Midnight is still available for adoption. Meet him here.
Purchasing toys, treats, food puzzles, and other materials to develop and implement a shelter-dog enrichment program.
Without this grant, we would not have been able to allocate funds to dog enrichment. Our shelter is in a rural area and has a long length of stay, which means our animals experience a lot of stress and boredom. Our being able to give out toys, food puzzles, treat dispensers, and other fun items has helped the dogs to be happier, healthier, and more adoptable.
Fraggle came to us with a very bad case of demodex mange. His skin was so inflamed, sore, and itchy that it was difficult to pet or play with him without causing him discomfort. And Fraggle was ALL puppy, too! We did our best to work with him as he went through treatment, but it was very hard to teach him basic manners and play styles without hurting his skin. When our shipment of toys, treats and other items arrived, we were able to develop an enrichment plan that allowed Fraggle to learn to sit, refrain from jumping on people, and not play-bite people’s hands without our having to handle him in a way that made him feel pain or discomfort. As Fraggle healed and his behavior improved, he became a staff and community favorite!
Fraggle has since been adopted, and his new mom loves him very much!
The P.L.A.Y. beds were a big hit with our felines. They are being used at our Petco adoption center and in the shelter setting. The beds are very comfortable and wash well. They will be used for many years.
We love the beds. They are a perfect fit for the adoption center. The variety of sizes is very useful in many places at the shelter. The cats love lounging on them.
50 and counting
The first photo is of Phoenix showing off at the adoption center on the P.L.A.Y. bed. He has been adopted. From his Petfinder profile: “Phoenix was born on May 15, 2019. He is at the rescue with his sister Sedona. He loves attention, belly rubs and playing. He would love to be adopted with his sister but we will split them up for good homes with other cats. He is high-energy.”
The toys were used to help shelter dogs in our foster homes.
The Kongs were filled with peanut butter, treats and/or kibble to assist with crate training. The Kongs were also used to assist with winter boredom by giving the dogs something to do!
Sarge is a reactive dog. He cannot live with other animals. We use Kongs to help with his training of “leave it.” For Sarge, providing mental stimulation is almost more important than physical exercise. He’s a big boy, as you can see, and has destroyed many of his toys! He has not yet been adopted, but we’re still actively looking for the perfect family for him. You can meet him here.
We purchased the following supplies for the hiking program and other outings:
– 14 harnesses (six “Adopt Me” and eight “Easy Walk”)
– 14 “Adopt Me” leashes
– 10 slip leads
On top of all that, Friendly Dog Collars Worldwide, the company we purchased the “Adopt Me” items from, sent along an additional two “Adopt Me” leashes and three “Adopt Me” collars!
This grant helps our shelter by providing us with quality harnesses and leashes that not only ensure the safety of the dogs (and volunteers), but also boldly advertise their adoptability.
We currently take out about five dogs/month and the items we purchased with this grant are helping keep the dogs safe (the slip leads have lowered our anxiety a lot!) and letting the community know that they are ready for their new homes. And we can now safely take out as many dogs as we have hikers! We have, at any given time, 10-12 dogs in our adoption program; the hiking program is growing and we hope to be able to soon be hiking with ALL of those dogs.
The dog who immediately comes to mind is Alfie. He’s a young yellow Lab with lots of energy and no sense of personal space. He is extremely excited in his kennel, a real handful on a leash, and generally just a LOT of dog.
One of our most experienced volunteers, Dawn, has worked with Alfie on multiple hikes and we are all amazed at the progress Alfie has made even in the short amount of time Dawn has been able to spend with him.
He used to yell in the car allllll the way to the hike and alllll the way back; he is now much calmer and shows improvement with each ride. On the hikes, he used to walk and pull and do his own thing, but he has recently started to stop and check in with Dawn (he still pulls, but has gone from pulling 100% to about 70%). He used to bark at strangers, but has backed off on that quite a bit since he realized that being quiet and paying attention earns him delicious treats!
We are so proud of the progress that Alfie has made and feel that he is a great example of why it’s so important to the health and future of these dogs to get them out of the shelter and into the world, even if just for a few hours a week.
Alfie is still available for adoption. You can meet him here.
DPFL Mentorship for Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator Stephanie Moore.
This grant allowed us to send our new Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator to Colorado for formal Dogs Playing For Life training. We had received some training from representatives of DPFL in the past; however, those employees who received the previous training had only experienced abbreviated training here on site and many were no longer employed by us. By having Ms. Moore go to this training, our knowledge has been refreshed and she has been able to pass that knowledge and training on to current staff. Our large, “square-headed” dogs have benefited greatly and our live-release rate for dogs has been holding steady at 92-94%. Adopters and rescues appreciate greatly that the dogs that they take from us have shown good dog skills, or that those skills in which they are lacking have been identified. We also have a Facebook playgroup page that is closely followed by rescues and members of the public, which helps those potential adopters make a decision about adopting dogs from us.
Our dog adoptions since October 1, 2019: 531 dogs
Bud came to us as stray in mid October, 2019. He had been a frequent stray visitor to the complainant’s backyard and was causing some damage. The complainant was not able to catch and confine him, so an animal control officer was dispatched. The officer was able to catch him and bring him in. Upon intake, it was discovered that Bud had some large wounds that required surgical repair.
After wound repair, Bud spent about two weeks being monitored for pain and proper healing. During this time, while he was on “bed-rest,” it was unknown whether he was friendly to other animals. When he was cleared for increased activity, he was introduced to playgroups. It was noted that he was somewhat shy and fearful of noises and that he was not leash-trained. Given time to meet and observe other dogs, he warmed up to the other dogs in low-energy groups and showed that he was a sweet, friendly boy with a love of cuddling.
In November 2019, Bud was successfully adopted by a woman who had six cats and one dog at home.
The following items were purchased and/or custom designed to fit shelter space:
1. Materials to build custom-designed window-sill perches as well as wall-mounted perches.
2. Cat trees of various sizes.
3. Scratchy ramps to both provide tactile enrichment as well as to provide access to reach the new window-sill perches.
4. Interactive toys.
Many of our animals came to us when their previous owners were forced to relinquish pets under difficult circumstances. Others come from high[-intake] shelters that are only able to keep animals for a short period of time. These circumstances and transitions can be stressful for animals.
We think it is imperative to the physical and social well-being of cats that they be provided with a variety of enrichment activities and positive interactions with volunteers to develop the animal-human bond and provide stress relief and exercise.
The grant was utilized to help provide an array of furnishings and enrichment activities that meet the needs of our cat population, focusing on their physical and social well-being, including:
1. Custom Designed Window-Sill and Wall-Mounted Perches: A main goal of the project was to design a better use of the bank of windows so the cats can perch for a good view outside and to sit in the sun.
2. Cat Trees: All of the original cat trees in the shelter were used, donated products that were worn and beyond repair. Several new trees of various sizes were purchased as replacements.
3. Scratching-Post Ramps: The ramps were purchased to both provide tactile enrichment as well as to provide access for all cats, regardless of age or physicality, to reach the new window-sill perches.
4. Interactive Toys: The interactive, human-cat enrichment toys were purchased so that our volunteers can help build trusting relationships with the cats and provide adequate exercise.
5. Feline-Human Friendly Bench: The bench was designed to include both comfortable seating for the volunteers and lounging spaces for the cats.
6. In addition to directly benefiting the cats, we feel that the improvements we were able to make also added to the aesthetics of the shelter space, making it a more comfortable environment for our volunteers and visitors.
Animal Advocates rescues and re-homes 150 animals per year, many of whom are fostered in our shelter space.
A local devoted animal lover and cat rescuer found her life and the lives of 15 animals upended after a devastating fire left her home uninhabitable. One of these animals was Orangey, a 3-year-old tabby cat (first photo). With all the familiar surroundings of home gone and his caregiver not present, Orangey came to Animal Advocates stressed and wary of new people. Along with the renovation to the shelter space has also come a “renovation” to Orangey’s demeanor. The new cat perches and larger window-sill perches allow easier access for a cat of Orangey’s size and agility. Orangey is often found relaxed, sun-bathing on a window perch. The new interactive wand toys have provided a tool by which volunteers have worked diligently to gain Orangey’s trust, slowly helping him to learn that he is in a safe, loving environment.
Orangey is still searching for a forever home with loving, patient individuals. We believe the updated furnishings and enrichment toys purchased with the grant have directly impacted Orangey, as well as the other cats, helping him take great strides in sociability and increasing the likelihood of a successful adoption. Meet Orangey here.
Funds from Petfinder Foundation were utilized to support the costs of running our Hearing Dog training program and general care for the dogs in our training facility. With many people on the waiting list for a hearing dog, every dollar is important to increase the number of placements and provide care to the dogs while they are in training. Our facility currently has 25 “residents in training” on a full-time basis and support from the Petfinder Foundation helped provide the needed food, vet/medical care, grooming, treats, and supplies for these dogs.
With a full list of applicants from across the country waiting for their own new helpers, adequate finances for training and placements are always at the forefront of our fund-raising efforts. With your support, in Fiscal Year 2018-2019, International Hearing Dog, Inc. placed 22 certified Hearing Dogs with recipients across the country who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing. To date in 2019, we’ve placed 16 additional Hearing Dogs into loving homes. After lots of hard work and training, these special pups go on to become the “ears’ for their Deaf or hearing-impaired partners helping them live independently in a safe and secure home environment. Your $500 gift helped enable International Hearing Dog to continue to provide its professionally trained dogs at no cost to recipients.
25 (On average, IHDI houses 25 dogs at its facility at any given time)
Our Director of Placements recently placed one of our certified Hearing Dogs with a recipient in Illinois. The recipient, Jodi, was born Deaf and previously had a certified Hearing Dog through IHDI that recently passed away. Jodi was matched with Hearing Dog Crouton. In training, Crouton learned basic sound awareness (phone, doorbell and knock, smoke alarm, alarm clock, and baby cry), as well as general obedience and socialization skills. Crouton did great with both his sound training and socialization training and he’s already proven to be a great fit for Jodi’s needs. Having a dog that will alert her to the phone, doorbell/knock, smoke alarm, alarm clock, baby cry, and other common sounds in the home opens the doors of independence, awareness, and safety for Jodi. Additionally, as only dogs from animal shelters or rescue groups are selected for this special program, Crouton now has a second chance at a loving home where he is wanted, needed, and loved.
We very gratefully used the $1,000 for the following enrichment products for our shelter cats and kittens:
Window-mounted beds: $200
Robotic cat toys: $200
Kitty Kongs: $175
Cat scratchers for all cats: $200
Special-diet cat treats (calming, hairball): $100
The Petfinder Foundation Cat Enrichment grant helped us grow our existing cat-enrichment programs and help 145 cats and kittens enjoy their stay at the shelter until they found their forever homes. Shelter animal enrichment is an important element of the care given to the animals at Operation Kindness. Enrichment is essential to animals in shelters, since traditionally they are confined for long periods of time, which can cause stress. Further, animals experiencing prolonged stress are subject to more illnesses due to a suppressed immune system.
While, on average, animals are in our care for 22 days, we recognize the importance of giving them the very best overall healthcare while they are with us. In order to combat the stress they may feel, we offer physical activities and mental stimulation to help keep their minds active and healthy while they are waiting for their forever homes. For cats, life is all about predictability and control. In a shelter environment, those are two things that are hard to come by for our kitties. We make our best effort to make sure each of our cats is comfortable and confident by providing them with all of their basic needs as well as toys to play with — both interactive and solitary-play toys — as well as things to climb on and beds to hide in if they choose.
Our largest and most effective enrichment program for our cats is our Smarty Cats program. We have more than 60 volunteers who work with our fearful and under-socialized cats to get them feeling more comfortable in the shelter and socializing with people. We also provide free-roaming time for all healthy cats in our catio (a 700-square-foot screened-in porch with views of birds, squirrels and people passing by the shelter). Every week, our cats are provided with novel enrichment such as treats stuffed in paper balls and kitty Kongs (frozen cat treats). We also make sure that all of our cats have their preferred type of bedding, whether that be a soft rug, a tall cat tree, a covered hideaway bed or a cardboard box. Our cat room is full of comfy beds; sisal rope-covered towers for climbing, stretching and scratching; cat trees for napping and climbing; and large windows to watch the world go by. Our cats receive specialized training to build confidence, and learn tricks to help them become more adoptable.
Birdie was a transfer from Hood County Animal Shelter. She’s a beautiful kitty who had a lot of trouble adjusting to the shelter. She was severely matted and would hiss and swat at all of the staff. Nobody was able to touch her. She was very scared and malnourished. After entering our Smarty Cats program, where we were able to give her calming treats, play with her throughout the day, allow her in to sit in the window of the catio, and gave her a safe space to hide when she was scared, after a few months Birdie came out of her shell and started showing her true, sweet personality. We are so happy to report that she has been adopted by a wonderful mother who dotes on her, spends a lot of time with her and has given her the best life Birdie could ever dream of.