Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
We received a donation of KONG toys that have been used to entertain dogs in our care while they wait for homes.
Among the KONG toys were a number that were grey, with thicker walls than the regular ones. Our shelter crew found them extremely durable, which is fantastic for heavy chewers and in a shelter environment. The downside is that the reinforced wall allows less space for filling, so the toy doesn’t keep dogs occupied for as long. They feel $15-20 would be a fair retail price since they do not get destroyed, even by eager and large dogs in a shelter environment.
The KONG toys came at just the right time and made a huge difference for both the dog kennel staff and the dogs. We started the year with an outbreak of pneumonia in the dog kennels, so we had to close them for visitors and adoptions while treating all the dogs, keeping them in quarantine, and doing a deep cleaning to get rid of the infection. This meant several weeks of bored, high-energy dogs who could only have toys and items that withstand regular disinfection. Right after this was over and we prepared to open came the COVID-19 crisis and we had to close the entire facility to the public. Saying that the KONGs were life-saving may be an exaggeration, but they were certainly sanity-saving.
For the next question, I don’t have the correct answer since the KONGS are still in use and will be for a long time. They’re cleaned and used over and over again. 🙂
Charley (first three photos) spent a total of 949 days in shelters, 279 of these with SPCA Florida. He was with us through both the pneumonia outbreak and COVID-19 closing. Before all that happened, he was quite popular on doggie dates and sleepovers, but never found his Happily Forever After. Just like all dogs, Charley loves getting a filled Kong to entertain him.
Charley’s story has an interesting twist: He was featured in a Dogs on Zoom event sponsored by Pedigree. The person adopting him had lost all her dogs to old age during a span of just a few months — the oldest had been over 17. She saw Charley and knew that he was the dog for her. I think his extended wait in shelters was to find just the right person. He filled the hole in her heart, and she gave him the perfect home he so needed and deserved.
Vet bill for a pittie named Diesel to have him neutered and the masses on his body removed
During Covid shutdowns, the dogs we pulled from shelters did not get fixed or receive all their vaccinations before they were sent to us.
Diesel was saved from a shelter in Maryland where breed-specific legislation is enforced. The pits there do not make it out alive unless a rescue pulls them. Dogs who are older or have medical issues are especially in danger of being put down, as the shelter does not offer medical care beyond the basic vaccines.
We pulled Diesel knowing that he had masses on his body that would need a biopsy and probably removal before adoption. The extra medical need made him a less-desirable pull for other rescues. He was also not neutered, which was an additional expense we had to consider. Due to the additional Covid expenses we have had for almost every dog we have pulled over the past few months, a grant like this helped us pull Diesel despite his additional medical concerns.
We used this grant to pay for a portion of Diesel’s vet bill to have him neutered and the masses removed from his body. Shortly after his surgery Diesel, was adopted into a home with two fur and two human siblings.
Purchase of 10 bags of dog food
The COVID-19 grant of $250 helped offset the drop in donations as well as adoptions once a stay-at-home order was issued. It provided the dogs with several weeks of premium dog food while they waited for the rescue to be able to reopen for adoptions.
Marissa came to the rescue starved and neglected in February of this year. Then the pandemic hit and the rescue had to close. Now that we were allowed to reopen and Marissa had gained her weight, she was adopted to her forever home this past weekend. At right are two pictures of when she came in and two after she gained her weight, and her adoption picture.
Funds were used to purchase the following supplies that enabled us to place 80% of our shelter pets in foster care during the stay-at-home order: crates, food, formula, bottles, heating pads and medication.
They grant enabled our shelter to continue to accept stray animals during the stay-at-home order. We were able to place them into foster homes instead of keeping them at the shelter or leaving them on the streets.
Crosby, a declawed extra-large cat weighing in at 21.4 lbs., was brought to a local vet to be euthanized because of a “behavioral issue.” He originally lived a happy life with another cat, but one day his owner brought home a dog. Upon the dog’s arrival, Crosby stopped using his litter box, and the owner rehomed Crosby. His new owners were tolerating Crosby’s behavior at first and tried medication (Prozac) to help relax him. After only a few doses without success, Crosby was brought back to the vet with a euthanasia request.
He was given a thorough exam, including blood work and a urinalysis, which determined Crosby was in good health. The vet concluded his behavior was not because of an underlying medical issue, but most likely due to the recent stress/changes in his life. The vet refused to euthanize a healthy cat, and they called our shelter to ask if we could help find Crosby a new home during the pandemic.
Because of the COVID-19 Relief Grant from the Petfinder Foundation, we were able to boost our foster supplies to give Crosby a second chance at life, literally. Crosby found his forever home through his foster parent and is now living a life as grand as he is (and is happy to share his home with a canine friend AND use his litter box like a champ!).
We used Petfinder Foundation grant monies to purchase agility equipment and toys that can be enjoyed over and over, and are sturdy and washable, to enrich our dogs’ exercise time.
Outside time is so vitally important to our dogs mentally, emotionally and physically, and the equipment purchased is making their play moments even more positive. Since we have no shaded areas in the dog areas, we installed canopies in the corners of the play yards. On hot and sunny days, the dogs can enjoy the outside longer since they are not in constant direct sunlight and have shade available for them to relax under. The agility equipment also encourages potential adopters to interact and spend more time with our dogs. We want our dogs’ stays at MAC&S to be a loving and stimulating. The agility items will help keep them upbeat, active and more engaging to potential adopters.
Beretta is a very active German shepherd who has had an extended stay at the shelter. He came in as a neglect case and is waiting for a court date to determine if he can be returned to the owner or be placed on our adoption floor. Beretta is so smart. Until we had the agility equipment, he didn’t have much to play with on his own in our exercise yards. He was frustrated and full of energy in his kennel. Now he can discover the different activities available to him. He is happier and more mentally stimulated.
The grant money was used for medical services we provide to our dogs. Every dog who arrives from out of state requires a Connecticut health certificate verifying that the dog is healthy. Each dog is seen by a veterinarian who checks the dog for overall health and wellness. Such services require that Dog Star retain supplies such as flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives in addition to frequently needed medications, such as those for ear and skin infections and various antibiotics.
Without grants like this one, Dog Star would have to significantly reduce the number of dogs we are able to take into rescue each year; needless to say, this would be detrimental to our shelter partners in the South from whom many of our dogs are rescued, and the negative effects would cascade out.
We assume a deeply discounted average of $100 per hour for our veterinarian’s time. We can see at least four dogs per hour, so at a minimum, this grant helped eight dogs.
Prior to his transport to Connecticut, McClain had been heartworm-positive and was treated, but also suffered from severe skin issues. In addition, he had infections in both eyes and both ears that required treatment. Upon his arrival, he was evaluated by a local veterinarian and testing was performed on a suspicious lump on his foot. Unfortunately, the news wasn’t positive. The lump was revealed to be a mast-cell tumor. Surgeons removed the tumor as well as part of McClain’s foot and, miraculously, he is now cancer-free. Luckily, a similar lump on his back turned out to be benign. As if that wasn’t enough, McClain began to have grand mal seizures in his Connecticut foster home. With a new diagnosis of epilepsy, he was started on medications to control the seizures.
With support from Dog Star’s medical coordinator, Sue Zeppa, his adoption coordinator, Hayley Haspeslagh, and his wonderful foster mom, Nicole Aronson, McClain’s story does have a happy ending. Or in his case, a new beginning!
McClain’s new mom, Kelly, fell in love with McClain despite his imperfections. “Every dog comes with hidden issues. McClain comes with a clear warning label. No need to wonder what problems might arise,” said Kelly. McClain is now thriving in his forever home. He’s described as a big lovebug who loves playing with his dog friends and has settled into the life he has always deserved.
Our veterinarian, who recognized these and other concerns upon examining McClain, recommended a course of action that included various medications which soon resulted in a much happier McClain. Unfortunately, our vet also took note of a growth on McClain’s foot that she thought we should biopsy. After we gave McClain a week to adjust to foster care — and to see how he’d respond to the meds the vet prescribed him — he came back to see the vet for that biopsy, which eventually revealed this suspicious growth to be a mast-cell tumor.
Because “once a Dog Star, always a Dog Star,” we were dedicated to not only finding McClain the perfect home, but also ensuring his health care was prioritized. Without grants such as this that support our veterinary services, McClain’s growth might have gone unnoticed. Instead, we were able to help guide McClain to a brighter life. McClain was adopted this past week and everyone involved could not be happier!
The pet beds were used in and out of kennels for dogs housed in the rescue.
We love these pet beds and the dogs love them too! We prefer to have our dogs in foster homes, but sometimes we can’t immediately find them a foster and they stay in the rescue. When they are staying at the rescue, our goal is to provide our dogs with a low-stress and comfortable environment. The P.L.A.Y. beds are soft and comfortable and hold up to multiple washings. This allows us to reuse the beds as new dogs come in to the rescue.
We took in 140 dogs in the month of April and at any point in time had 8-15 dogs housed in the rescue. May and June have been busy months, as well!
Haddie, a Yorkie mix (first three photos), loved to hang out with the girls in the office. These photos were taken right before she met her new forever family — you can see how excited she was to meet them. Her new family, with three young children, fell in love with her spunky personality and came back the following day to adopt her.
Margo, a Chihuahua mix (fourth and fifth photos), is one of our newer residents. While she looks serious in her photos, she has a bubbly personality and zest for life. She met her new family today and will get to go home with them as soon as she is spayed. She can’t wait!
Spay and neuter
During COVID-19, we were unable to host fundraisinig events. This grant was very much appreciated by our organization and our four-legged furry friends and helped us pay for one spay and one neuter.
Sophie (first photo) was in a box at Walmart and was being given away as a 7-week-old puppy. Two teenage girls took the puppy home and the mother said no. The puppy was passed on to someone else who knew of our rescue. She gave us the puppy. Someone adopted Sophie and kept her for four or five months when the landlord went to do a repair and did not allow animals. She had to get rid of the puppy. Due to the clause in our contract, the lady returned the puppy to us and filled out our surrender forms. The puppy was eventually adopted.
Hank (second photo) was being given away for free on Facebook. We contacted the owner and they agreed to surrender their dog. When dogs are given away, you never know who is going to get them and what plans they have for the dog.
We utilized the funds to provide follow-up care for Faust, who was ehrlichia-positive and severely anemic. He was diagnosed with hypoalbuminemia resulting in early renal disease, likely as a result of starvation and the other conditions.
Faust received additional diagnostics (bloodwork and ultrasound) to determine if the condition was treatable (it was!). The food changes and meds are improving his condition dramatically and he was well enough to get neutered about six weeks ago
Faust came to us from the shelter as an urgent medical case due to his severe and life-threatening condition. He was bloated despite being extremely emaciated (he received a Body Condition Score of 1 out of 9) because his kidneys were not functioning properly. He initially had a very guarded prognosis from our vet, but we felt that he needed a chance at whatever life he could have.
We aggressively treated each condition identified, and a few weeks after Faust came into rescue, we could see that there might be hope as he was gaining weight, the bloat was decreasing gradually, and his energy had increased. We could see him transforming into a “normal” puppy right before our eyes. He started playing and seeking out attention and affection from his medical foster. We knew at this point that he was going to survive, but it was still uncertain how much permanent damage had been done.
Fast forward two months. We moved him to one of our longer-term fosters and continued his food and medication protocol. We were so pleased that his numbers just continued to improve. In April, he was healthy enough to get neutered and came through surgery like a champ. In May he was adopted by his second foster and became a permanent member of the family, and is spending the summer in Colorado living the dream. Their vet is optimistic that he will recover completely and will live a long and happy life.
While the dogs are staying at the shelter and awaiting their new furever homes, the Kongs were invaluable in keeping them from getting bored. They loved them.
One dog in particular was at the shelter for more than a year and just recently got adopted. She is a strong girl and destroyed most toys, but not the Kongs — she loved them, especially filled with treats. She would carry one around with her like a baby, probably so no other dog could get it.
Calamity Jane was a 2-year-old pit/boxer who arrived at the shelter with her sister, Annie. They were both at the shelter for more than a year and no one had any interest in adopting them. They were both strong dogs and needed the right family.
Happily they both were recently adopted to great families who understood their needs. The Kong toys were invaluable in helping Jane and her sister Annie stay well-adjusted as they awaited their forever homes. Both sisters are very high-energy, large and very strong dogs. They destroy most toys immediately.