2017 Program Highlights


The Petfinder Foundation gave 1,468 grants of cash and product, with a total value of $1,153,723.83, to animal shelters and rescue groups in 2017, including:

  • $440,000 in high-quality pet food to shelters in desperate need
  • $186,000 to fund youth humane-education programs that will help prevent pet homelessness in the future
  • $60,000 in emergency medical grants to save homeless pets from life-threatening illness and injury.
  • $31,000 so shelter staff could learn to conduct life-changing dog playgroups.

We also maintained our commitment to assisting shelters and rescue groups during times of emergency and crisis, giving $122,000 in disaster grants to 37 organizations. These grants helped save pets impacted by:

  • Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana – $49,000
  • Hurricane Irma in Florida and Puerto Rico – $43,000
  • Hurricane Maria in Florida and Puerto Rico – $23,000
  • Wildfires in Northern California – $4,000

Finally, we are committed to helping adoption groups fundraise using the reach of Petfinder.com, the Internet’s No. 1 pet-adoption website, and distributed $75,600 toward the care of individual pets through our Petfinder.com-based Sponsor A Pet program.


Quality of Life
Improving the quality of life of pets while they are in shelters or in the care of rescue groups makes them happier, healthier and more adoptable. The following 2017 grant programs fall within this category.

Dog Playgroup Grants: $31,000 (mentorship) and $50,000 (play-yard renovation)
We once again partnered with Dogs Playing for Life, which teaches shelter staff and volunteers how to conduct safe dog playgroups that have proven to be remarkably effective at reducing length of stay for shelter dogs by decreasing stress behaviors and allowing staff to get a more accurate assessment of dogs’ personalities. We provided grants to enable staff at 27 shelters to attend mentorship training sessions, and renovation grants to help 11 shelters get their play yards up to DPFL’s standards for safety and effectiveness.

Adoption Options in Action Grants: $45,000
Adoption Options, run by Petfinder.com, is a series of free conferences that educate shelter and rescue-group staff and volunteers in the placement, promotion, training and enrichment of pets in their care. AOs in Action grants were available to Petfinder.com members that attended an Adoption Options conference in 2017 and needed financial assistance in order to implement the programs or practices presented there. Grants ranged from $500 to $3,000 and were awarded to 32 shelters.

Emergency Medical Grants: $60,000
These grants assisted shelters and rescue groups caring for pets who needed special veterinary care in order to become adoptable. Grants from this program were used to cover expenses that fell outside of day-to-day care such as spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations and routine exams. Examples include emergency amputations, tumor removals, and skin grafts. Grants up to $1,000 were awarded to 71 shelters.

KONG: $22,384
With the KONG Company, we provided enrichment toys to shelters and rescue groups across the country. These products stimulate pets’ minds and prevent stress- and boredom-induced behaviors, making pets more adoptable. A total of 1,600 KONGS were awarded to 77 organizations.

Orvis Animal-Care Grants: $27,000
With help from the Orvis Company, the Petfinder Foundation was able to provide 29 general animal-care grants of up to $1,000 to help support shelters’ and rescue groups’ dog adoption efforts.

P.L.A.Y.: $20,856
We distributed P.L.A.Y. Chill Pad pet beds to help shelter dogs feel more comfortable in their kennels and sleep off the cold cement floor. These beds are particularly helpful to dogs who are on crate rest as they undergo heartworm treatment or recover from surgery. Product grants of 10 to 30 beds (395 beds in total) were awarded to 30 shelters.

Disaster Relief: $122,000
Between August and October 2017, the U.S. was hit with a series of devastating natural disasters: Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, followed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and Florida, and then wildfires in Northern California. The Petfinder Foundation rushed grants out to shelters and rescue groups so that they could move adoptable pets out of the path of disaster and open up space for vulnerable strays, as well as lost pets and those whose families were forced to evacuate. After the worst was over, we continued to provide assistance to help damaged shelters rebuild and provide medical care to injured animals.

In total, we awarded grants ranging from $500 to $20,000 to 37 shelters, nearly all of them in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and California.

Sponsor A Pet: $75,600
Through our Sponsor A Pet program, Petfinder.com visitors can help homeless pets by contributing toward the cost of their care. Donations are collected by the Petfinder Foundation and earmarked for the designated shelter. Donations are distributed to the shelters quarterly, less 10%, which partially covers the cost of administering the program. Sponsor A Pet disbursements from $22,50 to $900 went to 1,054 organizations.

Youth Humane Education: $185,745
These grants, made possible by customer donations to the Build-A-Bear Foundation, helped fund shelters’ humane-education programs with proven track records in teaching young people about kindness and compassion toward animals. Grants of $3,045 were awarded to 61 shelters.

We also administered these grant programs in 2017:

Jet.com food grants: $440,787
Purina “Consider a Shelter Pet” adoption-fee grants: $47,350
Senior-dog adoption grants: $10,830
Petfinder.com Annual Member Survey grants: $1,500