Reports From This Organization

Pima Animal Care Center: Petfinder 20th Anniversary Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Your generous $10,000 grant to our nonprofit partner, the Friends of Pima Animal Care Center, helped underwrite the costs of medical treatment when our shelter experienced dual outbreaks of canine distempervirus (distemper) and Streptococcus equi zooepidemicus (Strep zoo). These are highly contagious conditions, and our organization could have euthanized every single dog in our care in order to eradicate the threat. But with the Petfinder Foundation’s support, our medical team did the exact opposite: They launched an intensive attempt to save every sick dog and prevent all the others from becoming ill. In the case of sick dogs, this required weeks of intensive medical treatment and multiple costly tests. All of our healthy dogs were also prophylactically treated with antibiotics, and many were tested, at a very high cost.

This response was something our county shelter could never have undertaken in past years. Thanks to your very generous grant and additional support we received from our community, we were able to save the lives of hundreds of dogs!

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

As Pima County, Arizona’s only open-admission shelter, we take in all pets, regardless of their age, temperament or health. Most of the pets we take in are under-vaccinated, and our 60-year-old shelter was not built to prevent the spread of illness. Our team works exceptionally hard to keep our pets healthy, but at times, these factors cause illness outbreaks to occur. The outbreak last year was one of the most devastating threats we have ever experienced, and it was a herculean task on the part of our team to try and save all these dogs. Our staff and volunteers, who love our dogs, were very scared.

The path we took was expensive – but it was lifesaving, and it was absolutely the right thing to do. Your investment in our response helped us to not only save hundreds of dogs, it helped to show our community that the Petfinder Foundation stands behind the lifesaving direction we took. Thank you for believing in our mission and supporting our efforts to be a progressive county shelter!

How many pets did this grant help?

Hundreds of dogs; thank you so much!

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

Sweet little Hunter, a 2-year-old Chihuahua mix (first photo), came to us after his owner died and his family couldn’t find a new home for him. He was suffering from alopecia, or hair loss, around both eyes due to allergies. He became ill with Strep zoo, and after three weeks of diligent treatment, he had beat the illness. He was adopted in short order to a home with a rat terrier sister.

One of our field services officers rescued 3-year-old Merlin (second photo) from the streets, where he and his “girlfriend” had been roaming as strays. The pair were brought back to our shelter so they could be altered and adopted. During his stay, though, Merlin became ill with Strep zoo. After three weeks of careful treatment and monitoring, he beat the illness, and he quickly found a home!

The odds were stacked against 5-year-old Adam (third photo), who was suffering from valley fever when he was brought to us as a stray. This is a treatable condition that’s common in Tucson, but it requires medication and bloodwork, which can turn many adopters away. To further complicate matters, Adam became ill with Strep zoo, but after two weeks of treatment, he beat the illness. He found his home with John and Yolanda (fourth photo), who promised not only to always care for condition, but provide him with new friends in their two doting grandchildren, too!

Pima Animal Care Center: Emergency Medical Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Your generous Emergency Medical Grant of $1,000 helped fund a lifesaving surgery for Winnie, a 2-year-old dachshund whom a good Samaritan found horribly injured next to a busy street.

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

As a county-run, open-admission animal shelter that takes in more than 20,000 pets each year, we do not have the resources to spend large amounts of money on any single pet. While our doctors are able to do a great deal with the resources we have, there are dozens of pets we take in each year who need specialty surgical services that are beyond what our publicly funded budget can provide. Your grant helped save the life of one of them, Winnie, who would not otherwise have had a chance. Thank you, Petfinder Foundation!

How many pets did this grant help?

1

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

It was late at night when one of our Animal Care Officers went to rescue Winnie from the side of a busy road, where a good Samaritan had found her crumpled in the bushes. The purebred dachshund was drooling, one of her front legs was dangling, and she was in excruciating pain. When Winnie was back at the shelter with our doctors, they determined she was suffering from a rare and complicated front-leg fracture caused by being hit by car.

Within our shelter, we are able to cast broken bones or amputate pets’ broken limbs. Those tools help us save many lives, but they wouldn’t work for Winnie. Because of her breed and the high likelihood for her to experience future spinal issues, a forelimb amputation could greatly shorten her life, and it should only be performed as an absolute last resort. Our doctors knew Winnie’s best shot at life would come from complicated and costly leg-pinning surgery that could only be performed by a specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Your generous donation seeded an effort that was met by other donors to a local rescue group, Lil’ Bit of Love. Because of your startup gift, Winnie’s entire surgery costs were eventually covered, and she was able to be taken into that rescue group for her intensive follow-up care.

While Winnie saw an exceptional surgeon, her injury proved too serious and complex to be permanently fixed by the pinning and, unfortunately, amputation did have to eventually take place. While the end result is not exactly what we’d hoped for for Winnie, your investment in her made it possible for her to leave the shelter and have a shot at the best possible life. Now this tiny tripod lives with a family who adores her.

We are incredibly grateful for your investment in her, as well as for your team’s flexibility in delivering the grant. Because of multiple barriers within the county system, we would not have been able to turn a cash donation into a speedy-enough surgery for her. Your team was willing to pay the surgeon directly so that Winnie’s treatment would proceed without delay. Thank you, Petfinder Foundation!

Pima Animal Care Center: Cat Castles Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Last year, you made an incredibly generous grant of Cat Castles to our shelter. We are so happy to say that your generous gift is STILL making a difference in the lives of our homeless cats like Toph and Azula. Their story, as well as a photo of them in their new home hanging out next to their familiar Cat Castle, are below.

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

It saved us thousands of dollars on cardboard cat carriers, which we otherwise would have had to buy. That meant we had more money for medical care for injured and sick pets like Toph.

How many pets did this grant help?

We estimate this donation helped us save over 3,000 cats.

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

During the middle of summer, we often take in more than a dozen mewling, orphaned kittens every single day. It was during this time that a Good Samaritan brought Toph to our back door. He was just a palm-sized, weeks-old stray, and his eyes were completely crusted shut from a painful herpes virus. Two years ago, we would never have had the staff or supplies during the height of kitten season to save an extremely sick baby animal like Toph. But because of the support we’re getting from friends like the Petfinder Foundation, in 2015 our medical team can and did.

Our doctors immediately started treating Toph with donated eye drops, and they gave him antibiotics to cure his upper-respiratory infection (it’s like a kitty cold). After six weeks of steady care, Toph’s cold was gone, but his eyes had still not improved. The medical neglect he’d suffered in his infancy meant there was no other option for us except to remove his eyes.

And because we have such a caring community that supports our work, we were able to do just that – as well as neuter him, of course, so he does not contribute to our community’s profound pet-overpopulation problem.

After Toph recovered from his surgery, our volunteers paired him with Azula, another young kitten who’d also had a rough start to her life. One of our Animal Care Officers had saved her from an apartment where she’d lived with a dozen other cats. Like many of the hundreds of pets we save each year from hoarding situations, Azula was fearful, under-socialized and going to be hard to adopt out. But it turns out she was just what Toph needed: A seeing-eye guide. And Toph was just what Azula needed: A friend – and, since they were marketed as bonded pair who must leave the shelter together – he was also her ticket to a forever home.

Roselia Sosa fell them both. Azula, she says, is slowly coming out of her shell. She really loves spending time with Sosa’s children, who are small like she is, and therefore less scary than their household’s adults. She continues to enjoy the Cat Castle that came home with her from our shelter. And as for blind Toph, he’s not only figured out how to get around Sosa’s house and onto her furniture, but he’s wiggled his way firmly into the family’s hearts.

“The kids just love him,” she tells us. “He’s so cuddly.”

Some might argue we went “too far” by saving Toph. But not Roselia Sosa.

“He is just as worthy of our help as any animal – or any person, really,” she says. “If something or someone needs help, you give it to them.”

“He is just such a sweetheart,” she adds. “I can’t imagine my life without him.”

Pima Animal Care Center: All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

You made a generous $8,500 grant to our nonprofit partner, the Friends of Pima Animal Care Center, a project fund of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, so that our shelter could have a dental X-ray machine. Your gift funded half of this piece of equipment, as well as the extensive professional training that our medical team needed to be able to use it (photos of training attached).

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

As our community’s only shelter that never turns away a pet in need, we take in more than 14,000 dogs each year. Many of these dogs are injured strays. Oftentimes their finders witnessed them being hit by cars, or they found them – bleeding, stunned and hurt — on the side of the road. We take in, on average, about 10 dogs like this every single week, and many of them are suffering from mouth injuries that require dental X-rays so that we can fix and treat them. Your generous investment is helping us save the lives of these dogs, as well as the lives of older dogs with dental disease and dogs with chronic sinus problems.

“The Petfinder Foundation’s grant has been completely game-changing for our dogs’ oral/nasal health,” our director of medical services, Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, says.

Because of your generous gift to fund half of this machine’s cost to help our dogs, we able to use your gift as a “match” – and our community came forward to donate the rest of the funds we needed for the equipment’s full cost. Everyone was inspired by the Petfinder Foundation’s generosity, and now we have a state-of-the-art dental X-ray system to help our dogs AND our cat friends. Thank YOU!

How many pets did this grant help?

30+ already — and it will help hundreds, if not thousands, more dogs in the years to come.

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

Troy, a 1-year-old Pit Bull mix (first photo), lived a difficult life before he came to us. One of our Animal Care Officers rescued him after his owner was arrested and Troy was left behind. Troy’s owner never came to redeem him, and when Dr. Wilcox went to neuter Troy so he could go up for adoption, she found a badly broken tooth that was causing him pain. Troy had likely been hit by a car in the past, and he had never received treatment from his former family.

Dr. Wilcox extracted Troy’s broken tooth, and then she used the dental X-ray machine to make sure all of the painful root fragments had been removed, too. Our X-rays showed we had done a complete job, but without this tool, we never would have known that we had done everything Troy needed to feel better. Without this machine, we would still be sending dogs like Troy out half-treated!

Thank you so much for helping us save the lives of Troy and dogs like him. We appreciate your generosity, Petfinder Foundation!

Pima Animal Care Center: Cat Castles Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Last August, the Petfinder Foundation generously granted us 4,500 Cat Castles, valued at $8,145.

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

This amazing donation has helped us save the lives of thousands of kittens and cats! Not only are we able to use the Cat Castles as enrichment items for our kenneled cats, they serve as carriers for our cats and kittens who are adopted, too. Because cardboard cat carriers are something we always have to purchase, this donation saved us a great deal of money that we were able to put toward our cats’ critical medical care.

By saving our shelter from spending thousands of dollars on cardboard cat carriers, this grant helped us have more desperately needed funds available for pets in medical need. And no pet was more in need than Gracie, who came to us shot through with an arrow.

How many pets did this grant help?

By the time all the Cat Castles are used, they will have helped more than 4,500 cats!

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

In December 2014, a Good Samaritan found a horribly injured 2-year-old tabby wandering through her neighborhood. Knowing we were the only shelter in our community that could be counted on to take her in, she rushed Gracie to us. Our medical team performed immediate emergency surgery to remove the arrow, which had narrowly missed Gracie’s spine. After the surgery, we gave Gracie the pain medications and antibiotics she needed to heal, and we sent her to a foster home for further recovery. Still, we did not know if Gracie would make it, since her injuries were so significant.

Amazingly, Gracie survived her horrible ordeal and went on to be adopted by a fantastic woman named Kate. Kate tells us Gracie now lives a spoiled indoor life, and that she even sleeps on her bed at night!

Your donation of Cat Castles helped us have the funds we needed to treat and save Gracie — who is now aptly known as Lucky. Thank you so much, Petfinder Foundation, for all your amazing support of Pima County’s pets!

UPDATE JULY 2015: Gracie’s adopter writes, “The Petfinder Foundation helped a cat at Pima County Animal Care Center a few months back and featured her on your Success Stories. I thought you might like to see how she is today, looking very normal (fifth photo). She’s had a few issues — having to get a double root canal as the most severe. Apparently she broke off her canine teeth trying to get the arrow out of her back! Poor thing! But she’s healthy now and one of the sweetest animals I’ve ever had. Every night she either sleeps on me or right next to me, and is a total lap cat. Love her!!”

Pima Animal Care Center: KONG Toy Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

The Petfinder Foundation generously donated 300 KONG toys to help Pima Animal Care keep our dogs happy, healthy and entertained while they wait with us for new adoptive families.

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

Shelter life can be scary for pets who’ve been displaced from their families and the comforts of home. As our community’s only open-admission shelter, we take in nearly 24,000 homeless pets a year, and they are all housed at our aging, noisy campus that was built in the 1960s. Treat time, volunteer snuggles and enrichment toys like the KONGs generously donated by the Petfinder Foundation help our temporary residents block out the noise and feel safe. By helping us keep our dogs healthy, entertained and happy, the Petfinder Foundation is ensuring we can save more of their lives than ever before.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant has helped thousands of our homeless dogs.

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

The first family of Finley, a 5-year-old Chihuahua/Italian Greyhound mix (first photo), said they were surrendering him to us because he was not getting along with their other dogs and young child. After Finley was evaluated by our staff and cleared for adoption into a child-free family, he waited 10 days to be noticed. During that time, the enrichment activity that Finley received from the granted KONG toys meant he was relaxed, happy and ready when his adopter – who also happens to be one of our volunteers — finally walked by. The volunteer went home and told his wife, Carole (she’s also a volunteer), that he’d found a promising new member of their family. Carole brought their other dog in to meet Finley and found it was the right fit! “It was the perfect match for us, because he’s a lap dog,” Carole said. “He’s starting to open up. You can tell he’s really starting to relax into the pack and find his place.”

Picture 2: Brought to us as a stray, 7-year-old Curly Sue came to our shelter with an emaciated body, overgrown nails and tangled coat. Our volunteers rallied around this sweet senior to get her groomed, up to a healthy weight and in foster care. A peanut butter-filled KONG toy is helping Curly Sue get the caloric boost and mental stimulation she needs while she waits for her forever home.

Pictures 3 and 4: Surrendered to us last December, Donnie instantly became a staff and volunteer favorite because of his fun-loving disposition and big, goofy grin. He waited at our shelter for a full five months, and the stimulation and stress relief he received from your granted KONG toys helped this 2-year-old Pit Bull mix stay emotionally and physically healthy during his time with us. Donnie loves children, and on May 2, he was finally adopted into a family with three kids who will treasure their new best friend!

Pima Animal Care Center: One Picture Saves a Life Grant Report

What was the money or product used for?

Last year, the Petfinder Foundation generously gave us a grant so that two of our most devoted volunteers could attend the One Picture Saves a Life photography workshop in Las Vegas. These volunteers brought back lifesaving photography equipment, software and skills!

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

As our community’s only open-admission animal shelter, Pima Animal Care Center takes every lost, abandoned and ailing pet who comes to our doors. They number nearly 24,000 every year, and thanks to generous support from the Petfinder Foundation, we are saving more of their lives than ever before!

Volunteer Kelly Comstock, who attended the One Picture Saves a Life workshop, manages a Facebook page that’s devoted entirely to networking our pets (http://on.fb.me/1hpfkLT). Her personality-revealing, One Picture-style pet photos have found homes for hundreds, if not thousands, of our community’s most at-risk pets. She made a video showing how much the grant helped her lifesaving work, and you can see it here: http://bit.ly/OnePictureSaves.

The One Picture training has helped folks beyond those who attended the workshop, as we are utilizing the lessons on Pima Animal Care’s official Facebook page, too (http://on.fb.me/1lFSbc5). While we are still always working to improve our intake and adoption photos, the lessons our supporters learned at the One Picture workshop have proven truly invaluable. We are incredibly grateful for your support!

How many pets did this grant help?

Hundreds have already been helped by this grant, and it will help thousands more in the months and years to come.

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

PePe, a 5-year-old Chihuahua/Terrier mix (first photo), was surrendered to us when his family moved into an apartment that would not allow pets. Understandably, small PePe was frightened by shelter life, and this scared little boy was not showing well in his kennel. His initial intake picture was not flattering, too. Thankfully, our One Picture-trained volunteers were able to shoot his new photo, which showed off PePe’s personality and helped to find him a home!

A Staffordshire Terrier mix, Pinky (second photo) first came to us as small and underweight puppy in summer of 2013. After we nursed him back to health, Pinky was adopted, but unfortunately, he returned to us again as a stray in January of 2014. While his first intake photo made Pinky look frightened and unruly, his One Picture-style glamor shot showed him for the handsome and gentle gentleman he is. We are happy to report that the photo helped Pinky find a home that’s stuck!

Photo 3: After adopting this 2-year-old Australian Shepherd mix from another area shelter, Sally’s first family surrendered her to us because she was playing too rough with their other dog, who suffered from a skin condition that was being exacerbated by the rough play. Our adoption counselor volunteers report that Sally’s terrific photo helped her find a new forever family that is willing to work with her needs!

Photo 4: Cricket first came to us in 2013, when our Animal Care Officers rescued her from a family that had been neglecting her. She’d recently had puppies, and she was lactating. She was adopted, and then a month later, she was returned. Cricket finally found the right family with help from her gorgeous glamor shot. Instead of her intake photo, which was grainy and unappealing, her One Picture-style photo showed Cricket grinning ear-to-ear and helped her find a home!