Petfinder Foundation News

Improving Shelters Helps Pets for Years to Come

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Scruffy was adopted thanks to our grant to Misfits, Mutts and Meows in Oklahoma.

Our cash grants are often used to provide immediate care for individual pets: Medical treatment, food, etc. But we encourage shelters to use the funds to improve their physical facilities in ways that will benefit countless pets for years to come.

Thanks to your donations and a generous gift from Mohawk Flooring, many shelters made these permanent improvements. Here are a few examples:

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The new outdoor play yards

Upgrades to a Transport Van and Kennels
Misfits, Mutts and Meows in Crescent, Okla., upgraded its transport van and made repairs to its kennels and exercise yard.

The van upgrades include soundproofing insulation and circulating fans. These improvements “have allowed a safer, more comfortable place for the animals that are being transported to adoption events or into our rescue,” shelter president Joy Williams tells us. “The van is now easier to heat and cool and is much more soundproof. We are now capable of transporting eight dogs in individual cages, with cats in carriers on the floor.”

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The upgraded transport van

MM&M also purchased wood, connectors and welding supplies to repair donated Priefert kennels and a back exercise yard fence. With these supplies, shelter staff are building outdoor play runs to allow for deeper cleaning of the indoor dog runs. The runs will allow 22 dogs to play outside at one time while ensuring they are safely separated.

The van improvements are already making a difference. “This past weekend we had an adoption event in a town 45 minutes away,” Williams says. “We took six dogs and five cats. We were able to transport all our tables and fundraising items, as well as show cages, to the event. Of the pets we took, we had a pair of kitties adopted, Chips and Squeeker, and one dog named Scruffy. Having the capability to transport everything we need for our different events in one vehicle makes our day much easier.” Read the grant report.

Buying Dog Beds
Something as small as getting caged dogs up off the hard concrete floor can make a big difference. That’s why Doberman & Rottweiler Rescue in Paris, Ill., used our grant to purchase high-quality raised dog beds.

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A once-starved Dobie enjoys his bed

“We know these dog beds will help with the quality of life the dogs have while in our care,” rescue director Karen White tells us. “We get older, large-breed dogs in who have some hardship getting up off concrete floors, and this will help them feel better while in our care. The kennel staff love them due to the fact that they cut down on laundry costs, and in the time it saves them, they can play more with the dogs. We feel the dogs are much happier when off the floor and feel better. We are very pleased with the beds thus far and think they are a great addition to our facility.”

The beds are much appreciated by all the dogs at the rescue, including the doberman pictured here, “a starvation case we took in,” White says. “He was skin and bones when brought to our shelter from Animal Control. He had to gain 20 lbs. before the vet would neuter him. He is now in his new home doing wonderfully, and the new owner bought a bed for him like he had at our facility because he loved that bed. We all feel he had never had anything but the ground to sleep on and he loved the bed we provided him.”

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Tok was an abuse case

The Rottweiler pictured, Tok, was also an abuse case. “He was terrified of people when we took him in,” White says. “We gave him a bed and for a couple of weeks he would crawl under it and hide, but with time he learned that no one was there to harm him and he started coming out of his shell and started lying on his bed and not under it!” Another dog, Ursula, a miniature pinscher, was a puppy-mill rescue who’d spent her entire life in a wire cage. She loved the bed and would crawl right under her blankets and fall asleep.

Says White, “We all feel the dogs had more in the short time they were with us than they did their entire life prior to coming to us.” Read the grant report.

Repairing Kennels to Save a Shelter
Carteret County Humane Society in Newport, N.C., used our grant funds to purchase supplies to repair concrete fixtures in the kennel area, as well as concrete sealant to be applied this fall.

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Maggie’s shelter faced closure.

The repairs were critically important. “Without these repairs we could possibly fail our state inspection and take the chance of being closed down,” shelter director Candace Christopherson tells us. “These repairs are very important to the shelter itself but also to the health of the animals. Large cracks in the foundation can lead to build-up of bacteria, which could cause illness. The repairs were in all three dog kennel buildings; thus they affect over 60 dogs on a daily basis.”

CCHS is the only shelter for its county, so if it hadn’t been able to make the needed repairs to its 29-year-old building, it could have closed down, which would have affected more than 3,000 animals a year. Pictured is Maggie, just one of the homeless pets the grant helped. Read the grant report.

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A litter enjoys the new puppy lot.

Building a Lot Just for Puppies
Forgotten Angels Animal Rescue in Chuckey, Tenn., used the funds to build a puppy lot for new litters when they arrive at the shelter. With the grant money, staff purchased fencing and a gate, solar-powered outdoor lights, a new Weed Eater and a Gator wagon to help at feeding time.

“It helped us to have a safe place for puppies so they can have room to run and play,” shelter director Polly Rogers tells us. “This way the puppies are happier despite the shots and worming, etc. — all the mean stuff that puppies have to go through when they are taken away from Mom and getting ready to be adopted.” The lot is now on its fourth litter of puppies, so it’s helped 36 pups so far.

All the puppies love the yard, but one in particular who has benefited from it is a blind puppy (the white pup with black spots in the photo at right) who no longer has to stay in a crate. “She now knows where the fence is and runs and plays with her littermates,” Rogers says. Read the grant report.

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Win a Signed ‘Off the Leash’ Comic Print!

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One of Rupert Fawcett’s special rescue-themed Off the Leash comics

We love British cartoonist Rupert Fawcett’s Off the Leash comics, which lovingly lampoon our relationships with our canine family members. To celebrate the U.S. publication of the first Off the Leash collection, Fawcett has created a special series for the Petfinder Foundation, illustrating his support for their advocacy on animal rescue and responsible pet ownership. Best of all, he’s offering Petfinder Foundation fans the chance to win a unique signed print of one of them. Enter the sweepstakes here; no purchase is necessary.

Fawcett became a professional cartoonist almost by accident when in 1989, while doodling, he drew a bald man in braces and carpet slippers and called him Fred. The Fred cartoons went on to be syndicated in the Mail on Sunday and published in several books. Off the Leash is his latest creation.

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Another rescue-themed Off the Leash cartoon

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Originally launched on Facebook, the charming and heartfelt Off the Leash cartoons have developed a huge worldwide following. The new book brings together the very best of those cartoons, which feature the secret thoughts and conversations of the dogs who share our homes and lives. The book hits stores on Oct. 14.

200x236Pre-order the Off the Leash book now.

Enter for a chance to win a signed print of a rescue-themed Off the Leash cartoon!

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Foster Families’ Favorite Success Stories

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Griffin, fostered by Melissa Mariner-Loos for Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue in Southampton, Pa., after his surgery

Our friends at Mohawk Flooring are dedicated to helping find homes for pets in need. Not only do they donate $2 to the Petfinder Foundation for each new “like” on Facebook (“like” Mohawk’s Facebook page here!), Mohawk has also very generously gifted five wonderful pet foster parents around the United States with a new pet-stain-resistant SmartStrand rug.

Congratulations to Melissa Mariner-Loos from Pennsylvania, Billie Jo and Ray Weatherford from Indiana, Cindy Gruppen from Michigan, Lisa D’Annibale from New York, and Farrah Ader from Maryland! And thank you, Mohawk! We asked each foster family to send us the story of their favorite foster pet. Here they are, in their own words!

Foster Success Story: Griffin
Fostered for: Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue, Southampton, Pa.
Story submitted by: Melissa Mariner-Loos

Griffin [pictured above] is an approximately 2-year-old Pit Bull pup who has seen more than any dog his age should see in a lifetime.

This very sweet boy most likely lived an abusive life from the start (possibly being used as a bait dog). He was found tied to a pole at a church in Camden City, N.J., left for dead with the left side of his beautiful face and neck area hanging off and terribly infected. He had pellet wounds all over him. His ears had been chewed raw, along with part of his mouth. He was extremely emaciated at only 39 lbs., so it’s safe to say a good meal was not part of his past.

Fortunately, his past has not broken his spirit! Griffin is the biggest snuggler. From the moment Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue picked him up from the shelter, he started wagging his tail and giving kisses. When you look at him, it is so clear that all he wants is to be loved. Even with all the pain he was in, he has an amazingly sweet and gentle disposition.

After being seen by our rescue vet, it was determined he needed reconstructive surgery on his facial and neck areas. Because the wound was so infected, it was flushed out for a week prior to surgical repair. Griffin was also anemic from so much blood loss that we wanted to be sure his blood work was normal before he underwent anesthesia.

Griffin is now at a healthy weight, neutered, microchipped, heartworm tested (negative), up-to-date on all shots, and on monthly heartworm preventative. He has made a 100% recovery and continues to live a happy and healthy (not to mention SPOILED) life with his foster “failure” parents!

We consider Griffin’s story to be the reason Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue continues to do what we do.–Melissa Mariner-Loos, founder and president, Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue

 

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Rudy and his forever mom

Foster Success Story: Rudy
Fostered for: D & R Rescue, Inc., Paris, Ill.
Story submitted by: Ray and Billie Jo Weatherford

While we have many, many stories to share about the wonderful little foster dogs we are so privileged to help find forever homes — stories that will bring tears to your eyes — we have one story about a tiny red Dachshund named Rudy that makes us smile over and over!

Rudy was abandoned at a rest area on I-70. He obviously had lived a very hard life, perhaps on the road, perhaps not — only Rudy could tell us his past history of the last two or three years … but of course, he’s not talking!

Rudy was brought into the Doberman and Rottweiler Rescue for help. He was flea-infested and his hair was dry and flaky. His general overall condition was not healthy. He was groomed and after a quick trip to the chop shop, where he became a sports model, he was ready to come to our home for fostering before being put up for adoption.

Rudy was a small, red doxie, standing all of seven inches off the ground and very much full of pride. One would never know just many people he could touch in such a “short” period of time. He came to stay with Milo and Pearl, both doxies too but more than three times his size. I need to interject here that Rudy does NOT know size — please keep that in mind. He just knows what he wants, and being a doxie, he usually figures out how to get it!

All our foster dogs sleep in their crate at night; this makes their transition to their forever homes much easier for the dogs as well as the new owners in the event they must crate during the day or at night. It’s a rule we follow closely. Well, Rudy wasn’t about to embrace this new rule. Anybody who has a doxie knows they are well known for snuggling far down under the covers by your feet. When Milo and Pearl scurried under the covers at bedtime, tiny Rudy was right with them; he hardly made a wrinkle in the blankets. I think at that point we knew Rudy was different and a “tad” headstrong. Needless to say, the crate rule went by the wayside.

Rudy’s potty habits needed LOTS of work — I guess at the rest stop, any place works for potty. So we spent a couple of weeks working on what’s good and what’s bad. He seemed confused by the new rules and would cock his little head as if to listen, but he wasn’t sure he was buying into the new house rule: Peeing on Mama’s floor IS NOT GOOD! Whew, was he headstrong.

We retired on a small mini-farm outside of town. It’s located on a dead-end road to a creek in one direction and a walk park in the other, so the location is ideal for our twice-daily walks of the dogs. It was on these walks that Rudy met his now owner, a friend of our neighbor. The neighbor walks her dog with our dogs, and her friend just walked along for fun. Soon she was walking Rudy to help us out. Rudy didn’t know that walking could be so fun; he did lots of smells in the wooded area and learned to howl like a typical doxie. He pulled like a bull when he wanted to investigate something new, planting his tiny paws and throwing all 7 lbs. down to tug! Again, I think we knew Rudy was different and really headstrong. During these walks, the lady fell in love with Rudy and he with her.

Well, as we all know, timing is everything. The rescue called and said “Rudy has a forever home.” He would be getting adopted on Saturday. When everyone gathered to walk that evening, I said that Rudy had a forever home and would be getting adopted, providing they liked him, on Saturday. You could have heard a pin drop. The lady had planned on telling us that evening that she had fallen in love with Rudy and wanted to adopt him. She had tears in her eyes, our neighbor had tears and I could hardly swallow as I could feel tears welling up in my eyes too. They were perfect together and Rudy loved her so. I contacted the rescue immediately but unfortunately the adopters had very good references and the couple were set on getting Rudy and that was that — Rudy would be gone! No more walks at the farm, no more snuggles; Rudy would be GONE!

While we are always thrilled when foster dogs get their own forever homes, it’s always a little sad when they move on, but this time more so. The next day when everyone was telling Rudy goodbye, I lifted his little ear and whispered, “Rudy, be bad and come back to us. She loves you so much and wants you to live with her forever.” Well, I believe that Rudy believed that too!

On Saturday morning I waited and worried about Rudy. Did they like him? Did he interact with them? Finally the call came and the rescue reported back that the new adopters loved Rudy and he seemed to respond well to them, which is always a good sign. It all sounded like a wonderful ending for a foster dog and Rudy’s new home would be happy forever; he would be loved. Well, there’s something we knew but didn’t really understand about Rudy: He’s EXTREMELY headstrong!

Sunday afternoon, one day later, I received a call from the rescue. The new adopters had called and had a problem: Rudy, all 7 lbs., had chewed through their bathroom door. They had gone to church and left Rudy secured in the bathroom. Rudy decided he didn’t like being locked up, so he chewed through the hollow-core door. I guess living at the rest stop trained Rudy never to be locked up! I said, “That can’t be possible — he’s so tiny; he’s only 7 lbs. and seven inches tall! Remember me mentioning that Rudy does NOT know size? This proved it. The rescue said, “Billie Jo, they sent pictures, and he did it!” GADS! OH NO!! Needless to say, after further discussion with the rescue, the recent adopters decided they wanted to trade Rudy back in for a less-destructive, not-so-active dog! What??? While it truly isn’t funny, I was thrilled beyond words. He did exactly like I, his foster mom, had whispered in his ear the morning he left. That tiny little headstrong doxie was coming back!

I drove to the rescue (one hour each way) to get him. I didn’t alert Rudy’s now-forever mom that he was coming back, nor that she was going to get to adopt him. I just showed up at her door with Rudy in my arms and asked if she was interested in adopting a tiny little loving and very headstrong doxie! We half-laughed and half-cried as I told her what he had done. She was elated and Rudy was adopted that very day … three years ago! Rudy has a perfect home, is an only dog, and has never been crated or locked in a room since! The best part is, we get to see him and occasionally get to feel him snuggled by our feet when he sleeps over. He still doesn’t make a wrinkle in the blankets!–Ray and Billie Jo Weatherford

 

Macy

Macy as a puppy

Foster Success Story: Macy
Fostered for: Humane Society of Muskegon County, Muskegon, Mich.
Story submitted by: Cindy Gruppen

Having to choose just one story to share is a daunting task for a foster parent. Every foster dog has touched my soul and left their paw prints on my heart. But there is one very special girl that completely changed my life. She is the one that started it all and it is her story that I feel most compelled to tell.

It was late in my 12-hour shift as a 911 dispatcher on Saturday, March 12, 2011, when a call came into our center from a citizen in need of animal control. The caller’s daughter had left him a litter of puppies that he had no interest in keeping. Unfortunately, our animal control officer was done for the day and the caller was advised to contact the county shelter on Monday. Unhappy with his circumstances, the caller threatened to “take care” of the puppies himself. When his words were repeated to the room, I couldn’t help myself. I called him back, not caring how many puppies he had or what breed they were, I was not going to allow him to hurt those innocent babies.

During my conversation with the caller I was informed that there were eight 3-month-old pit bull-mix puppies that had been left with him because his daughter no longer wanted them. The mother of the puppies had been killed by the owners for attacking another dog while protecting her puppies. I was absolutely disgusted and I knew those poor things would meet the same fate if they were not removed from his house. Arrangements were made for my husband and myself to pick the puppies up after my shift and I would get them to the county shelter on Monday.

When we arrived at the apartment, the puppies were locked in a bathroom where the homeowner had been keeping them. To my surprise, the puppies were much younger than he had stated; they were hardly old enough to be away from their mother. My husband and I gathered all eight puppies and headed for home. What in the world was I going to do with eight puppies and the two dogs of my own? Well, it was just for two days … so we thought!

First thing on Monday, I contacted the county shelter and explained my situation to them. Unfortunately for me, they did not have space for eight 6-week-old puppies. The shelter was going to work on finding foster homes for the puppies but could not promise a place for all of them. Now I was the one going into panic mode. I had promised my husband that the puppies would be gone that Monday, but that was not going to be the case. In the week following, the shelter had found foster homes for six of the eight puppies. It was then decided that our family would foster the remaining two, Gunnar and Macy.

It did not take long for Gunnar to find his forever home, leaving his sister Macy the last of the puppies to find her own place. My heart ached for her and it was then that I realized she had already found her family, with us. The thought of her leaving was unbearable, so we decided to make it official. On May 10, 2011, we signed the adoption contract and Macy became a part of our family permanently.

I realize Macy’s story may be typical of many shelter animals and foster dogs; however, it is the events that followed my experience with her that make this story so much more. Our fostering experience was so rewarding, we opened up our home to more dogs in need and it didn’t take long for me to realize what I wanted to do. Almost one year to the day later, I turned in my resignation from my position as a 911 dispatcher. That 10-year journey had come to an end for me and it was time to start a new one. I wanted to save more lives — the ones with four legs! I left dispatch and began volunteering more at the shelter while continuing to foster when needed.

Our family has opened our home and our hearts to 32 fosters since that day in March,h and Macy has been here to greet and comfort every one of them. Some have stayed for weeks and some for years and are still waiting for that perfect family to come along. We have affectionately named our home “Macy’s Grace,” a place where all are welcome while waiting to begin their new journeys.

Thank you for your time and consideration and all that you do to help the abandoned, neglected and unwanted find their new leash on life.–Cindy Gruppen

 

Betsy Ross

Betsy Ross with her new dads, Jason and Brian, the day she was adopted

Foster Success Story: Betsy Ross
Fostered for: Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS)
Story submitted by: Farrah Ader

It’s hard to pick a favorite foster story, but I think Betsy Ross is a great story of how fostering can make a difference! In January of 2013, I had three of my own dogs and was already fostering my first BARCS foster dog, Rockstar. However, BARCS was low on dog space so I offered to take another foster. I went down to the shelter and was shown a few of the more urgent/long-term dogs. There were two I was considering, but Betsy Ross was more urgent, so I took her home.

Betsy had been at the shelter since the previous November. She had come in with her puppies after being attacked by another dog in her home. Betsy saw all her puppies get adopted, but she was still waiting for her forever home. She had five adoption applications put in on her, but they never followed through or didn’t work out. She was dog-social and loved being in play group or even just playing in the play yard with her favorite toy, a deflated basketball. She was sweet, friendly, and an all-around fun dog.

The day I took her home to foster, she looked like she was smiling the entire car ride back to my house. Once she settled in and recovered from her spay surgery, she quickly won everyone in our house over, although she really bonded with my son and seemed to love kids in general. They would play ball or Frisbee until both were worn out. She was definitely a higher-energy dog, and although she and Rockstar enjoyed playing together, she would often wear him out. She was such a joy to have around because she just embodied what “love for life” means. She appreciated every toy, every bit of attention and affection, and was so happy and excited about everything.

We began marketing her, and within two weeks had a few interested applicants. She met her perfect match in Jason and Brian, who had recently lost one of their dogs and fell in love with her picture when they saw it. She met them and sealed the deal, and they took her home a week later!

She has been a great addition to their house and a great playmate to their other dogs. Her adopters are also amazing, and we are friends on Facebook, where I get frequent updates with pictures and even videos of her playing in the snow or playing with their cat! They take her for walks every day, and sometimes even hikes, and are totally in love with her! Her story really shows how a great dog can be overlooked in a shelter environment, and sometimes needs the benefit of a foster home to help them get adopted and find their perfect forever home!–Farrah Ader

 

Matilda

Matilda (right) and doggie sister Leah

Foster Success Story: Matilda
Fostered for: SPCA of Tompkins County, Ithaca, N.Y.
Story submitted by: Lisa D’Annibale

One Saturday in June of 2005 I walked into the shelter for my routine dog-walking shift and was greeted by somber staff members huddled around a wee bundle. It seems that someone had found a small black-and-white puppy, estimated to be 6–8 weeks old, on their lawn in the middle of the night during a rain storm. The puppy was hardly moving, in severe distress and in fact barely alive.

Upon first examination it was evident that she had a badly deformed front leg, but that was overshadowed by the fact that her mouth and sinus cavities were severely inflamed due to what appeared to be burns. The only explanation that could be given was that she had chewed through an electrical cord.

Thankfully, the SPCA of Tompkins County is a no-kill shelter and, even though she had only a 50/50 chance of survival, they gave her a “wait and see” status and asked me if I would take her home to foster.

For the next three days, I rocked the baby and did my best to comfort her whimpers and cries. I gave her cool water with a syringe and hand fed her bits of canned food to try to keep her strength up.

All the while I kept thinking that this puppy needed a name. I was watching TV one evening with her in my arms and a show came on about amazing dogs. One of the spotlights focused on a three-legged border collie who was an amazing agility and Frisbee-catching athlete. Her name was Mattie. I looked up Mattie and saw that it was short for Matilda, which means “strength in battle.” Since our little one had quite the fight ahead of her, Matilda she became!

The next morning I woke up to find Matilda in the front of her crate, eyes wide open! I wrote to the dog-care manager at the shelter and said, “Matilda wagged her tail for the first time today! I think she’s going to be okay.”

Off to the vet for another examination, only to find that the head trauma she sustained caused severe damage to her right eye. It was blind. And now that the swelling was starting to subside in her mouth, they could also see that Matilda had a cleft palate. Everything was still in a “wait and see” status, so I just took her home, did my best to care for her and loved her up some more.

Matilda thrived! She continued to get stronger and stronger and her personality blossomed! She was a happy-go-lucky, energetic little thing, playful with my dogs and cats and yet quite the snuggler too.

With time, the burns in her mouth completely healed. The vets didn’t think that her eye caused her any pain, so they did not remove it. But her deformed front leg would not grow.

Matilda’s mobility was impaired as she tried to use her stumpy leg to get around, so it was decided to amputate it. They figured while she was under anesthesia they would do her spay surgery and fix her cleft palate as well. But, lo and behold, her cleft palate had closed and completely healed on its own!

Matilda, our wonder puppy, recovered from her leg amputation and adjusted very well to life with three legs. In fact, so well that her speed and activity level proved to be too much for my home and it was time to find her own forever family.

Everywhere I went I asked if anyone was interested in meeting and potentially adopting “an amazing, loving and wonderful, one-eyed, three-legged puppy recovering from severe burns.”

And someone said yes! Matilda’s new parents came to meet her and fell instantly in love and adopted her. It was a match made in heaven.

We kept in touch and the new family came for a visit about a month later. They met my newest foster at the time, a collie-mix pup named Leah. And as fate would have it, the two puppies became fast friends and Leah became Matilda’s sister.

Matilda and Leah, celebrating their ninth birthdays this year, continue to have a wonderful life with their devoted and loving family. We do see each other every now and then and just last year the girls came for a visit. It was very clear that Matilda’s rough start many years ago was completely forgotten.–Lisa D’Annibale

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Ask me about my Kennel Quilt!

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Pretty Girl on her Kennel Quilt

The following post is by guest blogger Nan Baker, marketing director for The Quilt Pattern Magazine:

Hi! My name is Pretty Girl and I want to share my story about my Kennel Quilt. It all started with Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Not only were people and homes affected by this disaster, but animals were as well. As a result of the devastation, many people were displaced along with their pets. People had to find alternate living quarters and having their pets with them was not an option. Animal shelters stepped in and offered to help care for pets by housing them and feeding them. It was a pretty overwhelming task and not an easy one. Even though pets had shelter, food, and a safe place, it was still very stressful for all concerned.

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At 12″ x 18″, Kennel Quilts are the perfect size for cat carriers.

Now you may or may not know, but when kitties are in shelter facilities, particularly crowded ones, they tend to just “hunker down.” We don’t like the feel of the bottom of the kennels and most of us end up sitting in our litter boxes. I know! I know! It is not a good thing, but the litter feels more normal than stainless steel on our pads. Yes, there are blankets and towels, but they are usually too big for kitty kennels. Fortunately, there was a group of quilters who wanted to make it better.

Earlier that year, The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) – whose staff all love animals, particularly kitties – decided to offer free patterns for Kennel Quilts on their website. Quilters could use them to make one for their kitties for comfy trips to the veterinarian. The quilts measure 12″ x 18″ and fit most standard-size kennels. As most quilters like, love and have pets, this was a great idea to help my furry friends! Everything changed after Hurricane Sandy.

picture 5The Petfinder Foundation and The Quilt Pattern Magazine joined forces. The magazine put out a call to their readers to make Kennel Quilts for the animal shelters helping the animal victims. Over 100 Kennel Quilts were sent to shelters in New Jersey and New York. The quilts came from all over the United States, Canada and even England!

Because of the overwhelming response, the TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team was formed in the spring of 2013. Disasters continued happening in 2013 – tornadoes, explosions, fires, and floods. It was bad! That is where I came in. I was in a shelter in Colorado that took in animals that were affected by the awful fires in the canyon. Quilters immediately came to the rescue!

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Cats dislike the feel of steel on their paws, so the quilts make them more comfortable in their cages.


Today, almost 1000 Kennel Quilts have been made by over 100 volunteers and have been distributed to animal shelters in 10 different states! Whenever an emergency situation arises, the Petfinder Foundation alerts The Quilt Pattern Magazine and TQPM promptly puts out the call to the Small Kennel Quilt Team. It is amazing how it works!

But I have a little secret: I know that quilters are caring and compassionate people who want to help whenever and wherever there is a need. Not all have the time or the money for fabric to make a big quilt, but most have lots of fabric scraps (leftover pieces from other projects) and some time to make little quilts like my Kennel Quilt. That group of quilters sure made it better for me and my kitty friends here at my shelter and at other shelters, too! We have soft, comfy quilts where we can sit, make biscuits, and take naps. That is the story about my Kennel Quilt.

To become part of the TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team and “make it better” for shelter animals, go to the TQPM Small Kennel Quilt page. Tell them that Pretty Girl sent you!

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A Special Boy, a Special Dog and an Amazing Story

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Owen and Haatchi, from Haatchi’s Facebook page

The story of Owen Howkins and Haatchi, a boy and his dog who transformed each others’ lives and became global celebrities, is one of overcoming incredible adversity — again and again. Owen, an 8-year-old British boy, suffers from an extremely rare genetic disorder that limits his every action. Haatchi, an Anatolian Shepherd, was as a puppy intentionally left on railroad tracks and hit by a train, causing him to lose a hind leg and his tail.

As told in the book Haatchi & Little B, out today from St. Martin’s Press, each triumphed against seemingly impossible odds. Not only was Haatchi the victim of unthinkable cruelty, after he was rescued by the RSPCA, he faced euthanasia simply because no one wanted to adopt a disabled dog — let alone a “dangerous” breed.

cover_haatchiAnatolian Shepherds have a reputation in Britain similar to Pit Bulls’ here in the U.S. They can grow to 150 lbs. and were bred to guard flocks of sheep against wolves and mountain lions. After three Anatolian Shepherds mauled a woman in 2011, the judge who tried the dogs’ owner declared the breed “not appropriate to be kept in England.”

Owen is one of just a handful of people in the world with Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, in which the muscles tense permanently, causing bone and joint problems. Often in a wheelchair when in public, he had become shy and withdrawn, aware of people looking at him because he was different. And although Haatchi made all the difference, the dog nearly didn’t come into Owen’s life.

Owen’s dad and stepmother had already tried getting him a dog to help him open up. They adopted a Spaniel-Collie mix named Mr. Pixel, but Owen didn’t bond with him as his parents had hoped (they kept Mr. Pixel in their family, of course). When Owen’s stepmother, Colleen, found Haatchi online, she was certain he was the companion Owen needed — but when she applied to adopt him, she was turned down! (The rescue group misunderstood the amount of time Haatchi would be alone — which in reality was none.)

But Owen and Haatchi came together at last, and the results were instantaneous. Haatchi, still an energetic puppy learning to walk on three legs, instinctively became calm around Owen and was soon his constant companion. When Owen took him out for walks, people noticed him — not for his disability, but for his “awesome” dog! Owen learned to delight in telling Haatchi’s story. As his dad, Will, says in the book, “It was an incredible transformation. He went from being painfully shy to working the crowd!”

Read the rest of this amazing story in Haatchi & Little B, by Wendy Holden.

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A Rescue Vehicle Is Hit by a Drunk Driver

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The animal-rescue vehicle purchased by Alaska’s Extended Life Animal Sanctuary

Thanks to your donations, when the animal-rescue vehicle used by Alaska’s Extended Life Animal Sanctuary in Nikiski was totaled by a drunk driver, the Petfinder Foundation was able to help.

AELAS founder Tim Colbath tells us, “On Jan. 9, our primary pet transport vehicle was hit and totaled by a drunk driver.” Colbath himself received a broken leg and other injuries, but made a full recovery. Unfortunately, the organization’s Chevy Suburban was beyond repair.

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Buddy, who was rescued by AELAS

“The accident impacted our ability to transport pets,” Colbath says. “My 2001 Dodge pickup can only handle the transport of four cats at a time. Even with a cap on the back, it is too cold and rough for animals to be transported nine months a year here in Alaska.”

The Petfinder Foundation awarded AELAS an $8,000 disaster grant. Together with a smaller payment from the drunk driver’s insurance company, AELAS was able to purchase a 2004 GMC Yukon XL.

The new vehicle plays a critical role in AELAS’s rescue work: The organization serves all of south central Alaska, and often transports animals 200-300 miles to the sanctuary.

One such long-distance rescue was Buddy, who was shot by a passerby while he was relaxing in his own yard. Buddy’s owners didn’t have the means to get him treatment, so AELAS volunteers drove 100+ miles to Homer to pick him up.

They rushed him straight to their vet, where Buddy underwent surgery to remove the bullet that had been lodged in his bone for — as Colbath learned — six days. Despite his ordeal, Buddy is a happy, friendly boy who is ready for a safe and loving home. Read the story of Buddy’s rescue or meet Buddy here.

With its new truck, AELAS will be able to continue rescuing pets like Buddy. “I want to thank each and every member of the Petfinder Foundation for helping us get this rig,” Colbath says. “This 2004 GMC Yukon XL is absolutely perfect for the pet transporting we do every day, weekly to Anchorage and back. We service two of the three Southcentral Alaska PETCO stores, and the cats and dogs love the ride now!”

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For Shelter Dogs, Happiness Saves Lives

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Smiley on his dog bed

Happy, healthy dogs are more likely to get adopted. When shelter dogs are physically comfortable, feel safe and secure, and are not crazed with boredom, they show their true personalities and charm potential adopters.

That’s why many of our grants are designed to improve shelter dogs’ quality of life. A bed, a toy and even a good shampoo can make all the difference.

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Smiley, a 9-year-old blind Pit Bull, has been at the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts in Brockton for quite some time. Thanks to our grant, he and other dogs there sleep on cozy P.L.A.Y. beds. “There is nothing Smiley likes better than going out for long walks,” shelter director Kim Heise says. “But having a nice, soft, comfy P.L.A.Y. bed to snuggle up on in his kennel makes having to come back a little easier.” Read Smiley’s story.

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Finley with his KONG

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We granted 300 KONG toys to Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson — great news for dogs like Finley, a 5-year-old Italian Greyhound mix. “Shelter life can be scary for pets,” PACC Development Director Karen Hollish tells us. “The enrichment activity that Finley received from the granted KONG toys meant he was relaxed, happy and ready when his adopter finally walked by.” Read Finley’s story.

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Suzy before (top) and after

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Adoption groups receiving our grants of Wahl grooming products tell us the mild shampoos are a blessing to their dogs, many of whom come into their care with painful skin conditions and smelling terrible. Suzy had spent her seven years living outdoors when she arrived at Houndhaven in Minneola, FL, and her coat was in poor shape. After a regimen that included Wahl baths, Suzy blossomed — and was adopted. Read Suzy’s story.

Thank you for your support, which makes stories like these possible. Donate to improve quality of life for more shelter dogs.

 

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Our New Rescue Van Will Save Lives in Detroit!

MHS_van_collage2Here’s a sneak peak at the new animal-rescue van purchased with our $40,000 grant to the Michigan Humane Society! With this van, MHS will be able to save thousands of Detroit animals from cruelty and neglect.

“Thank you for the time you took to help MHS with this and for the significant donation that made this possible,” says MHS Vice President of Development Marta Diffen. “Animals in the city are counting on us and we are truly grateful!”

The vehicle will enable MHS cruelty investigators to save more pets like Zeva, a German shepherd puppy found wandering the streets of Detroit so emaciated and weak that she was walking on her wrists — her paws were not strong enough to support her body.

Zeva was treated at MHS’s Detroit Center for Animal Care, then fostered — and ultimately adopted — by MHS Chief Cruelty Investigator Debby MacDonald. See Zeva’s amazing transformation in the video below.

Donate now to help more pets like Zeva.

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Happy Ending for Detroit Puppy With Two Broken Legs

Thanks to a Petfinder Foundation grant, the Michigan Humane Society has purchased a new rescue van to save abused and injured animals in the beleaguered city.

“This generous gift from the Petfinder Foundation will travel thousands of miles each year to rescue animals in need,” says MHS’s Interim President and CEO, David A. Williams. “The Petfinder Foundation will help us save the very lives we may then re-home using the most widely recognized website that has placed millions of animals, Petfinder.com. We are grateful for such a great partner. The support is vital and very much appreciated.”

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At this Detroit home, Flutter fell from the second-floor porch onto the concrete patio below.

The $40,000 grant, part of our SNAP-X Detroit project, will mean more help for abused and injured animals like Flutter, a puppy rescued after falling from a second-floor porch.

Flutter’s owner called the MHS Rescue Department the day after the 4-month-old German shepherd mix fell off the porch.

Once at the shelter, it was clear that Flutter was in terrible pain and could not put weight on either of her front legs. X-rays confirmed that she had broken both legs.

Vets outfitted her with two pretty pink casts, and she went into a foster home — with Stacey Bean, the rescue driver who’d saved her! A few months later, after Flutter had made a full recovery, her story was featured on the local news, and she was immediately adopted by Esther Martinez, who’d already adopted two dogs from MHS. “She was just adorable, and I loved her from the moment I saw her,” Martinez told MHS. Watch a video on Flutter’s adoption.

Donate now to help more pets like Flutter.

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In Detroit, a Former Outside Dog Finds a Place on the Couch

Our SNAP-X Detroit grant program continues to save the lives of the city’s most at-risk pets. As part of the effort, we gave a $10,000 grant to All About Animals Rescue, which operates in some of Detroit’s lowest-income zip codes.

AAAR forges relationships with area pet owners — many of whom keep their dogs outside — providing pet food, veterinary care and supplies such as collars and straw to improve the dogs’ quality of life, all while educating the owners in an effort to get them to bring their pets indoors. If they refuse, AAAR offers to rehome the dogs.

Spenser was one such outside dog. AAAR founder Amber Sitko tells us Spenser’s story in pictures:

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The handsome boy on the couch is Spenser. He used to be known as Scarface. His owner disappeared and the owners’ roommates allowed Spenser to stay, but life didn’t get any better for him.

 

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This is where Spenser lived. The roommates weren’t so interested in feeding Spenser, so he had daily rescue visits until a foster home could be found.

 

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Finally, AAAR found Spenser a loving foster home, where he had a playmate! Sadly, he also tested positive for heartworm.

 

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Spencer’s foster mom agreed to continue fostering him until after treatment. During that time, she fell in love with him and decided to adopt him! He tested negative last month too, so all good things with Spencer!

 

Donate now to help more pets like Spenser.

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