Posts Categorized: Disaster

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 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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After Dogs Die in Georgia Shelter Break-In, We’re Helping Survivors (WARNING: Graphic)

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Mic bears scars from the incident at All About Animals Rescue in Macon, Ga.

Mic still has scars from the deadly break-in at All About Animals Rescue in Macon, Ga.

Thanks to your help, we’ve sent a $2,000 emergency grant to All About Animals Rescue in Macon, Ga., to help cover medical expenses for the dogs who were injured during a deadly break-in on Oct. 16. That night, an intruder let 40 dogs out of their kennels; three dogs were killed, more than a dozen were severely injured, and all the survivors are traumatized.

“[The grant] really will help,” says AAAR founder and director Mary Crawford.

Mic before the deadly break-in (above left) and immediately after (above right). Photo credit: AAAR

Mic, a “smart and fun boy,” before the Oct. 16 break-in (left) and immediately after

The two staffers who arrived at the shelter the morning of Oct. 17 were met with a chaotic and frightening scene, volunteer Kathy Brantley tells us: “All these dogs were bleeding to death; they were in shock, their faces were swollen.”

Fred and Wilma (Photo: AAAR)

Fred (left) and Wilma are a bonded pair.

The staffers called for help and scrambled to put the loose dogs back in their kennels. Working with shelter volunteers, they took the badly injured dogs to veterinarians across the city and scoured the neighborhood to find the four dogs who had been released onto the street. All the lost dogs were found, including Fred and Wilma (pictured), former strays who returned to the shelter on their own.

The three dogs – Butler, Flapjack and Jack — who died as a result of injuries they sustained during the break-in were all gentle dogs not known for fighting, Crawford and Brantley tell us. Butler only had three legs and didn’t stand a chance when the frenzied scene erupted, Brantley says.

Last month, police arrested a woman in connection with the incident. Crystal Gale Fessler has been charged with 13 counts of cruelty to animals, probation violation and criminal trespass, but her motives, and whether she acted alone or with a partner, remain unknown, Crawford says.

AAAR typically houses about 70 dogs, most of them pulled from nearby Macon Animal Control. Although the property is surrounded by a 10-ft. fence topped with barbed wire, the person or people who broke in likely slipped through a small gap between the fence and barbed wire, Crawford says. The shelter’s perimeter has since been secured, and security cameras have been installed.

Crawford and Brantley say they are still looking for homes for several of the surviving dogs, including Fred, Wilma, Mic and Lionel, who suffered a large wound on his neck during the break-in.

Lionel is healing and ready for a home. (Photo: AAAR)

Lionel, who nearly starved to death before AAAR rescued him, is recovering from his new injuries and ready for a home.

Meanwhile, the shelter is working to cover the dogs’ vet bills. Your support of the Petfinder Foundation is helping AAAR pay for this lifesaving care.

Donate now to help us help more pets like these.

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We’re Helping the Shelter Destroyed by a Schoolbus

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No children were on board the bus at the time of the crash on Oct. 2, and miraculously, no people or animals were injured.

When a schoolbus crashed into Wright-Way Rescue in Niles, Ill. on Oct. 2, dozens of adoptable pets — and the shelter itself — were left homeless. We’re giving Wright-Way a $10,000 grant to purchase a mobile adoption trailer so it can continue to save lives as it recovers from this disaster.

No people or animals were harmed by the crash, but Wright-Way was forced to vacate its adoption center, where it finds homes for 5,000 pets each year. Wright-Way pulls about 75 dogs and cats a week from rural, open-admission shelters, and without a means to find them homes while the organization searches for a new, permanent facility, many animals throughout the Midwest would be euthanized.

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The crash destroyed Wright-Way’s adoption center.

We reached out to Wright-Way and offered to help. Founder Christy Anderson told us a grant would be used to purchase a trailer to serve as a mobile adoption center for now, and after Wright-Way finds a permanent location for its adoption center, the trailer will be used for off-site adoptions and pick up for spay/neuter surgeries.

Anderson was delighted to hear that the Petfinder Foundation would fund the $10,000 trailer. “Wright-Way Rescue and myself are incredibly thankful for the amazing support of the Petfinder Foundation,” she tells us. “Your generosity is so greatly appreciated during this time of need. We are so looking forward to having a mobile adoption center and are confident it will help us continue our mission of saving homeless pets. Thank you!!!”

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Our grant will help pets like McHenry.

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Our Grants Will Help Nearly 300 Displaced Pets in Colorado

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Melody, a senior Pit Bull, is at Longmont Humane Society, which just received a disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation.

We’ve sent $6,000 in disaster aid to Longmont Humane Society (LHS) in Longmont, Colo., where staff members have been working tirelessly to care for 190 pets displaced by the region’s deadly floods. This grant follows yesterday’s $3,000 disaster grant to nearby Humane Society of Boulder Valley, which is housing 70 displaced pets. (Read about HSBV’s grant.)

“We are incredibly grateful,” LHS Executive Director Liz Smokowski tells us in a phone call from the busy shelter, which has stayed open to help pets despite being located in an evacuation zone.

Development Associate Carrie Brackenridge tells us that some 1,500 homes have been destroyed and another 17,500 have been damaged by the flooding, which began on Sept. 12.

As with HSBV, the displaced pets arrived when the shelter was already full. “Single-occupancy capacity at LHS is 368 animals,” Brackenridge tells us. “As of Sept. 17, we are housing 441 animals. As a result of caring for evacuated animals, LHS is experiencing an increase in our daily operational costs. Supplies such as food, healthcare items and cleaning products have been in increased usage, and resources such as staff time and utility usage have increased dramatically.”

Shelter staff are fitting in the extra animals wherever they can, housing many in office spaces.

To make matters worse, some of the displaced pets are showing signs of Giardia infection that they may have contracted from the floodwaters. An outbreak of Giardia, a highly contagious intestinal parasite, would threaten all the shelter’s animals, so staffers are disinfecting aggressively and feeding the affected pets special food. “We are really starting to worry that the next chapter in this crisis is going to be medical issues,” Smokowski says.

Our disaster grant will be a huge help. “This funding from Petfinder Foundation will be instrumental in relieving the costs associated with current rescue efforts,” Smokowski says. “We are very grateful!”

Donate to help us save pets when disaster strikes, and Orvis will match your gift!

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Saving Animal Victims of the Colorado Floods

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Doogie is at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, which just received a disaster grant.

Doogie is at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, which just received a disaster grant from the Petfinder Foundation.

We’ve rushed $3,000 in disaster aid to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV) in Boulder, Colo., which has been caring for 70 pets displaced by the deadly Colorado floods of the past few days.

The animal flood victims have joined more than 200 homeless cats, dogs, birds and pocket pets that are already being cared for by the always-full shelter, CEO Lisa Pedersen tells us.

“I so appreciate the grant,” Pedersen says. “That will really help.”

HSBV is caring for displaced pets at its shelter and at an off-site location it is managing in conjunction with the Red Cross, Pedersen says. As evacuated families find temporary shelter, some of them are returning to HSBV to pick up their pets.

But even more families, whose homes either were destroyed or are inaccessible because of washed-out roads, may need HSBV to look after their pets for months.

“We are preparing to match these pets up with foster homes, or to provide them with long-term care,” Pedersen tells us.

Donate to help us save pets when disaster strikes, and Orvis will match your gift!

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We’re Helping Animal Victims of California Wildfire

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Joey is at the Humane Society of Tuolumne County, which just received a disaster grant.

Eight-week-old Joey is at the Humane Society of Tuolumne County, which just received a disaster grant.

We’re rushing $2,500 in disaster aid to the Humane Society of Tuolumne County in Jamestown, Calif., a small shelter that’s working day and night to care for 30 dogs and cats displaced by California’s raging Rim Fire.

In addition to our cash grant, we’ve partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., to send the shelter cat vaccinations, dog vaccinations and pain medicine, which will help pets recovering from spay/neuter surgeries. We’re also working with our friends at Thundershirt to send the calming shirts to the shelter, which will not only help the 30 displaced pets but the 25 homeless pets also in residence.

“We’re so happy [about all the donations],” Shelter Operations Director Doryene Rapini tells us. “We’ve been wanting to buy Thundershirts, but we can’t afford them. This will really help because some of the animals are so scared.”

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Our granted Thundershirts will help calm Harvey.

Rapini says one of her staff members has worked for 12 days straight, and that she’s had to hire additional staff to care for the displaced pets.

“In addition, we have called for all available volunteers to help with the increased workload of cleaning, walking, cuddling and nurturing the animals in our care until this crisis is over,” she tells us. “Although at this time we are unsure how long [the crisis] will last, we are currently at day 12 as the fire continues to spread and 4,500 structures are threatened.”

Rapini says our grant was going to make a huge difference: “We’re so small, and our community is not the wealthiest, so getting help is just amazing.”

Donate to help us save more pets when disaster strikes, and Orvis will match your gift!

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What Happened to Oklahoma Tornado Pets?

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Chance was treated for facial fractures and lacerations from flying debris.

Thanks to donors like you, in May we gave nearly $50,000 in cash and product grants to shelters impacted by the Oklahoma tornado. What happened to the animals who lost their homes to the storm? Grant recipient Central Oklahoma Humane Society, one of the shelters charged with rescuing pets displaced by the disaster, providing medical treatment for them and reuniting them with their owners, took in 151 dogs and cats. Amy Shrodes, the shelter’s manager of development, tells us nearly all have been reunited with their families or adopted into new homes — and those who haven’t are being lovingly cared for by shelter staff.

Here is the full grant report from Shrodes:

“The Central Oklahoma Humane Society (OK Humane) applied the grant from the Petfinder Foundation towards outside emergency medical expenses associated with animals injured during the May 20, 2013, tornado that devastated the city of Moore and parts of South Oklahoma City.

“The grant provided by the Petfinder Foundation covered a portion of reimbursement to outside veterinarians who assisted OK Humane with the treatment of critically injured animals found immediately following the tornado. Gifts like the one given by the Petfinder Foundation enabled OK Humane to take in a total of 151 animals at our temporary disaster-relief facilities. We were thrilled that 67 of the dogs and cats OK Humane took in were reunited with owners during the 45-day reunion time frame. At the end of the 45 days, OK Humane hosted a special adoption event for the animals who did not have families come forward for them. The event was called ‘Hope After The Storm,’ and it was hosted on July 13. Adopters from all over the country pre-registered for a chance to win a ticket to attend the private adoption event. Almost all of the remaining tornado animals were adopted at the event. OK Humane is still caring for several dogs and cats displaced by the storm, and they will receive love and attention until they are adopted by new families.

“We are now in the process of launching a long-term area resource plan for residents in disaster-affected areas. OK Humane is a member of the Long-Term Area Resource Committee for Oklahoma County and plans to assist owners with outstanding vet-bill reimbursement for injuries resulting from the disaster. OK Humane will also be offering free spay/neuter surgeries, free vaccinations and free microchipping. The plan is to offer these resources through at least the end of 2013.

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Chance’s grandmother broke down in tears when she discovered he was alive.

“Chance, a brindle-and-white boxer, was in horrible shape when his rescuer found him the night the tornado ripped through the City of Moore. The fact that he was in an airline carrier is probably the only thing that saved his life.

“Chance was sent to the OK Humane disaster-relief facility from the triage unit in Moore. Upon arrival, we knew that he needed immediate medical attention. As soon as a volunteer was available, we had him transported over to an emergency center where he was treated for facial fractures and lacerations from flying debris on his legs and face.

“We are excited to say that several days later Chance was reunited with his family. The person who found Chance was his grandmother, and she could not believe he was still alive. Her house had been completely destroyed by the storm. She thought Chance was lost forever, and broke down in tears immediately when she saw him come around the corner at our facility. Known as his ‘Oma,’ she had been keeping Chance for a few weeks for her son in California when the storm hit.

“Chance’s owners stayed in constant contact with us during his sheltering and treatment, and even allowed us to neuter him for free at our high-quality public spay/neuter clinic. One month later, an OK Humane board member flew Chance in a private plane back to his mom and dad in California. This sweet boy truly received a second ‘chance’ at life! Following the progress of his story during the 30 days that we cared for him was an inspiration to the entire OK Humane team.”

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A month after the tornado hit, Chance was reunited with his owners.

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A Flood Threatens Reservation Dogs in Montana

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George had to be evacuated from RezQ Dogs.

George has been evacuated from RezQ Dogs’ shelter because of the flood.

When the shelter housing pets rescued by RezQ Dogs — which saves extremely at-risk dogs from two isolated Indian reservations in Montana — was destroyed on June 4 by a flood, we rushed $3,000 in disaster aid to Dodson, Mont., where RezQ Dogs is building new kennels so it can keep saving the area’s stray, abused and unwanted dogs.

“Every inch of the property is covered with three to four inches of silt and mud,” RezQ Dogs President Anita Wilke tells us. “Ten kennels are destroyed, as is the perimeter fence. All of the dog houses are either contaminated or destroyed.”

Flooded dog runs at RezQ Dogs.

Flooded dog runs at RezQ Dogs’ shelter

RezQ Dogs takes in dogs, cats and other animals from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s reservations. Together, the communities cover roughly 1,200 square miles in North-Central Montana, and the prospects for homeless dogs are dire in both, Wilke says.

On Fort Belknap, Wilke says, “Dogs spend their mandatory three-day hold cramped into the live trap in which they were captured.”

“Because there is no budget for animal control, there is no budget for medical needs or even food for the dogs that find their way to ‘animal control,’ ” she adds. “Prior to RezQ Dogs, the Fort Belknap Animal Control euthanized 95 percent of all incoming dogs. Only 5 percent were reclaimed by owners or found new homes. Strays on Fort Belknap were held for three days, if they didn’t cause a problem, and then were euthanized by gunshot. Owner turn-ins were shot immediately.”

There is no animal control presence on Rocky Boy’s Reservation, Wilke says.

“Their customary response to the ‘dog control issue’ is to conduct round ups which result in the animals being hunted and shot,” she says.

In the last three years, RezQ has saved and found loving homes for more than 800 dogs, Wilke says.

Katniss, who's eye had to be removed because of a porcupine encounter, was evacuated.

Katniss came to RezQ Dogs with a porcupine-injured eye that had to be removed.

Wilke says Dodson’s heavy rains began several weeks before the June 4 flood hit. Fearing the weather would worsen, RezQ Dogs transported 11 of its dogs to a boarding kennel 180 miles away in Great Falls. Eight dogs remained in the group’s care when the flood struck, and they were evacuated by boat. Some of these displaced dogs have been taken in by shelters and rescues in the region, but the demand on RezQ Dogs to take in imperiled dogs from the reservations has not slowed down.

“We are looking forward to making the necessary improvements to continue helping dogs from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations,” Wilke says. “Everyone at RezQ Dogs is very grateful for your support!”

Donate so we can keep helping pets when disaster strikes.

Evacuation by boat.

Evacuating RezQ Dogs by boat

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Animals Suffering in Colorado Wildfires

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Zed is tiny and adorable

Our grant to The Gabriel Foundation is helping protect Zed the lovebird.

With Colorado wildfires still raging, our disaster grants are helping to reunite evacuated pets with their families and to protect 950 homeless birds from the deadly effects of smoky air.

After the state’s most destructive wildfire broke out near Colorado Springs on June 11, we rushed $3,000 to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR), which has cared for nearly 1,000 animals affected by the disaster. We also sent $1,500 to The Gabriel Foundation so it could purchase the expensive air filters it needs to protect the delicate respiratory systems of the 950 homeless Parrots and other birds in its care.

Nelson, the Elderly Parrot

Our grant is helping Nelson the senior Parrot.

“We are downwind from the fires, and because we use swamp coolers and birds’ respiratory systems are extremely delicate, our birds’ health is greatly at risk,” The Gabriel Foundation’s Administration Manager Jennie Wyrwicki tells us. “We need to make sure we have filters running constantly.”

HSPPR’s Grants and Corporate Relations Manager Marsha Wayman tells us that her organization has already reunited 315 animals with their grateful families. Many displaced pets are or were in the shelter’s care because their pet parents were evacuated and had to bring their pets to the shelter for temporary care, Wayman says.

HSPPR also went into homes to retrieve pets who had been left behind, like Callie, below. When Callie’s family was forced to evacuate, she was hiding and they could not find her. They were thrilled HSPPR was able to save her life.

Callie's Happy Reunion

Callie was reunited with her grateful family at HSPPR.

We’re proud to be supporting these happy reunions and the hard work Colorado’s animal-welfare organizations are doing to save animal victims of the disaster.

Donate today so we can save more pets when disaster strikes, and Orvis will match your gift!

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