Posts By: Emily Fromm

Abused, Burned and Abandoned

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The Petfinder Foundation gave a grant to Saving Animals for Everyone in Anthony, FL, which used the funds to buy food and bedding; to construct a yard area in which the dogs can play, socialize and meet potential adopters; and to pay for repairs, vet visits and general operating supplies. They also shared with us the story of Chance:

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Chance

“Chance was found one morning tied to the front gate. He was abused, with obvious burn marks, and very thin. He was so very happy to be found. He was immediately taken to the vet for an exam. He was found to have heartworms and other parasites. He was given medicine and then had to be kept in quarantine for 6 months or until released by the vet.

“He was between 2-4 years old, a Staffordshire terrier mix. He was so affectionate and smiled whenever anyone came to feed or spend some time with him. In a few months, his worms were cleared up, he had gained weight, had been neutered and was ready to be adopted.

“Before we could list him on Petfinder, a friend of the sanctuary saw him and immediately wanted to adopt him. He didn’t get along with other dogs well, but in this home he would be an only dog, so away he went to his forever home. The Petfinder Foundation grant helped Chance to get a new home. It is what this grant is all about, so thank you for granting it to us.”

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A Miracle for an Escape Artist with Separation Anxiety

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King

We got this grant report from Humane Society of Warren County in Front Royal, VA. Executive director Lavenda Denney tells us:

“A loving pit bull named King had once been adopted but then returned to the shelter because he was suffering from separation anxiety. During times of separation, he was chewing excessively and causing destruction in the home.

“He was also an escape artist. His first adoptive family lived in town limits and the neighbors were scared of King due to his breed. All of these behavioral issues combined forced the family to return King, although he had been wonderful with the family, very kind and loving, as long as he had adequate attention.

“Once returned, we placed King in a Thundershirt. He did very well in kennel, participated in shelter dog-play groups and off-site adoption events. King was even featured at a Chamber of Commerce after-hours event. He was given a second chance when a wonderful family came to adopt him.

King in his Thundershirt. “He was so excited to be adopted that he wouldn’t sit still,” Denney says.

“The family was made aware of his separation anxiety and escape issues. King was sent home with his Thundershirt in an effort to continue to reduce his stress level as he transitioned (once again) from the shelter to a new home environment. King’s new family was trained on the use of the Thundershirt and encouraged to purchase a shirt.”

 

 

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One Picture Saves a Life

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Bones, before (inset) and after

These days, most people who adopt find their pets on Petfinder before they meet them at a shelter. That means the pet’s photo plays a big part in making a first impression.

And wouldn’t it be great if all shelter pets could have their portraits taken by a bestselling, world-famous pet photographer? Like, say, Underwater Dogs author Seth Casteel?

Seth can’t photograph every homeless pet, but in our new program with The Animal Rescue Site and GreaterGood.org, One Picture Saves a Life, he’s traveling the country training shelter staff and volunteers to take pictures the way he does — pictures that show the pet’s true personality. And our friends at John Paul: Pet are helping to give those pets grooming makeovers so they can truly put their best faces forward.

One Picture Saves a Life kicks off at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, and will be followed by stops in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Charlotte, NC, and Puerto Rico.

To learn more, visit www.OnePictureSaves.com.

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A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge!

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Mary-Kate, an adoptable cat at The Long Island Feline Adoption Center, is healthier thanks to a vaccination grant from BIVI and the Petfinder Foundation.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI) and The Animal Rescue Site to help vaccinate 2 million shelter pets.

The initiative, called A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge!, is a three-part collaboration to help protect shelter pets against disease so that they are more likely to be adopted.

Nearly 8 million pets enter shelters each year, with about half of them making it out. A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge! will vaccinate 25 percent of the shelter population and hopefully help more animals be adopted.

Visitors to The Animal Rescue Site, a partner of GreaterGood.org, can click daily on the “Click Here — it’s FREE” button on the site. For every click, the funding from advertising sponsors helps pay for food and care for shelter animals.

The Petfinder Foundation works with shelters, rescue organizations and animal welfare organizations across the country to help ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home. Based on the number of clicks the campaign gets through The Animal Rescue Site, the Petfinder Foundation will work with local shelters to provide vaccination awards.

BIVI will provide the vaccines that will be granted to shelters to vaccinate both dogs and cats. “We are extremely excited about this partnership,” says Colin Meyers, BIVI’s executive director, pet division. “We believe prevention is the best medicine and that every dog and cat deserves to be protected against disease.”

BIVI has already donated 13,500 doses of vaccine to help pets displaced by Superstorm Sandy. Working with the Petfinder Foundation, more than 13,000 pets were vaccinated due to this effort, and BIVI hopes A Shot at Life … Join the 2 Million Pet Challenge! will continue to help more animals be vaccinated.

“Imagine 2 million animals being vaccinated just because people went to The Animal Rescue Site and clicked on our sponsorship ad,” says Meyers. “It is truly amazing what we can do if we work together, and I look forward to the day we vaccinate that two-millionth pet.”

“The Animal Rescue site is proud to have Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., as a partner,” says Liz Baker, executive director of GreaterGood.org. “We believe together we can give shelter pets a better chance of finding homes by keeping them healthy with vaccinations.”

“Our mission is to ensure no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a home,” says Petfinder Foundation executive director Lisa Robinson. “Providing good health is one of the biggest steps in helping animals find good homes. BIVI is providing that through preventive health.”

To help donate to the challenge and for information on how the challenge is progressing, visit www.TheAnimalRescueSite.com/AShotAtLife.

If you are with a Petfinder shelter or rescue group and would like to apply for a vaccination grant, click here.

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Kitten Thrown from a Car Finds Love

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Slick

We received this grant report from Cyndi Dill at HELP Humane Society in Belton, MO, which received a Shelter+ Challenge grant from the Petfinder Foundation and The Animal Rescue Site.

Slick and his new best friend.

“Slick was brought into our vet clinic right at closing time on a Saturday afternoon. A Good Samaritan had seen the kitten get tossed from a car right in front of her. She stopped to help the kitten but could not afford to have his injuries treated. Her vet contacted us about taking over his care and we were happy to be able to help him.

“Our vets were not sure he would survive — he had many injuries and a hairline fracture on one of this back legs. He did survive and is now in a family where they can’t imagine life without him. Their little girl dresses him up. He is now a year old. Slick loves his little girl.

“In addition, we were able to purchase 30 feline leukemia/FIV combo tests at $813.60. Each and every cat that comes into our shelter must be tested, and the test is not cheap. We were so happy to be able to purchase these with a portion of your grant!”

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Animal Rescue Site’s Shelter+ Challenge. Your donations enable us to help shelters and rescue groups help more pets like Slick.

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How Did Five ‘Hard-to-Place’ Dogs Find Homes?

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Dart was adopted thanks to a grant from the Petfinder Foundation and Orvis.

We received this grant report from Peg Zappen at Coulee Region Humane Society in Onalaska, WI. The shelter received a grant from the Petfinder Foundation and Orvis, which for the second year in a row is matching your donations to the Petfinder Foundation dollar-for-dollar up to $30,000. (Donate now and double your impact!)

Choodle

“Several dogs with special needs got boosts toward adoptability. We used grant funds for extra veterinary care that removed obstacles to adoption for these dogs.

Dart is a 6-year-old male pug cross who is very social, loves to give kisses and had very bad breath. His teeth were so bad that adopters were reluctant to look at him very seriously. Thanks to you, lucky Dart got his very bad teeth cleaned, a tooth extracted and was neutered. He now has a sweet smile and has been adopted.

“Choodle is a male poodle/Chihuahua cross who loves to be dressed in sweaters and cuddled but sadly suffered from bad teeth and very bad breath. Choodle also benefited from having his teeth cleaned and needed dental extraction completed and was neutered. He became much more appealing and is now in his forever home.

Wyatt

“Wyatt is a male redbone coonhound — a common dog in this part of the country — surrendered because he was missing a foot. Wyatt was neutered, which is just what it took to make it easier to place him. He is now living in a coonhound-loving home.

“Sweet Maggie is an 8-year-old beagle with too many strikes against her, including epilepsy. Thanks to you, she had seven teeth extracted, improving her prospects for long-term good health. An adopter with experience with an epileptic dog saw her, saw the work that had been done for her and wanted to keep her run of good luck going by taking her home forever.

“Pee Wee is a charming, snuggly Chihuahua mix who was surrendered to us by a man who was devastated because he had accidentally hurt this dog. This gentleman was dog-sitting Pee Wee for a friend and accidentally stepped on Pee Wee’s leg and broke it. The man had dogs of his own and was not accustomed to having a small dog underfoot. He offered to pay for half of the veterinary care for Pee Wee, but the owner said Pee Wee was not worth spending money on and wouldn’t take him back. Our gentleman already had all the dogs he could manage, could not truly afford any vet care, and brought Pee Wee to us.

Maggie

“We turned to the Petfinder Foundation’s Orvis grant funds for help. A local vet x-rayed Pee Wee’s leg, found a fracture that required surgery and performed the surgery for less than $250. A vet tech is providing foster care until Pee Wee can be safely adopted out.

“These five dogs would not be in such good shape, with such good fortune and hope, without you. Thank you so very much.”

Donate today and Orvis will match your gift to help more dogs like these find forever homes!

 

 

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Cats in Long Island are Healthier Thanks to Our Grant

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Mary-Kate with her vaccines.

We received this email from Lisa Napoli, shelter manager at The Long Island Feline Adoption Center in Smithtown, NY. LIFAC received a grant from the Petfinder and Boehringer Ingelheim to replace vaccines that had been destroyed during Hurricane Sandy.

“On behalf of the Long Island Feline Adoption Center, I would like to take this opportunity to thank BI and the Petfinder Foundation for awarding us this vaccination grant.

“During the storm our facility lost power, destroying the vaccines we had for our animals. These vaccines can be costly and replacing them ourselves would have been a hardship that we would have otherwise been forced to endure on our own.

“As a rescue, we know that every penny counts, so we are extremely thankful for the assistance we received.

Baby with her vaccines.

“Here are a few pictures of our cats waiting to receive their vaccines. The brown tabby is Baby, who has been at the adoption center for a few years now. She stays in the office and greets everyone who comes into our adoption center.

“The second picture is of a tabby-and-white cat named Mary-Kate. She can be shy at times but is very sweet. She is a beautiful kitty and is waiting for her perfect home.

“Thanks again for helping us in our time of need. These vaccines will be of great benefit to all of our cats and kittens here at the shelter. Now we can focus all of our efforts on getting them each good homes.”

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A Shelter Renovation is the Key to Getting Pets Adopted

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The Petfinder Foundation‘s program assistant and resident photographer-videographer, Brody Anderson, spent last week in Tavares, FL, documenting Rescue U  ‘s renovation of Lake County Animal Services. He sent back this report:

This cat at Lake County Animal Services in Tavares, FL, will enjoy a new outdoor enclosure.

“I was fortunate enough to be a part of Rescue U’s January project at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in Indian Trail, NC, so I thought I had a good idea of what I would witness at the Tavares build. The shelter would undergo a series of improvements with the intention of enriching the lives of the pets living there. Happy, healthy pets have a much better chance of finding forever homes.

“During the course of my visit, I had the opportunity to speak with the shelter’s animal services director, Marjorie Boyd. As our conversation progressed, I began to truly understand the impact the project would have for the shelter’s pets.

Zeus (left) and his sister Princess were both adopted during the Rescue U renovation.

“Marjorie was very excited about the new meet-and-greet yard. Families will now have a chance to spend quality time with the dogs, in the sun and away from the noisy kennel environment. With their stress levels lowered, each dog will have the chance to impress adopters. The majority of the shelter dogs were well-behaved, and many knew tricks. Playing a quick game of fetch or demonstrating sit-and-stay skills could be a shelter dog’s ticket to scoring a forever home.

“Being a big fan of cats, I was dismayed to hear how many at the shelter are euthanized each year. At first glance, many cats can seem shy and distant. This can be a turnoff for families looking for a household pet. Marjorie hopes the new outdoor cat enclosures and the new playroom will go a long way toward changing this perception. She works diligently to promote cat adoption and she’s convinced these new areas will have a positive effect.

“After my discussion with Marjorie, I wandered through the kennel corridors with my camera. I came across Zeus and Princess, brother and sister Pit Bull mixes. It was sad seeming them behind the chain-link kennel gates, but thanks to your generous donations, they got the chance to run and play in the meet-and-greet yard. And sure enough, both were adopted while I was in Florida.”

Your donation to the Petfinder Foundation will help us renovate more shelters and give even more homeless pets a better quality of life and greater chance at finding forever homes.

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When You Give to Us, Where Does Your Money Go?

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Second Chance Rescue used our grant to buy 14 extra-large dog crates so it could save dogs like Sprokett, who’d been scheduled for euthanasia at a shelter. “He’s now very happy in a wonderful foster home!” says Second Chance’s Debi Root. “Thank goodness we had the room (and the crate) to take him in before his time was up — he’s one terrific boy!”

Emily Fromm, Chief Development Officer

Once in a while someone will write to me and ask, “If I donate to you, how much of my money will go to actually helping pets?”

This is a question I’m always happy to answer, because it gives me a chance to show off the fact that the Petfinder Foundation does great work at very little administrative expense. It’s a question everyone should ask before giving to charity, and I’m going to tell you how to find the answer in our Form 990, the return we file each year with the IRS. You can follow the same steps with any organization’s 990 (many make theirs available on their websites, or you can use independent watchdog group Charity Navigator’s 990 finder).

You can find our 990s from 2010 through 2014 on our Financials page, or open our 990 for 2014 by clicking here.

On our 990 for 2014, go to p. 10, the Statement of Functional Expenses. Here’s where you can see how we spent our money in 2014. Our total expenses, at the bottom of column A, were $1,315,071. Of that total, $1,193,501, or 91%, went to program service expenses — that is, the programs that help homeless pets.

You’ll also see that we spent $51,037 (3.8%) on management and general expenses and $70,533 (5.4%) on fundraising. So …. is that good? Well, according to Charity Navigator, “the most efficient charities spend 75% or more of their budget on their programs and services and less than 25% on fundraising and administrative fees.” So with 91% of our budget going to programs and services, we are really efficient by the highest independent standards.

Trinity had been in constant pain from a botched declaw. With our grant, CATS Cradle got her surgery to relieve her suffering.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. We’ve been reviewed by the three major independent watchdog organizations: the Better Business Bureau (we have an A+ rating), Charity Navigator (we have four out of four stars) and GuideStar (we have five out of five stars).

One thing we don’t spend our money on: for-profit telemarketing firms. You may have read some of the recent exposés about these companies and the huge percentage of donors’ money that they keep for themselves.

If you ever receive a call from the Petfinder Foundation, I can promise you it will be from me or another member of our three-person staff. We never have, and never will, hire a telemarketing firm, nor do we purchase mailing lists.

Back to our programs and services. We give grants to the adoption groups that post their pets on Petfinder.com — i.e., the overwhelming majority of shelters and rescue groups in North America. Our grants are designed to help groups find homes for their adoptable pets, prepare for and recover from natural disasters, and become more sustainable.

An organization must apply for a grant in order to receive funds. Some of our grant programs include emergency medical, disaster recovery, vaccination, transport (moving pets from crowded shelters to regions where they are more likely to find homes) and Rescue U (volunteers renovate dilapidated or disaster-damaged shelters). We also give grants for care and feeding, spay/neuter and general operations.

But all our grants are designed with one ultimate goal in mind: preventing the euthanasia of adoptable pets. That means we do whatever it takes to help shelters and rescue groups keep the pets in their care physically and mentally healthy, and available to adopters who will give them loving forever homes.

Charitable giving is a great way to have an impact and receive a tax deduction. I hope this post has answered any questions you may have had about giving to us. If it hasn’t, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at emily@petfinderfoundation.com. You can also learn more about us by exploring our website, following us on Facebook or signing up for our monthly newsletter. Thank you for everything you do to help homeless pets!

Other resources:

Real Simple: What to Consider When Making Charitable Donations

Charity Navigator: Top 10 Best Practices of Savvy Donors

Charity Navigator: Evaluating Charities Not Currently Rated by Charity Navigator

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Betsy’s Story

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Betsy

Teresa Calafut of Uniondale, PA, is one of the many generous donors who gave to the Petfinder Foundation through Orvis, which all this year has been matching donations dollar-for-dollar (learn more or donate now).

Nearly everyone who gives to the Petfinder Foundation has a deeply personal reason for doing so, and when we learned that Teresa had donated part of the settlement she’d received after her dog Betsy was shot by a hunter, we felt she deserved to tell her story — both as a cautionary tale to fellow pet parents and as a way to honor Betsy’s memory.

I asked Teresa what advice she would offer our readers to help them avoid a similar tragedy. “Remember that there is always the possibility that a hunter is near where you and your dog are hiking,” she said. “Hunting regulations are different in each state, and you need to know what they are for yours. In Pennsylvania, coyotes can be shot any day of the year so there is always a risk. But most of the hunting takes place in the fall; I don’t take the dogs anywhere from September to January unless hunting is prohibited, and they always wear bright orange jackets (from the Orvis catalog). And be aware that hunting is allowed in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect, like state parks in Pennsylvania.”

Here is Betsy’s story in Teresa’s own words:

Betsy with her Frisbee

Betsy’s adoption and personality

Betsy was a collie mix; she looked like she was part collie, part golden retriever with other breeds mixed in. She was born in March 2005 in North Carolina and she and her brother were rescued from a shelter when they were very young.

I started looking for a dog about that time; I’d had cats for over 20 years but had not had a dog as an adult. I wanted a puppy whom I could raise and be with for many years, through her adulthood and old age. I was kind of looking for a collie-type dog since that is what we had growing up, a mutt who needed a home. A friend at work told me about Petfinder.com, where I found Chicklet, soon to be named Betsy.

When Betsy was 3 months old, the rescue group brought her and a bunch of other dogs up to a rest stop in Carlisle, PA, just south of Harrisburg, and I made the three-hour drive to get her. After I paid the balance of her adoption fee, the rescue person put little Betsy into my arms and I had a dog, a little ball of fluff who just wanted to sit on my lap. I drove the whole way home with her on my lap, then sat on the porch and carried her around the house. She must have been tired and stressed out from the long ride. She slept a lot, then started looking around. Later in the day she helped me plant flowers by digging a hole and she found some sticks to chew and pull. I had prepared a place for her with a bed, toys and water, but she was only interested in following me around.

She grew. I’d had in mind a medium-sized dog, but Betsy had big paws and grew into them, to be about 50 lbs. She was light brown, with some white on her chest, paws and rump and some black on her tail. She was very energetic and a very picky eater and was always thin. But she loved treats and the bones I made for her once a week. She had long fur with curly tendrils around her ears, a long collie nose, and one of her ears sometimes flopped over.

I took her most places with me: to the grocery store, visiting friends and relatives, for ice cream, to dog classes at Petco. She liked to sit in the front seat and look out the window. In the grocery store parking lot, people would laugh at seeing her sitting in the driver’s seat staring straight ahead, as if she were driving. She liked to walk in her wading pool and would swim or walk in the water in ponds and streams. She liked to walk and sometimes sit in the mud; once she almost got stuck in quicksand. I tried to train her to sit in the canoe with me, but she kept jumping in the water and swimming alongside.

Betsy on the couch

She liked to sleep on the couch and on the bed. She got along well with the cats and liked to play with their toys sometimes. She loved their laser toy and would go crazy chasing it. And she really liked their cat food.

She liked to play with sticks and balls, especially fetch, and she liked to tear her toys apart and find the squeaker. But her favorite toy was a Frisbee. She was obsessed; she would play for hours and hours, bringing the Frisbee back and dropping it at someone’s feet; if they didn’t respond, she would nudge it with her nose and stare at it fixedly. She brought Frisbees to anyone who was around and took them for walks and in the car. I kept buying new ones as they were chewed up or disappeared and found a few Frisbees in the yard or field after she died.

We went for walks every day in the field and pasture behind my house. She wasn’t interested in the horses but did get sprayed by skunks a few times. Sometimes we would go for longer hikes in local parks; longer hikes tired her out and she slept a lot the next day, giving me a rest from being continually bumped with a Frisbee. We went camping and hiking in the Adirondack Park in New York; she seemed to enjoy seeing new places and things. Of course she always brought her Frisbee. She was a sweet dog, never ran off anywhere, and everybody always liked her.

Betsy’s last hike

On October 26, 2007, Betsy and I and a group of seven hikers were hiking near Slate Run in the Pine Creek area of central Pennsylvania. Betsy was glad to get out of the car and was running around exploring the woods near the trailhead. There were no signs near the trailhead except the trail sign, no warnings of possible hunters in the area. We started up the Pine Trail, a rugged, steep trail up Hemlock Mountain, then stopped for lunch once we reached the top. As usual, Betsy kept running around while everyone else rested, and I played tug and fetch with her with sticks. Then we started up again along the ridge of the mountain, on Big Trail Road, a grassy, little-used road. Betsy found a puddle and enjoyed walking in it. I waited for her but the others kept on, and she ran to take the lead again. If only she had stayed a minute longer in the puddle. I was in the back of the group.

Up ahead, Betsy stopped at an interesting smell and was there for what seemed like a few minutes. On our right was a wooded area and the steep slope of the mountain; on the left was a more gradual downward slope with an open, brushy hill. Where the hikers were, a large bush on the left prevented a view of the hill on the left, but Betsy, about 30 feet ahead, was in the open area.

It was fast. Someone in the front of the group said, “There’s a hunter,” and immediately I was past the bush to see a hunter aiming a long gun at my Betsy. He was wearing camouflage, without any noticeable orange or reflective wear. I screamed; people shouted, “Don’t shoot!” Then I heard a pop. Betsy was still standing; I thought maybe he missed, but then she took a few steps and fell over on the other side of the road in some grass and leaves. The hunter came over to look at her, I screamed at him to get away from her. He said he thought she was a coyote. We learned later that he was using a scope. He shot her from a distance of about 40 feet. Betsy was shot in the abdomen and back area on her right side. She was shot at about 1:30 p.m.

The hunter said he would go get his truck to take her to a vet and he left. We didn’t know if he would return or not. One of the hikers tried to call 911, but could not get cell reception. Someone started to make a litter from branches and jackets so we could carry her down. Two others bushwacked down through the woods to get help. Another hiker and I sat by Betsy, petting her and talking to her. I tried to stay calm. My life was falling apart.

The hunter came back up the road. The remaining hikers and I put Betsy in the back of the truck and climbed in the back. We drove to a tavern/campground where there were a lot other people around. A woman who said that she was a former army medic looked at Betsy and said that she did not think the wound was severe and applied pressure to Betsy’s wound. Betsy was bleeding onto the bed of the truck. The hunter called around for a vet and located one 30 miles away near Williamsport. The hunter and I went to the vet; the other hikers stayed at the tavern/campground. Two volunteered to drive my car to the vet’s office.

Someone moved Betsy to the floor of the cab of the truck and I sat on the seat above her. The hunter drove fast down the winding road, racing toward the vet, who was waiting outside to meet us. The hunter and the vet carried Betsy inside. There was a trail of blood; there was blood all over. The vet did x-rays and examined her, and then came to talk to me. He said that Betsy had internal bleeding, and that the bullet had fragmented into pieces inside of Betsy. The vet recommended surgery to remove the bullet fragments. The surgery began at 4:30 p.m. and I waited alone in the waiting room until the two hikers who brought my car arrived. They waited with me in the waiting room.

When the surgery was completed, the vet came out and told us that he had removed 14 inches of Betsy’s lower colon and stitched up other sections of her colon. The 14-inch piece was too damaged to save. He removed as many bullet fragments as he could, but couldn’t get them all. Betsy’s stomach also had holes in it. She’d lost a lot of blood; they had to give her three pints. From losing so much blood, her core temperature had dropped and they had her on a heating pad to warm her up again. They had one tube draining from her stomach and another tube draining from her side. He said the first 12 hours were going to be the hardest time for her.

I wanted to stay overnight with Betsy, but the vet told me I couldn’t. Instead, I stayed overnight at a local hotel. In the morning, I called the vet and heard that Betsy had died at 2:00 a.m., in her sleep.

The shooting was investigated by the chief ranger for Tiadaghton State Forest and the report transferred to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The hunter was to be cited for shooting on or across a highway, shooting at game near a road ($100-300 fine), damage to property (Betsy, a fine of $75-200), and damages ($1,700 veterinary bill). The hunter lost his license for one year.

I had a lot of trouble dealing with the representative from the game commission; I got the impression the game commission existed only to protect hunters. The representative I dealt with was difficult to contact; he said he was busy with bear season. He put me off when I requested copies of statements made by other hikers, a copy of the citation or his report of “damage by gunfire.” He never sent them, and kept losing the fax I sent him of the veterinary bill. I got the impression he knew the hunter, and I was dissatisfied with the penalties for killing Betsy. Also I hoped that a court case would set some sort of precedent someone could use in the future so that eventually hunting penalties would be more in line with the crimes committed.

I had trouble finding a lawyer — most said you could only sue for the price of the “property” –- but finally found someone who would sue for damages and infliction of emotional distress. The legal process was slow and stressful, with questionnaires, depositions, evaluations, pretrial meetings, jury selection and finally a settlement meeting. The hunter had hunting insurance and was represented by a team of lawyers from a Philadelphia firm. I took the settlement, not knowing at the time that a settlement could not be cited in a future brief.

I didn’t want the money from the settlement and decided to donate it to pet charities. I had planned to donate to the Petfinder Foundation, and when Orvis said it would match a donation, I sent in a check.

Gracie

Gracie and Millie

I was devastated after Betsy died. It was hard to get up in the morning and get through the day. An animal communicator I contacted said there was a dog out there who needed me and Betsy would send me a dog, a collie with a white blaze down her nose and white under her chin and on her chest and belly.

I started looking at the dogs who needed homes on Petfinder and thought I would like to adopt two dogs someday, since two dogs was the most I thought I could handle, and young or older dogs and not puppies, since puppies find homes more easily. After a few weeks of looking, I found myself drawn to a collie mix at Collie Concern Rescue in Tennessee. I printed out her picture and kept looking at it several times during the day. Every morning I would look her up on Petfinder. Finally one day I called about her and found out she was born in March 2007, had been rescued from a shelter in August, and was now in foster care. I went through the application process and a few weeks later, just before the holidays, I drove down to Tennessee between snow and ice storms to bring her home with me. She was smaller than Betsy, about 35 lbs., with orange-brown fur, white on her chest, stomach and tail, and with a white blaze down her nose.

Gracie was a happy dog but she had lived with other dogs in her foster home and I thought she would like another dog in the family. In the spring I contacted Collie Concern Rescue and in July I adopted a sable and white rough collie who had been found wandering near someone’s home. They thought she was a young dog, a few years old. I picked her up in Allentown, PA, this time, meeting the dog transport from Tennessee there at 4:00 in the morning. Gracie and Millie got along really well right from the start, and both seemed to like having another dog around.

Gracie and Millie go for car rides, walks and hikes and play together or with their friends. Gracie is 5 this year and Millie maybe around 7 years old. Gracie is a high-energy dog, high-strung and bouncy, and Millie is calm and serene. They are my best friends and I hope we have many more years together.

Teresa with Gracie (left) and Millie

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