Although we are all deeply saddened by the loss of a treasured pet and family member, Poe, we also want to acknowledge how happy we all are that we got to know him, and have him in our lives. Poe had a special spirit; instantly people gravitated towards him. He was the most photogenic cat, and his photos and silly memes were enjoyed by many. Poe was well taken care of by his pet parents and loved by his extended family and friends. He is greatly missed, but we all wish him a great journey filled with uninterrupted siestas, soft food, cat treats and playing with his adopted brother Peanut and cousin Mittens who crossed over before him. Thank you Poe for all the smiles, cuddles and laughs you gave all of us…until we meet again.–Lisa Nowaczyk
Posts By: Emily Fromm
We asked the shelters and rescue groups that received grants from the Petfinder Foundation this year to send us their favorite rescued-pet transformations of 2016.
The response was overwhelming. These are just a few of the hundreds we received.
Many of these images are graphic. But these are the realities that animal rescuers face on a daily basis. Thank you to the pet rescuers who work around the clock to save these vulnerable pets.
The Most Amazing Transformations of 2015:
The Most Amazing Transformations of 2014:
Nathan was a lover. He loved playing tag, he loved car rides, and he loved going for long walks in whatever direction his nose took him. But his favorite thing to love was being touched. If your hand was anywhere near where his head could be, he’d find a way to make it happen. It didn’t matter who you were, so long as you had a hand (or a foot, if you were relaxing) for him to stand under. Nathan was only nine years old when we lost him to lymphoma, but we will never forget his gentle soul, his sweet eyes, and his soft, soft fur. Thanks for everything, old friend — sweet baby to the end.–Heather Acosta
Zack was the best of companions and a credit to his hybrid breeding … a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix that I liked to call a “Jack Wah-Wah.” In August of 2015, at the age of 11, he valiantly fought off a coyote, only to succumb to his wounds days later. Fierce, passionate dog, fiercely missed.–Bonnie Jackson
October is national Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month and some quilt-industry professionals are partnering with the Petfinder Foundation to create awareness of shelter dogs (and cats) who need “furrever” homes. It is an unusual combination, but one that is working beautifully to help our furry friends.
These quilt-industry professionals are animal lovers and have partnered together to help shelter animals in ways that are new and unique. So join us in the Piece for Shelter Pets Blog Hop and see how we are helping and how you can help.
The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) — an international online-only publication — partnered with the Petfinder Foundation to form the TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team after Hurricane Sandy. The two organizations help animal shelters affected by disasters by sending Kennel Quilts for the displaced animals.
Sewing essentials are needed for Kennel Quilts, and Aurifil Threads, Bernina USA, Island Batik Fabrics, Quilty Box and Benartex Fabrics have joined the TQPM Kennel Quilt effort to help the Petfinder Foundation.
Aurifil Threads created a Small Kennel Quilt Thread Kit last year and will be introducing two more thread collections at the International Quilt Market in Houston this month. A portion of sales goes to the Petfinder Foundation.
Bernina of America created a special-edition Best Friends sewing machine this year featuring paw prints. They donated $30,000 to the Petfinder Foundation from the sales of the machine.
Island Batik is introducing two new animal fabric lines at International Quilt Market. A portion of sales will go to the Petfinder Foundation.
Quilty Box will offer special TQPM Kennel Quilt boxes and the Petfinder Foundation will be the recipient of a portion of their sales.
Benartex will introduce new fabrics at International Quilt Market which will benefit the Petfinder Foundation.
These quilt-industry professionals are animal lovers and have partnered together to help shelter animals in ways that are new and unique. It is a way to join a larger effort to help our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. We are reaching out to our quilting friends to ask for support and help for our furry friends.
There are so many shelter animals who need homes. This is a great time to check with your local shelter for your “furrever” friend — or you can check out Petfinder.com. However, if you can’t adopt at this time, there are numerous other ways to help and that will be shared on all our blogs. Please join us in this effort and remember to adopt — don’t shop!
We hope you will read all the stories from the different companies.
Petfinder 20th Anniversary Celebration
For the past 20 years, Petfinder has helped 25 million pets find their families through adoption. They wanted to use this moment to celebrate their incredible legacy with their shelter and rescue-group members while inspiring a new generation of pet lovers, just like you. They created a video and pledged to donate $250,000 to the Petfinder Foundation if the video reached 1.25 million views by Oct. 24, 2016. Thanks to the dedication and inspired help of the masses, they have already reached their goal! The donated funds will reward 25 shelter and rescue-group members with $10,000 grants, allowing them to keep doing the amazing work that they do!
Enter to Win a Prize Package from All Five Sponsors!
Visit each sponsor and then enter to win here! Giveaway runs through Tuesday, Oct. 25. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 26.
1 Fat Quarter Bundle of Island Batik’s Fifi & Fido
1 LG Fifi & Fido Aurifil Thread Collection
1 Subscription to Quilt Pattern Magazine
One 3-month Subscription to Quilty Box
One Petfinder Foundation Bundle (Petfinder Foundation t-shirt, car cling and wristband)
One Joey the Shop Dog Bundle (fabric, a wristband, a button, and a window decal)
1 Fat Quarter Bundle of Island Batik’s Happy Hounds
1 LG Happy Hounds Aurifil Thread Collection
1 Subscription to Quilt Pattern Magazine
One Petfinder Foundation Bundle (Petfinder Foundation t-shirt, car cling and wristband)
One Joey the Shop Dog Bundle (fabric, a wristband, a button, and a window decal)
In 2015, the Petfinder Foundation gave St. Louis’s APA Adoption Center, formerly known as the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, a $10,000 grant to support its Pet Transfer Program, which pulls pets at risk of euthanasia from nearby urban, suburban and rural shelters and brings them to its own state-of-the-art facility, where those pets have a greater chance of being adopted.
We first learned about the program in 2014 when we received this grant report. We’d given APA a $1,000 grant to promote dog adoptions; it had applied those funds toward the Pet Transfer Program and described the program, and how it had saved a dog named Sailor, in its report.
We were impressed by APA’s spirit of cooperation with its transfer partners and its staff’s willingness to use a variety of tools to get exposure for its adoptable pets, including Facebook, Instagram, mobile adoption events, Sunday-brunch fundraisers, corporate PetCare Pride Days, Pet of the Week features on local TV programs and photo ops with St. Louis Cardinals players.
The Petfinder Foundation gave APA the $10,000 grant to cover the Transfer Program’s expenses for 2015, with the provisos that APA use that time to make the program self-sustaining (covering the cost of caring for transfer animals through adoption fees and other revenue generators) and that, at the end of the year, it put together a best-practices document so that other shelters could replicate the program’s success.
Here are those best practices, from APA Development Associate Stacey Switzer:
The APA Adoption Center has worked with our local animal control for a number of years, but our official Pet Transfer Program started in 2014. In 2015 we had a total of 19 partners and transferred 1,024 animals to our shelter.
Step 1: Build Trust
One major hurdle we faced from the beginning was that, while our live-release rate at the time was 91%, the APA is an open-admission shelter, not a no-kill shelter. (We currently have a live-release rate of 95% and our average length of stay is only seven days.) So when it came to adding new partners to transfer pets to us, we had to do some relationship-building.
The employee who founded our transfer program had to start with a door-to-door approach, talking to one person at a time. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and once we had a few key partners on board, they were able to help us spread the word. It was important to talk about our great adoption statistics and the fact that we have an average of 2,000 people walking through our Adoption Center each month. This was an eye-opener to many rescue groups whose adoptable pets are housed in foster homes. There is simply no way for those pets to get as many looks when they’re in a home as they do in our Adoption Center.
The fact that we do euthanize still made some potential partners nervous. To get over this hurdle, we offered guaranteed adoption or the option to return the pet. If for some reason an animal ends up not being an adoption candidate, we always provide our transfer partner the opportunity to take the pet back. It is rare that this happens, but the guarantee offered the security that some of our partners needed to get on board.
Some rescue groups started by transferring just one or two dogs to the APA, I think to make sure we would hold up our end of the deal. Once they saw how quickly the pets were being adopted, they started transferring more to us at a time.
Step 2: Make it Easy for Your Partners
Some shelters in rural areas wanted to partner with us, but transportation was an issue. We approached some volunteers who did dog-walking and in-shelter work for us to see if they would be willing to put in some drive time for us. We were pleasantly surprised by the responses! It’s important to check with the volunteers that you already have. Ours were willing to do it — they’d just never been asked.
Step 3: Transfer in Pets You Really Can Place
Time is a valuable resource, so we have to be very clear about which pets we can and cannot place for adoption. In the beginning, we would transfer pets to the APA and then do heartworm tests after they were signed in. We typically will not place a heartworm-positive dog up for adoption, so we would then contact the partner organization to come pick the dog up. This was a waste of time for both us and our partner.
To solve this problem, if we are going to pick the animals up ourselves, we will heartworm-test before we bring the animal back to the shelter. We have even provided some rural shelters with heartworm tests so they can test dogs before they bring them to us.
We also have to be very clear that we do not place animals who show any signs of aggression or have a bite history. If a pet starts to display that behavior while in our care, we will call the rescue group and give them a reasonable amount of time to pick up the animal if they want to.
Finally, when selecting the dogs we transfer in, we consider the dogs we already have available for adoption in our shelter and try to bring in dogs who will round out our population. The transfer program has really helped the APA increase the variety of adoptable dogs in our shelter. We believe this is part of the reason we saw a 47% increase in adoptions between 2014 and 2015.
Step 4: Make Good Matches
Our adoption process includes a brief interview with potential adopters, followed by a meet-and-greet with the dog or cat. At the APA, we are especially proud of our adoption counselors. They do an amazing job of helping potential adopters pick the right pet for their family. They help make sure the family is selecting a dog that is the right breed, size, and energy level for the household.
For example, an elderly couple may not be the best fit for a 1-year-old dog who is not leashed-trained and who jumps on people. Our adoption counselors will help them choose a more-relaxed dog. In short, having a variety of breeds for potential adopters to choose from and well-trained adoption counselors are the keys to finding pets forever homes.
Step 5: Make it Pay for Itself
Grant funding is one of the reasons we can sustain the transfer program. Our adoption fees also recover some of the costs. Finally, we have found that collaboration is a wonderful thing that appeals to donors. It has been a great message for us to share with our donor base that in 2015 we gave 1,024 animals a second chance!
Thanks to your donations to our Disaster Fund, we’ve been rushing donations to shelters and rescue groups working to save pets from the historic flooding that devastated Louisiana on August 13, 2016.
Purrs of Hope Rescue
We sent a $1,000 grant to Purrs of Hope Rescue in Hammond, La. “We took in 41 cats from Tangi Humane Society, a local shelter that flooded,” President Angela Bourgeois tells us. “[In total,] we have taken in 64 cats and kittens impacted by the recent flood. Our total cats are [now] over 200.”
None of the new cats had any vetting. All needed to be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, combo-tested and given basic intake care, and some were sick and required immediate treatment. Thirty of them are receiving ringworm treatment; some are on antibiotics for upper-respiratory infections.
Among the cats taken in by the organization as a result of the flooding: A litter that fell through an attic roof and needed to be provided with a nursing mother, and another litter that had been without a mother for several days. This latter group of kittens were emaciated, flea- and worm-ridden and suffering from severe upper-respiratory infections; one (pictured) was injured and had to have his leg amputated. “We want to give a huge THANK YOU to the Petfinder Foundation for awarding us a grant that will help us provide the necessary vet care to these cats and kittens,” Bourgeois says.
Our $2,500 grant to Zeus’ Rescues in New Orleans provided medical treatment for animals who came from flooded shelters in the Baton Rouge area. “This grant helped our organization when we were in a really tight spot,” Volunteer Development Director Kellie Grengs says. “We had zero funds to support the medical care of 200+ animals that our small volunteer rescue brought in over the course of two weeks. The funds allowed us to quickly get medical attention to the neediest cases.”
Among those helped were Brody and Roger (above), who, along with about six other siblings/parents/aunts/uncles, were found trapped in a flooded trailer in Denham Springs. Other dogs in kennels in the yard had drowned and died. Brody and Roger were able to stay afloat inside the trailer that they had been locked in. Both dogs are being treated for severe skin issues and other medical problems related to floodwater exposure. Although they are shy, both are now wagging their tails and eager to please. They are currently in foster care and also available for adoption, and hoarding and animal-abuse charges are pending against their former owner.
Bark And Roll Rescue Companions
We also sent a $1,500 grant to Bark And Roll Rescue Companions in Baton Rouge, which provided care for multiple animals (a kitten found in the flood, a stranded fawn who was released back to its mother after the waters receded, and seven dogs suffering from flood-related illness and injuries) and also microchipped 75 dogs and cats living with their displaced owners in the Red Cross shelter (three of those dogs have since been separated from their owners and and then reunited with them thanks to the chips).
“We were also able to spay/neuter, vaccinate and prepare six dogs to be transported to Virginia to another rescue when their foster homes were flooded,” Bark And Roll President Dana Kahn says. “This grant also provided the financial assistance to board a couple of our dogs when their foster mom’s home was under four feet of water until safe housing could be obtained.”
Among the dogs helped by the grant was Sebastian (pictured), found sick, scared and severely matted after the floods. He had abrasions to his body as well as an upper-respiratory infection that required several rounds of antibiotics. “Due to the generosity of the disaster relief grant, we were able to quickly treat his infections and place him in our adoption program,” Kahn says. “He has since found his family, who adore him, and he has blossomed into the beloved family pet he was meant to be!”
Thank you for your generous donations, which allowed adoption groups to save these lives!
Kanelo jumped off the page at us. We had been discussing the possibility of rescuing a dog and were looking through the Petfinder site in January of 2014 to see who was out there. We knew almost immediately when we saw him that he was our boy.
He was a senior at just under 10 years old, his birthday coming up in about six months. We were told that he had been given up by a family who didn’t have time for him to the point that he had been ignored; the rescue told us that when they went to pick him up, he didn’t even lift his head off the floor; Kanelo was broken — not physically, but emotionally.
Within a matter of days of bringing him home, we could already see a change in him. He was engaged. He was happy. He spoke to us with his eyes and soon came to relish the idea that we were his new people and he mattered. We talked to him, and he listened. He followed us around the house, always wanting to be with his people. We took him places: down to the lake, in the truck even if we were just going to get a drive-thru coffee; he was part of the family and he knew it.
He was more than a little bit of a bed hog, accommodated by his own set of stairs to climb up and lay claim to the middle half of the bed. And he snored, sleeping the comfortable sleep of one who knows he’s safe.
Over the next two and a half years, we celebrated Christmases and birthdays (including his, of course, complete with specially crafted treats from a doggy bakery) and the annual opening of the pool. He won the “First in the Pool” trophy three springs running, not remotely seeming to care that the water temperature was in the low 50s — he just wanted to get in there.
In the late spring of 2016 leading up to his 12th birthday, he would occasionally get a little wobbly on his feet, but he was an old guy, so we didn’t really give it too much thought until Thursday, June 2 — two days before his birthday — when he stopped eating. We took him in to the vet the next day where they ran some bloodwork, and it was ultimately determined on Tuesday that he had spleen cancer, which is very aggressive and had spread rapidly. By that point he needed help to get his back end up off the floor, and as a dog who had never been much of a “cuddler,” allowed himself to be carried to the couch when he couldn’t quite make the trip from the back yard to the front room on his own.
On diagnosis, the vet had indicated that Kanelo was having a pretty difficult time and only had a few days left. It was by far the singularly most difficult decision we had to make, but the most selfish one for us not to make. We decided to take him home for one last night. Kanelo slept on the couch and we slept on the floor, spending the entire night by his side. In the morning, as a special breakfast treat, he gulped down a whole sausage breakfast sandwich in one bite; there was no way he was going to be dainty with that thing. We laughed and we told him what a good boy he was and as he wagged his tail, I swear he was smiling.
A little before noon on June 8, the vet arrived at the house with an assistant and, with many tears and hugs and kisses, we said goodbye to our big brown bear. He was gone so quickly and it took time to get our heads around the fact that he just wouldn’t be greeting us at the door any more.
We miss him terribly and still think and speak of him often. Within a few weeks of losing our boy, we starting talking about the idea and felt the best way we could honor his legacy would be to rescue another senior. We headed to Petfinder again and found Irma. Irma turned 9 in June and was rescued from a shelter in Ohio by the good people at Save Me Dog Rescue. She’s home with us now and is a very sweet, gentle girl. We know that she and Kanelo would have been the best of friends and that he fully approves. She is not a replacement for Kanelo; he was one like no other — he was one of one. Irma will help fill the hole left in our hearts, and while she is absolutely her own personality, she too is something of a bed hog …–Laura Warburton
As catastrophic flooding has devastated Louisiana, the Petfinder Foundation is rushing funds to the organizations working to save the region’s pets. These are the shelters we’ve sent grant money to already; we continue to send funds as groups contact us.
Bark and Roll Rescue Companions
The majority of the foster homes at this Baton Rouge rescue group were flooded, and some are currently under eight feet of water. The group was able to transfer some animals to a rescue in Virginia, but others are being boarded.
“We also took in four dogs and a kitten from the floods who are ill from being in the cold waters and will need ongoing care,” says founder Dana Kahn. “Our rescue has offered to provide microchips and free registration to all the pets of flood victims who have been displaced to ensure they can get their animals back if they are separated during this trying time.”
We sent Bark and Roll a $1,500 grant to help the organization cover veterinary expenses and meet its animals’ daily needs of enrichment, food and care.
Rescutopia’s Happy Tails Island
Savannah Brown, founder of the Baton Rouge cat-rescue group, tells us, “All of our foster homes are flooded and all pet supplies were destroyed. We need food, blankets, towels, crates, heartworm medications, flea preventative and anything else we can get.
“We focus on the East Baton Rouge and Livingston Parish Area; both areas have been 90 percent flooded. We have taken in several homeless pets who were evacuated. All of South Louisiana is completely devastated, as a flood like this has never occurred. The flooding is worse than Katrina. Our community is devastated.”
We sent Rescutopia $1,000, which will be used to pay for food, crates, pet supplies and any medical treatment that may be required.
The New Orleans shelter did not flood, but it has taken in more than 160 cats, kittens, dogs and puppies from shelters north of it that did — and many more are expected. Most of them have had minimal vaccinations and are not spayed or neutered; all will need to be altered and microchipped prior to being adopted at the reduced cost of $75 per animal.
Volunteer Kellie Grengs describes the desperate situation: “Shelter director Michelle Ingram and volunteers have driven in flood waters for the past four days to reach shelters that have taken on several feet of water. On Sunday, Aug. 14, Michelle pulled more than 60 animals from the Sorrento no-kill shelter and we expect more.
“Numerous shelters just a few miles north of us were impacted. One was overwhelmed by fast-rising flood waters and all they could do was open the kennels and let the dogs swim free so they didn’t drown. Rescue boats are in the process of saving human lives first and animals second. Michelle is on the scene pulling these animals and caring for them with a team of volunteers. Our shelter averages 400 adoptions annually; this will put a great strain on our already-limited resources, but we simply could not let these animals drown.”
We sent Zeus’ Rescues $2,500 to offset the costs of spaying and neutering the rescued pets. “Thank you so much!” Grengs says. “Last week was a whirl! We vetted 62 cats and one dog on Saturday afternoon alone and shipped 10,000 lbs. of dog/cat food and supplies to the flooded shelters. It was wild, to say the least. So many of the wonderful animals are in foster and will be getting adopted soon!”
Animal Aid for Vermilion Area
“Vermilion Parish and surrounding areas have been devastated by flooding,” says Roxanne Bayard, vice president of the Abbeville, La., shelter. “Many animals have drowned and waters continue to rise. We are having to evacuate homes with pets as well as the shelter to avoid animals drowning. We need to purchase crates, leashes, collars, cleaning supplies, new bedding, fans, litter, litter boxes and food. Many animals need emergency vetting due to injuries sustained in the flooding.” We sent $2,500 to help with these expenses.
Shelters and rescue groups are increasingly making the most of technology to save homeless pets. That’s why we’ve been giving grants designed to help them do just that. Here are a few examples of pets saved by our tech grants:
A volunteer for Community Concern for Cats in Walnut Creek, Calif., witnessed this tiny 6-month-old kitten being thrown out the window of a moving car. Once safe in the care of CC4C, he was given medical care, neutered and showered with love. Despite his rough start, he was very friendly, and was quickly adopted by an adoring couple at one of the group’s pet-store adoption sites. His adoption was expedited by one of the three wireless credit-card terminals CC4C had purchased with our technology grant. The terminals allow volunteers to spend less time processing payments and more time rescuing cats like Batman. Read more about how our grant helped cats like him.
When Donna came to Mutt Scouts in San Diego, she was completely hairless and covered in sores from severe mange. She had been chained up and left for dead as a young pup. Mutt Scouts spend months nursing her back to health — but still, as a “big black dog,” she was overlooked by adopters. Then, Mutt Scouts purchased a new camera with funds from our technology grant. Donna was the first dog they photographed with it. She was soon adopted by a woman who loves her — and who says it was Donna’s smile in her online photo that caught her eye. Read about more dogs helped by our grant to Mutt Scouts.
Mike B., a stray cat, was suffering from serious bite wounds to his face when he was rescued by the Tree House Humane Society in Chicago. He also had lesions on his legs, a severe upper respiratory infection and a mass on his tongue, and tested positive for FIV. Shelter staff were not sure whether Mike would survive, but they gave him the medical care he needed and, miraculously, he recovered. Soon, his joyful personality emerged, and he was adopted. He now spends his time playing with his fellow FIV+ rescue cat, Chuck. Mike B. was featured in a video made with help from our technology grant, which funded equipment to help promote more special-needs cats like him. Find out more about this grant.
Animal cruelty convictions and stiff penalties have historically been hard to come by in Fulton County, Ga. But thanks to equipment purchased with funds from our technology grant to LifeLine Animal Project in Atlanta, including digital cameras and GoPro video cameras, those who abuse pets like Sunshine are being brought to justice. Sunshine was found with a collar embedded so deeply in her neck, it had to be surgically removed. Field officers were able to document her condition and present the evidence at trial, and her former owner was convicted and sentenced to 60 days in jail. Sunshine recovered and has been adopted! Read her story.