Petfinder Foundation News

Helping Save 367 Dogs from Fighting Ring


One of the 367 dogs rescued from a multistate dog-fighting ring (Photo: ASPCA)

When 367 dogs were rescued from a multistate dog-fighting ring last month, a Petfinder Foundation-funded truck and trailer helped the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and other agencies save their lives.

“We couldn’t have done it without that equipment,” Shannon Walajtys, IFAW’s animal rescue program manager for disaster response, tells us.

The Petfinder Foundation granted the truck and trailer to IFAW in 2007, just after Hurricane Katrina struck.

IFAW Animal Rescue Officer Jennifer Gardner says the truck proved essential when HSUS asked IFAW to travel from Cape Cod, Mass., to Georgia to assist with the dog-fighting bust.

“The truck was one of three animal-rescue rigs that were integral in our support of HSUS,” Gardner says.


The rescued dogs had been subjected to extreme heat without fresh water or food. (Photo: ASPCA)

The truck and 36-foot trailer were loaded with field equipment and also offered a refuge for first responders. “It was that go-to vehicle that had the first-aid kits, the coolers with water and Gatorade, the fruits and vegetables we brought for responders. It was the place for people to take a five-minute break when they needed to after being on the crime scene,” Walajtys says.

Walajtys says the 367 seized dogs have been moved to temporary shelters and that IFAW will continue to assist HSUS and the ASPCA as needed on the case. Meanwhile, the Petfinder Foundation’s truck and trailer have moved on to their next assignment with IFAW.

“It’s been demobilized and sent to Mississippi,” Gardner says, “so it can be ready and staged during the hurricane season.”


The Petfinder Foundation truck is ready for its next lifesaving IFAW assignment. (Photo: IFAW)


Little Boy Finds a New Home Thanks to Our SNAP-X Grant

Little Boy

Little Boy

Cheryl Conway from Aurora Animal Shelter in Aurora, Col., which received our SNAP-X spay/neuter grant, shared with us how one of the pets who benefited from the grant, a cat named Little Boy, found his new home, as told to her by his adopters:

“Our new little boy caught my heart with his sweet little face. He was eager to be petted and climbed into my arms the moment I opened his cage. The way he grabbed my fingers and pulled them to kiss them was the final straw. He snuggled in my arms, purring and content, and I was sold.

Vicki Medina and her new “Little Boy”

Adopter Vicki Medina and Little Boy

“We came back to visit him for three days. He came home with us the third day. We are happy to have him join our family!”



Vet Gives Two Shelter Dogs ‘A Shot at Life’

Wrangler and Marian

BIVI veterinarian Marian Little with Wrangler on her wedding day

Not only is Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), a major partner in our Shot At Life campaign to vaccinate 2 million homeless pets — many of its staff members are adoption advocates who found their best friends on Petfinder. That includes veterinarian Marian Little.

Little, who works for BIVI’s Equine Professional Services division in Lexington, Ky., tells us how she came across her dog Wrangler’s photo in 2006 as she was searching for a running buddy from Roane County Animal Shelter in Rockwood, Tenn.

“I was attracted to his photo because he seemed so incredibly cute, yet desperately afraid and disheveled,” she says. “He looked like a mess in his photo, which was out of focus and likely taken when he was cornered in his dog run.”

Little looked past Wrangler’s unflattering photo and went to meet him. (Our One Picture Saves a Life grant program, which, like A Shot At Life, is supported by The Animal Rescue Site, teaches shelter and rescue group staff and volunteers to take terrific photos, so that adopters like Little are smitten right away.)

Wrangler is living the good life.

After being abandoned at a shelter, Wrangler lives the good life today.

Little was instantly smitten with Wrangler, who was about 8-10 months old. They’ve been together ever since, through milestones such as surgeries (Wrangler needed his knees repaired) and Little’s wedding.

Adopting Wrangler turned Little into a dedicated proponent for adoption.

“One decision. One dog. One chance,” she says. “For Wrangler, my decision to adopt meant a chance at everything he’d never known — a stable home, family, and a long happy life he wouldn’t have had otherwise. And for me, the decision to adopt him has meant the world. Every day since, he rewards me with his love, companionship, and unabashed devotion, and he adds a brilliant color to my life that I couldn’t imagine not seeing.”

Wrangler also inspired Little to welcome Gringo, another shelter dog, into her family.

“I thought Wrangler needed a buddy, being alone while I worked during the day,” she says. “Gringo was also on Petfinder — adopted, returned, reposted — and then I found him and adopted him, sight-unseen.

“He’s an odd little dog. But when I brought Gringo home, there was no snarling or growling — he and Wrangler were immediate friends.”

Wrangler (left) and Gringo

Today, Little advocates for adoption with her friends, family and colleagues at BIVI. And her employer has followed her lead by working with us to send weekly all-staff e-mails about adoptable pets.

“Right now, thousands of dogs of every breed, size, color, gender, and personality sit in shelters desperately awaiting just one single chance at a future, just one person who chooses to visit that day and happens to look their way,” Little says. “There’s no reason to buy a dog when every one of those lives, and undoubtedly your own, can be transformed by the single decision to visit a shelter. So make one decision. Pick one dog. Give that one a shot at life. It’s that simple to me.”

Ready to adopt? Look on Petfinder for your new best friend.

Donate to help us save homeless pets across North America, and Orvis will match your gift!



We’re Helping Animal Victims of California Wildfire

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.”


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!



SNAP-X Grants Save Large-Breed Dogs Nationwide


Dixie with a favorite toy

Here are updates from three shelters who received our SNAP-X spay/neuter grants.

Dixie, a pit pull mix in Florida
Sarah Humlie, managing director of the Humane Society of Pensacola, tells us about a timid pit mix:

“We operate a no-kill shelter in an area where the county animal shelter euthanizes approximately 3,000 dogs every year. A large portion of those dogs are bully breeds and pit mixes, due to the difficulty of finding suitable adoptable homes for those breeds. With the help of this grant, we were able to transfer two pit-mix mothers, with their litters of puppies (14 total!), from the county shelter to our facility, where they were able to receive the time they needed to wean their puppies and be adopted into loving homes.

“One of the mothers, Dixie, was a very timid pit bull-Lab mix. When she first arrived at the Humane Society, she wouldn’t walk on a leash at all, only lie down, and she had to be carried everywhere in order to go the bathroom, play in the yard, or go to the vet. At the time of transfer, she was very pregnant, and within a week she gave birth to nine healthy puppies!

“Dixie stayed with a wonderful foster family while she nursed and weaned the puppies. They brought her out of her shell, housetrained her, and taught her how to play fetch. Now, you will never find her without a favorite toy in her mouth. She is still learning how to walk on a leash, but with her new, trusted owner, she has made remarkable progress. Thanks to funding through this grant, Dixie, only a year and a half old, was able to be spayed and adopted to a wonderful home!”

Dottie, a Doberman in Nevada

Dottie when she was rescued

Dottie when she was rescued

Pat Getter, president of Doberman Rescue of Nevada in Las Vegas, sends us the story of a Doberman who couldn’t stand up:

Dottie, a young female Doberman stray, was picked up by animal control and taken to a Southern California shelter where she wouldn’t get up in her crate. She was sweet and friendly and apparently had just weaned a litter of pups. But if the shelter couldn’t get her to stand, let alone walk, they would put her down. Nothing showed up on the X-rays, so vets didn’t know what to treat. Could it be Wobbler syndrome? Could it be a cruciate [knee] injury? A shelter volunteer got the word out to local rescue groups, who then spread the word throughout the western Doberman-rescue network.

Dottie, smiling today

Dottie, smiling today

“With the wheels in motion to try to find a rescue group to pull her, the shelter gave her time, and Tuesday was now Thursday. By Friday, this black-and-tan beauty was a little stronger. And by Saturday, she was standing when DRNV’s volunteer came to see her and make arrangements to pull her on Tuesday to bring her to Las Vegas.

“The shelter vet joked that maybe she heard all the commotion about being euthanized and she realized she needed to stand up for herself – literally. Or perhaps, she simply had a badly bruised leg – maybe she’d been hit by a car – and needed a few days for the soreness to subside. But when she arrived in Las Vegas to be spayed, she was up and around, walking on all fours, and you would have never known this was the same Dober-girl who, one week earlier, was nearly put down just because she couldn’t get up.

“She is now spayed and ready to find her forever home. We posted her photo on our Facebook page while she was in transport and we already had an applicant by the time she arrived in her new city – before we even posted her on our own website or Petfinder! Plus a possible adopter from our list of already approved applicants. So life is finally looking up for Dottie and she should be in her forever home soon. A meet-and-greet is set for this weekend. All paws are crossed!”

Our SNAP-X grant made Dottie’s rescue possible, Getter says: “We appreciate it more than you can ever know. Our Dobie boys and girls give you paws up for your generosity and support!”

Leah, a pit bull in Wyoming

Leah with her new family

Leah with her new family

Britney Wallesch, founder of Black Dog Animal Rescue, Inc., in Cheyenne, WY, tells us about an emaciated, but still friendly, pit bull:

“Spay and neuter surgeries are by far the largest recurring expense we currently have. By providing money for this purpose, the grant allowed us to allocate other funds to program services that are lower on the priority list but also badly needed. We believe that all animals should be spayed or neutered prior to adoption and by doing so we are helping them to go onto happier, healthier lives with their new families.

“Leah was a 2-year-old blue pit bull-type dog who came to us from a shelter in one of the largest communities in Wyoming. She was emaciated and had stayed too long in a kennel. But, in true bully style, she was all kisses and wiggles for everyone she met. Like many other communities across the country, Wyoming’s shelters are faced with handling an abundance of pit bull and pit bull-mix dogs. As a result, a greater number of them face euthanasia every year.

“Leah was one of the lucky ones and she got to come to Black Dog Animal Rescue for safety. She was spayed thanks in part to funding from the SNAP-X grant and gained weight well. She overcame some initial shyness and became a great snuggle buddy for her foster siblings. Leah traveled to New York State over the summer with her foster family, where she learned to run of-leash and that she loves to swim! Upon her return from the family vacation, Leah was quickly adopted by a local veterinarian and her family. Don’t be deterred by her serious expression — she never did learn to love the camera. But rest assured, she has found a happy, forever home. She was the 134th adoption in our Summer Adopt-a-thon.”

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


FETCH: New iPhone/iPad Game Stars Petfinder Dog

smiling bear

Meet Bear, the inspiration for FETCH!

FETCH, the newest adventure/arcade game from Big Fish Games, features a little boy named Milo and his quest to rescue his beloved dog, Bear, who’s based on a real-life pooch adopted through

Game director Chris Campbell adopted the real-life Bear from Saving Grace Rescue in Granger, Wash., in 2008. After Chris and his wife’s beloved dogs, Salvador and Izzy, passed away, they decided to adopt. After searching through hundreds of photos on Petfinder, they found Bear and knew right away that he was the one for them.

As Chris and Bear bonded, Chris started thinking about how he could share the love that he feels for Bear in a fun way. Since Chris works with games for a living, he thought that featuring Bear in a heartwarming game about a boy and his dog would be the ultimate tribute to his best friend.

But FETCH is more than just a tribute to Bear — it’s a love letter to all furry friends: In addition to Bear, more than 200 other real-life dogs are featured in the game. These dogs are all Big Fish Games employee pets or pets of family members and friends who wanted their pets featured in the game.

The game’s makers had the plot, a classic “boy and his dog” story, but they needed to add a fun, engaging, quirky action element. In the game, Bear is nabbed one stormy night by a mysterious fire hydrant (the real-life Bear loves to pee on every fire hydrant on his daily walks, it was only fitting that one be included in the game based on him). Players must then guide Milo in his quest to rescue his dog. Along the way, they are faced with challenges that include reuniting the Three Blind Mice, rescuing a giant alligator, exploring Pirate Islands, defeating aliens and more.

Because Chris and his wife found Bear on Petfinder, Chris wanted to give back in some way. That’s how the partnership between Big Fish Games and the Petfinder Foundation was born, and at the end of FETCH you’ll see the Petfinder logo. I am personally very excited to be involved in this partnership because I LOVE online games, and to find one that gives back to homeless pets was a double win!

Check out FETCH on iTunes, download it at the app store on your iPhone or iPad, or play the online version.

Read more about FETCH and Bear.



Petfinderfoundation x Sleeveless Lace Dress

Petfinderfoundation x Sleeveless Lace Dress – Lace Top Skater Style/Crew Neckline/Side Zipper

The top portion of this petfinderfoundation x lovely white dress has a lace insert above the bodice which reaches to the shoulders and the short sleeves. The dress has a sheer lace yoke which surrounds the body with a keyhole in the back top area. The skirt of the dress flares out in a skater shape, wider at the hemline for sensual movements. The full length of the skirt has long vertical dart seams that support the body and create a graceful flow from the bodice to the hem. Short cap sleeves are made of pure lace insert for extreme coolness and breezy styling. Dance the night away in a pair of comfortable white pumps or low sandals or dress it up with a pair of black or white heels for a dinner party or cocktails with your friends. Spice up your appearance with added bling with silver hoop earrings and a diamond tennis bracelet. Dress is made of 98% cotton and 2% elastane for a bit of stretch.

Arizona Dogs Say Thank You for Summer Cooling Grant!

Adoptable Skylar enjoys a yard that’s been improved with turf, a shade and a misting system.

Our Summer Cooling Grant is helping dogs at Humane Society of Southern Arizona in Tucson keep cool via a new misting system in its yard.

Shelter PR Coordinator Sara Gromley tells us, “Here are some photos of our new area we spruced up thanks to your summer cooling grant. The mister system is absolutely deluxe! It goes from scorching hot to tropical cool within seconds of flipping a switch. Staff members enjoy taking breaks by bringing dogs out in the yard and it’s actually pleasant to be outdoors! The dogs love the turf and the shade sail works perfectly. Petfinder Foundation, we love you!”

Before the turf

The yard before the new turf was added

Gromley adds, “The dog model is Skylar, #757011, a 5-year-old male golden retriever mix. He was found as a stray and has been waiting for a home since early June (which I believe is against the laws of nature, when you’re a golden retriever).”

Donate to help us keep shelter pets cool and Orvis will match your gift!



Ron Burns Studio Rewards Pet Adopters

Elmer by Ron Burns

Elmer, by artist and Petfinder Foundation supporter Ron Burns

Our friends at Ron Burns Studio believe in supporting and promoting pet adoption as well as raising awareness that animal shelters and rescues need our help.

So when you adopt a pet, Ron Burns Studio will thank you by sending you an Adoption Appreciation gift certificate good toward 20% off the purchase of a Ron Burns limited print, lithograph or book.

And when you make a purchase, Ron Burns Studio will donate an additional 20% of your original purchase price to the Petfinder Foundation in your name. Not only will you get a fantastic pet portrait to adorn your home, you’ll know you’re helping save homeless pets, too.

Griffin the kitten

Griffin, painted by Ron Burns

Are you an adopter? Go here to request your certificate.

Once you get your certificate, redeem it here!



After 6-month Wait, Dog Is Adopted Thanks to Great Photo

The photo that attracted Lindy's adopter

The photo that attracted Lindy’s adopter

After waiting six months in foster care — and watching all her puppies find homes — Lindy, an Australian cattle dog mix in Arizona, has finally found her forever family thanks to our One Picture Saves a Life program, which teaches pet rescuers to take great photos of their adoptable pets, and also grants DSLR cameras and Photoshop photo-editing software to adoption groups.

“Shortly after coming back from the One Picture Saves a Life seminar, we took new pictures of Lindy,” Tiffany Rosler, president of the Tucson-based rescue group In the Arms of Angels, tells us. “The lady who adopted her said her photos 100% were the reason she came in to adopt her. She felt a connection to Lindy off of the photos.”

Rosler adds that the techniques she and her volunteers learned at the One Picture seminar are making a huge difference for the harder-to-adopt dogs being cared for by her group: “Our adult adoptions have increased tremendously since getting the new camera, learning how to use it and working with Photoshop to take out leashes and add watermarks.”

Lindy before and after

With The Animal Rescue Site,, John Paul Pet and Underwater Dogs photographer Set Casteel, we’re hosting One Picture Saves a Life workshops around the country for shelter and rescue group staff and volunteers. In the Arms of Angels was one of 10 groups that attended the June workshop in Las Vegas, where participants learned how to groom their homeless pets for the camera and get high-quality images of them to share online.

Rosler said she’s used the program’s online tutorials to teach foster parents to take great pictures of pets like Ace, below, whose foster mom took new photos that helped him find a home.

Ace before and after

“We sent her the link to the online tutorials of what camera settings to use and other helpful tips,” Rosler says. “Ace had so much attention from his new photos that we were able to get another adult dog adopted as a referral off of Ace’s photos. His adopter said his pictures were awesome, and he knew Ace was going to fit in perfectly — which he did.”

The program has worked so well for In the Arms of Angels that Rosler has started teaching the tips to shelters and rescue groups around Southeastern Arizona.

“I love the online tutorials and have shared them with many rescue groups and shelters because the information is great,” Rosler says. “We are so excited about the endless possibilities these tools have given us.”

Ace with toy

Great photos helped Ace find his home.

Donate to help us save more homeless pets, and Orvis will match your gift!