Petfinder Foundation News

We’re Helping Shelters Take Amazing Animal Pictures

Adorable Kitty

Jack from the Humane Society of Sullivan County in Sullivan, Ind., has an adorable glamor shot thanks to the photography tips we offered shelter workers at the recent Animal Care Expo.

I got off the plane in Nashville, super excited be attending my first-ever Animal Care Expo hosted by the Humane Society of the United States. I was ready to meet hundreds of shelter workers from across the country, learn about the challenges they are facing, and figure out how we can help them do their hard jobs even better.

At the heart of my Expo experience was spreading the news about the Foundation’s One Picture Saves a Life program, which teaches essential pet-photography skills to shelter staffers and volunteers. We’ve partnered on the program with Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel and our friends at The Animal Rescue Site, John Paul Pet and GreaterGood.org. The program’s central premise is a shelter pet’s chances of being noticed by a potential adopter rise exponentially when they are represented by an attractive photo.

Seth Training Shelter Staff

Underwater Dogs photographer Seth Casteel taught shelter workers how to take better photos at the Animal Care Expo.

Again and again at the Expo I heard from workers who bemoaned their organization’s low-quality photos. They said that their animals’ pictures oftentimes showed them looking blurry, frightened and dirty. While some shelters said they counted on volunteer professional photographers to take pleasing photos, and an even smaller number said they have trained photographers on staff, most said they struggled to take engaging photographs that do justice to their temporary residents.

We pointed them toward the free teaching resources on the program’s website, www.onepicturesaves.com, and told them about our upcoming workshops. We invited them to a talk we hosted with Seth Casteel and cat-behavior expert Jackson Galaxy (they had terrific chemistry!). We cheered as Debbie Heller of Little Rock Animal Village in Little Rock, Ark., won a digital SLR camera and choked up when she talked about all the lives it was going to help save.

Seth Casteel presents a digital SLR camera the winning shelter worker.

Seth Casteel presented a digital SLR camera to Debbie Heller of Little Rock Animal Village.

The Expo taught me that most Petfinder.com member organizations the Petfinder Foundation proudly serves are struggling to take good pet photos. They may have money in their budgets for pet food, electricity bills or an animal-care attendant, but photography funds are much harder for shelters to come by.

The One Picture Saves a Life program is closing that gap, though, by providing easy-to-implement tips, in-person workshops, and technology grants so that shelter workers have the cameras and editing software they need.

And already it’s making a difference. Humane Society of Sullivan County President Miranda Webster Hay, who took the above picture of Jack the kitten, said the tips she learned at Expo have yielded terrific results.

“I am so excited about this program, it is all I can talk about since I arrived home from the HSUS EXPO!” Hay wrote. “Meeting Seth and just showing him some of my pictures, he was able to give me such great pointers in 5 minutes! Two days of shooting with this lens (50 mm/1.80) and I am in heaven–I am so excited to be registered for the August workshop in Chicago.”

Rachel Rosen from Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, N.J., also sent us this terrific photo of an adoptable pup that she took using the One Picture Saves a Life lessons:

Fresh, an Adoptable Dog

Fresh is available for adoption at Liberty Humane Society.

“I put quite a few tips I learned at the workshop to use in this batch of pictures,” Rosen said. “The fact that it was cloudy made me realize how much easier it would be to shoot in the shade rather than in the sun like I did in the past.” (Learn more about adopting Fresh.)

As a former shelter worker who has struggled countless times to get the perfect shot of a squirmy critter, I was thrilled to promote this progressive program at Expo. Because of the generous donations we receive, we’re able to provide life-saving resources that shelters wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Like the One Picture Saves a Life page on Facebook to see all this year’s success stories!

Learn more about the One Picture Saves a Life Program.

Donate now to help us teach shelters how to take life-saving pictures of their adoptable pets.

 

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How You Can Help Shelter Pets by Quilting

Denny Snuggles.

Denny snuggles on his favorite quilt.

Last year, we worked with pet-loving crafters to get handmade quilts to cats stranded by Hurricane Sandy. Here, Nan Baker, marketing director at The Quilt Pattern Magazine, tells us how this creative and compassionate project developed, and how you can help:

“It all started with Denny. He loved quilts. Although the colors or designs didn’t matter to him, he definitely had his favorites. Put a quilt on a chair, a floor or a shelf and he magically appeared to stake his claim, especially for naps.

“After seeing many pictures of cats on quilts on the Internet, I knew that I was not alone in thinking that cats on quilts make great photos and that they just need to be shared.

“In the fall of 2011, The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM) started our annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. Subscribers were urged to send in pictures of their kitties on quilts and given the chance to win some great prizes donated by very generous kitty-loving sponsors! We even had a sponsor kitty – Miss Piggy of Kona Bay Fabrics.

Miss Piggy & Gracie

Sponsor cat Miss Piggy, left, and 2011 Quilt Kitties Photo Contest winner Gracie

“However, because TQPM’s staff are all cat lovers and many have rescue cats, they took it a step further! They wanted to help cats, particularly the less-fortunate kitties who don’t have homes or who end up in shelters. They gave their readers an opportunity to donate to an organization that specializes in helping kitties.

“In the fall of 2012, the same wonderful sponsors, along with some new ones, rejoined TQPM for its second annual Quilt Kitties Photo Contest. TQPM was pleased to announce that the Petfinder Foundation had joined them in promoting this endeavor. Who could have guessed where it would lead?

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

Quilt Kitties Photo Contest 2012 winner Baby

“Wanting to give their readers a little something extra for their kitties, TQPM was the first to offer free, downloadable patterns for Kennel Quilts. (Find Kennel Quilt patterns here!) These quilts are 12″ x 18″ and are perfect for most cat carriers and cages. The plan was for readers to make one for their own furry friend and another for a local shelter kitty.

Kennel Quilt

Kennel Quilts fit perfectly in cat carriers.

“Then, Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast and Kennel Quilts took on a whole new meaning. Several of the staff members, knowing firsthand how devastating hurricanes can be for people and their pets, contacted the Petfinder Foundation to offer help.

“Petfinder gave TQPM a list of affected shelters in New York and New Jersey. One shelter, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ, delivered the quilts on a supply truck along with water, pet food and other essentials to people on the Jersey shore. They knew these people had lost everything and that a bright, new quilt for their pets would bring a little bit of joy. Another shelter reported that these donated quilts made everything look very bright and pretty. The volunteers and visitors were all talking about them.

“Because they fit the kitty Kuranda beds, which many shelters use, one shelter asked how we had known to make them the perfect size. As more quilts were delivered, the compliments continued to come in. Shelters were amazed by how many people cared. Strangers, yes; but ones who extended helping hands in times of need. The response was overwhelming, with more than 100 quilts made and sent from the United States, Canada and England. The shelters continue to receive quilts to this day.

Shelter Kitty

A cat at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center snoozes on his donated quilt.

“As a result of the overwhelming response, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation decided to make this an ongoing project. Thus, the Small Kennel Quilt Team was formed.

“The TQPM Small Kennel Quilt Team is a volunteer organization that is available to respond when disasters strike. It is a way to join a larger effort in helping our animal friends in times of need by doing what we love. Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team here.

“The team will supply Kennel Quilts to shelters. Free patterns can be downloaded from the TQPM site (download a free quilt pattern here) or you can design your own. TQPM will post members’ progress on the program web page and email updates to them. Members are not obligated to make quilts; they can sign up simply to receive program updates.

Zoey on a quilt.

Zoey the shelter cat has her choice of quilts.

“If you don’t quilt, but want to be a member of the team, you are most welcome. There are other very important ways to help; one is to give a donation to the Petfinder Foundation, which will be greatly appreciated and well-used.

“This new venture is still in the formative stage. As time passes, TQPM and the Petfinder Foundation are sure to find new ways to help shelters and their animals. Join our ‘Passion with a Purr-pose’!”

Many thanks to Nan and all the quilters around the world who are working so hard to offer some comfort and cheer to shelter cats and their caregivers during times of need.

Download Kennel Quilt patterns.

Sign up for the Small Kennel Quilt Team.

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Abused, Burned and Abandoned

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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No-Fee Adoptions Help Ten Lucky Colorado Dogs

Ten patiently waiting pooches — including a pair of bonded rat terriers — have found families thanks to an Orvis grant the Petfinder Foundation awarded to a shelter in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Buddy, left, and Lucky were adopted together.

“This grant enabled us to waive adoption fees for ten of our ‘harder to place’ dogs,” Marsha Rana Wayman, Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region grants and corporate relations manager, tells us.

This extra adoption incentive helped recruit one loving home for both Buddy and Lucky, two 5-year-old rat terriers who were surrendered when their owner’s health faltered.

“Buddy and Lucky were not only featured as a two-for-one bonded pair — their single adoption fee of $65 was completely waived,” Wayman says. “The pair was happily adopted after a mere five days at the shelter!”

Percy’s foster family adopted him.

The grant also helped ensure a happy ending for Percy, who was brought into HSPPR as a stray with a badly fractured leg. Shelter staff immediately treated Percy’s painful injury and pursued his case as a cruelty investigation, Wayman says.

After Percy spent months recovering in a loving foster home, his foster family signed on to keep him for life. Not only did the grant underwrite Percy’s waived adoption fee, it helped pay for the medical care he needed, Wayman says.

Learn more about Petfinder Foundation grants that could help your shelter or rescue group.

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A Big Thank You to the ASPCA

ASPCA Throughout the year, the ASPCA recognizes employees’ exceptional contributions to the ASPCA and its mission. Each honoree receives a gift certificate redeemable for a grant to their favorite animal welfare organization from the ASPCA Grants Department. In 2012 the Petfinder Foundation was selected by an ASPCA employee to receive their honorary $500 grant for general operating purposes.

We are very grateful to the ASPCA for their support in furthering our mission to help ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home!

Puppy Mill Survivors Headed for Home at Last

Puppy Mill Survivor checked by vets

After being rescued from a Rowan County, KY, puppy mill, this dog was checked by veterinarians.

After more than a year of healing care and thanks to financial support from the Petfinder Foundation, 118 small-breed puppy mill survivors rescued from horrific conditions in Rowan County, KY, are finally ready to join families.

“Enrichment supplies for dogs traumatized from living in a puppy mill are extremely important in training them to trust people and ready them for adoption,” Tim Rickey, vice president of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team, said. “Without your generous support, we could not have provided much-needed socialization and positive reinforcement to the dogs we rescued.”

After the APSCA seized the dogs in October 2011, the Pefinder Foundation provided them with a $1,000 disaster-relief grant to help with the dogs’ rehabilitation and recovery. The rescued dogs included Chihuahua, Dachshund, papillon, miniature pinscher and poodle mixes. Several of the dogs were pregnant, and some were only a few weeks old. All were badly neglected: Many of them were covered in mold and matted fur, and they were suffering from infections, dental disease and other health problems. They were kept in cramped, filthy cages.

“We used the grant to pay for treats, toys and staff/responder time socializing the dogs,” Rickey said.

Rescued Rowan County puppy.

One of the rescued Rowan County puppies.

After the dogs spent more than a year in recovery, the owner of the puppy mill pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and one kennel violation.

“Since the case has come to a close,” Rickey said, “we could finally make the dogs available for adoption.”

The dogs were all transferred to partner shelters, and Rickey reported their outcome couldn’t be better: “Most of the dogs were snapped up almost instantly and are now enjoying loving homes!”

To learn about applying for a disaster-relief grant, visit here.

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A Miracle for an Escape Artist with Separation Anxiety

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

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!

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

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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