Petfinder Foundation News

Cats in Long Island are Healthier Thanks to Our Grant

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.”



A Shelter Renovation is the Key to Getting Pets Adopted

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.


Rescue U is Off to Florida!

Pets like this border collie-mix girl will benefit from Rescue U’s renovation.

The Animal Rescue Site and the Petfinder Foundation’s Rescue U is in Tavares, FL, at Lake County Animal Services from March 9-15 performing some much-needed renovations. Volunteers from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, New Jersey and Florida are rolling up their sleeves.

The adoptable dogs at Lake County Animal Services will have plenty of space to play and exercise with a new 50’x70′ exercise pen built by Rescue U volunteers. 

Right now there are only two small outdoor play areas for the dogs at the shelter, which severely limits the amount of play and exercise time each dog is able to get. Rescue U is building a brand new 50’x70’ outdoor exercise pen. This will mean a significant increase in the amount of time each dog gets outside, making the dogs happier, healthier and more adoptable.

Rescue U is also making general fencing repairs throughout the shelter. Several of the cat and dog kennels are in need of repair, and the industrial perimeter fence needs to be replaced in some areas. Our Rescue U volunteers will fix this for Lake County Animal Services to make sure their kennels are safe and their perimeter is secure.

By the end of the Rescue U build, this area will include two outdoor play areas for the adoptable cats at the shelter.

The cats at the shelter are getting a special focus on this trip. Not only will their kennels be repaired where needed, but the cat room is getting a fresh coat of paint, and a mural to brighten up the mood of the room for potential adopters!

The Petfinder Foundation also ran a Groupon Grassroots campaign to help fund two outdoor cat play areas. These areas will vastly improve the quality of life of the cats at the shelter, allowing them a safe, stress-free place to stretch and play outside. This will reduce upper respiratory infections and other communicable disease and make the cats at the shelter much more adoptable.

All in all, this trip will make a huge difference for Lake County Animal Services. There is a lot of work to do in one week, but Rescue U will get the job done as always!



We’re Helping Shelter Cats See the Sun

A cat at Lake County Animal Services in Tavares, FL

Doug Woolsey, program manager

With Rescue U, I spend a lot of time going into animal shelters across the U.S., scouting locations for renovations, volunteering my time and actually building. The majority of the time, we focus our efforts on the outside, building exercise pens, meet-and-greet areas, and making functional repairs to the building or surrounding grounds.

One thing that always strikes me whenever I go into an animal shelter is the cats. Most of the time, the cats have their own large room and it’s filled with small cages where the cats spend the majority of their time. Some shelters have a colony room that the cats can go into for a short period of time, but then it’s back to the small cage. Typically there is no natural light, poor air flow and not enough room for them to exercise. That’s why building safe, enclosed outdoor cat areas is so important.

When we did a renovation in Jefferson City, TN, at the Humane Society of Jefferson County last May, we built an outdoor cat area, and I left feeling like I had really made a difference in the lives of the cats. I have a small obsession with cats. When I go into shelters, I always look at the ferals. It’s because of them that I realize how dire the cat situation is: Seeing a cat who is used to roaming free and fending for himself trapped in a cage and terrified shows me what the other cats have resigned themselves to. When I saw the cats in Jefferson City run out into the sun and have a safe place to stretch out and relax or play, it made all the frustration and hard work that went into building that enclosed yard instantly worth every second.

Petunia is a happy cat at the Humane Society of Jefferson County thanks to lots of outdoor time!

On March 9-16, Rescue U is going to Lake County Animal Services in Tavares, FL, for our spring break renovation, and one of the projects we are doing is building two separate outdoor enclosures that will include cat trees, scratching posts and toys.

This is extremely important for these cats. The area where they keep the cats is small, has no natural light and is very stuffy. The new enclosures will not only allow the cats to have some outdoor time, but greatly improve their overall well-being. Melissa Enck Descant, shelter director at the Humane Society of Jefferson County, said it best: “The difference we have seen in the cats has been amazing. They are happier, healthier and more playful. Our adoption rate for kittens has also increased. People love being able to go in and interact with the kittens, helping them to find their perfect companion. Our euthanasia rate is also down thanks to how healthy everyone has been.”

For this trip we started a Groupon Grassroots Campaign to help with the cost of building the yards. Our goal was to raise $500, and the campaign ended up raising $800, meaning donors made 80 donations of $10. The wonderful thing about the program is that the donations received beyond our goal will be used exclusively for improving life for the cats at the Tavares shelter. The last Groupon Grassroots Campaign that Rescue U participated in raised more than double our goal, and thanks to our generous donors, the Humane Society of West Michigan received a much larger dog agility course and we were able to put more money into other projects for the shelter.

We have volunteers coming out from Oklahoma, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Kentucky to help with this build. I’m sure that everyone who participates in this project will get the same gratification that I did in Jefferson City when they see the cats run out into the sun, stretch their legs and enjoy the fresh air that they would not have gotten otherwise.



Rescued Golden Retrievers Stay Healthy Thanks to Vaccination Grant

Charlotte, a former puppy mill breeder, was vaccinated thanks to our grant.

We got this report from Robin L. Adams, executive director and cofounder of Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue Inc. in Reinholds, PA:

“While we bring in golden retrievers and goldendoodles on an almost daily basis, we have occasion to address emergency placements.

“Last week, such an event occurred. We were contacted by our golden retriever rescue partners in Tennessee about [an emergency] situation in Arkansas consisting of golden retrievers, German shepherds, great Pyreneese, pigs and horses. The Tennessee rescue was not able to cope with a sudden influx of golden retrievers, and knowing that we can handle these situations due to our facility, Golden Gateway, we of course said yes.

“A cooperative effort between the Great Pyrenees Club and DVGRR resulted in finding transportation for 16 dogs (11 golden retrievers, five great Pyrenees) to Golden Gateway. We provided overnight housing and care for the great Pyrenees, who were then picked up the following day to be taken to a veterinarian and ultimately, foster homes.

“The ARK 11, as we called them, and 45 golden retrievers before them have been the beneficiary of 56 of the vaccines to date.

“For DVGRR, the impact of Hurricane Sandy was felt in the form of the loss of the rubber mulch we use in an exercise area devoted to puppy-mill survivors (an estimated $10,000 repair), electricity loss (vaccines destroyed) and a large pool of donors no longer able to support our efforts due to their own personal loss.

“We are extremely grateful to the Petfinder Foundation for their collective efforts to help continue rehoming of animals everywhere.”



Our Vaccination Grant Protects Dozens of Cats in the Adirondacks

Cats like Nova at Adirondack Save a Stray benefited from our vaccination grant.

We got this note from Meredith Fiel at Adirondack Save A Stray in Corinth, NY, which recently received a vaccination grant from the Petfinder Foundation to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy:

“We were able to update the 65 cats and several kittens in our cat room and kitten area. This was done as a direct result of your fabulous grant. We were able to update all of the rabies and distemper vaccines to all that needed it. We are extremely grateful. We still have leftover vaccines and because of that, we were able to take in and rescue additional cats and dogs and many have been placed into loving homes.

“Our cat room has free-roaming kitties. [Cats can spend time there] once they are vaccinated and vet-checked and all of the medical attention has been done. This cuts down on a lot of stress. Our puppies are in our puppy rooms and our older dogs are in the kitchen and adoption area and kenneled at night. We try to have a stress-free environment for all of our furbabies until they are adopted into loving and forever homes.

“Again, I want to thank you for all you have done on behalf of the animals here and everywhere. You have made many tails wag and hearts purr.”



Twister Was Abandoned, Starving, with her 10 Puppies

Twister, as she looked when she was rescued

We received this grant report from Bellowood Rescue in Cedar Springs, MI, which received an operations grant last year from the Petfinder Foundation and the Pedigree Foundation. The story has a happy ending for mama dog Twister and her pups. As Bellowood president Kimberly Schreuder tells us, “With the wonderful lifesaving grant from the Petfinder Foundation, we were able to vet and take care of Twister and her entire family, including little Iris who had a broken leg. Thank you, Petfinder Foundation!! Glad to have you on our team!”

Saving Twister: Anatomy of a Rescue
By Laurel Barrick

“It was Aug. 1. The caller was clearly distraught as she described how the mother dog had sat trembling in the middle of a busy road, with cars driving around her. Her teats were swollen beyond belief, in stark contrast to her backbone and ribs showing through the skin stretched tightly over her skeleton. All the woman knew was that the dog was in Morley, near a shop where her husband had purchased some parts. She did not know the address or the cross street. She thought maybe the dog belonged to the man who owned the shop. Her husband was furious at her for calling, but she could not get the image of this mama dog shivering in the heat of day in the middle of a road out of her mind. And so she called Bellowood, the closest rescue she could find. Then, with her husband yelling at her to ‘mind your own business,’ she said she couldn’t tell me any more and she had to get off the phone.

Her teats were swollen, her body nearly skeletal.

“Aug. 2 was a frustrating day as myself and Rhonda Waldorf from Safe Haventried to find a clue to the dog’s whereabouts that we could follow. The caller said to try looking on Craig’s List for ‘lawnmower repair.’ Rhonda found a number that might be the shop and called but was told by a man that it was not his dog and he didn’t know what she was talking about.

“The next day, Aug. 3, did not start out much better. I had to call the woman back and beg her to please look up the phone number for the shop when her husband wasn’t around. We were not getting anywhere trying to locate the dog. Finally, armed with the correct phone number, Rhonda again called, and while the dog was not related to the shop at all, a man was able to tell her that he thought she might be his neighbor’s dog. He could not give a name or address, but was able to give her directions to the house where he thought the dog might be.


After Surgery or Dealing with Arthritis, Shelter Dogs Can Now Rest More Comfortably

Nico chills on his new Chill Pad.

Our partners at P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You) donate a Special Edition Chill Pad dog bed to a shelter pet for every Artist or Original Collection pet bed purchased (learn more here). So far they’ve given 260 homeless dogs warm places to sleep.

That includes Nico, above, and Duffy, right, at Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society in Brownsville, VT. We got this email from shelter manager Jackie Stanley:

“Please find attached pics of Nico enjoying some of his new favorite Chill Pads! Nico is a 3-year-old neutered male Pit Bull/Shepherd mix. He has gone through two surgeries to correct a torn ACL, and his Chill Pad makes his relaxing time much more comfortable.

Duffy gets comfortable.

“Duffy is a 12-year-old spayed female Westie. Duffy is particularly fond of the Chill Pads since she is highly arthritic!

“All of our dogs have been thoroughly enjoying the comfort of the Chill Pad mats. We are incredibly thankful to be the recipients of this gracious grant. We work very hard to make sure all of our animals remain safe, healthy and comfortable while they’re in our care. You definitely helped to make that easier!

“Many thanks from all of us at Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society … especially Nico and Duffy!”

Thanks for the update, Jackie, and thanks to P.L.A.Y. and everyone who purchased an Artist or Original Collection pet bed for their own pet so a shelter dog could rest easier!

Learn more about adopting Nico.

Learn more about adopting Duffy.

Purchase a pet bed and P.L.A.Y. will donate one to a shelter pet.

Are you with a shelter? Apply for a P.L.A.Y. Chill Bed grant here.



Our Vaccination Grants Protect Hurricane Sandy Pets

Elaine loves belly rubs and other dogs — and has been vaccinated thanks to our grant! All photos are by Geoffrey Tischman of Tischman Pets Photography.

Many animal shelters in the Northeast are still struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and we continue to help. We’re giving adoption groups $1 million in vaccination grants to protect the cats and dogs in their care against common contagious diseases.

So far, we’ve given vaccination grants to 88 shelters, all impacted by Hurricane Sandy. That includes Westchester Humane Society in Harrison, NY, which received 250 doses.

Lois was also vaccinated.

Westchester Humane board director Irma Jansen tells us, “This grant was an incredible help for our shelter and we were delighted by the amount of vaccinations we received. We thank you and BI so much for making this possible!”

The shelter has vaccinated dogs like Elaine, above, and Lois, right, against bordetella (a.k.a. kennel cough), rabies and, via a single vaccination called DHPP, distemper, hepatitis, parvo and parainfluenza.

In addition, cats like Thackery (below) were vaccinated against rabies and, via an FVRCP vaccination, three of the worst viral infections affected cats: feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and panleukopenia, a.k.a. feline distemper.

Thackery was vaccinated against FVRCP and other diseases.



A Thundershirt Proves Better than Meds for an Anxious, Deaf Dog

Champ in his Thundershirt

Thanks to our friends at Thundershirt, we were able to send 60 of these great shirts to Big Fluffy Dog Rescue in Hopkinton, MA.

Big Fluffy Dog’s Elizabeth Zaccaro wrote to tell us how a Thundershirt has helped a dog named Champ:

“Champ is a 1-year-old, deaf Golden Retriever-Great Pyrenees who is available for adoption through our rescue. Champ has severe anxiety issues and we have found the Thundershirt calms him. He was on medication, but it did not help him, so we are using non-medical ways to help relieve his anxiety.

“When Champ gets adopted, we will send him home with his shirt.”

Donate a Thundershirt to the shelter of your choice.

Are you with a shelter or rescue group? Apply for a Thundershirt grant here.

Interested in adopting Champ? Learn more about Champ here.