Happy, healthy dogs are more likely to get adopted. When shelter dogs are physically comfortable, feel safe and secure, and are not crazed with boredom, they show their true personalities and charm potential adopters.
That’s why many of our grants are designed to improve shelter dogs’ quality of life. A bed, a toy and even a good shampoo can make all the difference.
Smiley, a 9-year-old blind Pit Bull, has been at the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts in Brockton for quite some time. Thanks to our grant, he and other dogs there sleep on cozy P.L.A.Y. beds. “There is nothing Smiley likes better than going out for long walks,” shelter director Kim Heise says. “But having a nice, soft, comfy P.L.A.Y. bed to snuggle up on in his kennel makes having to come back a little easier.” Read Smiley’s story.
We granted 300 KONG toys to Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson — great news for dogs like Finley, a 5-year-old Italian Greyhound mix. “Shelter life can be scary for pets,” PACC Development Director Karen Hollish tells us. “The enrichment activity that Finley received from the granted KONG toys meant he was relaxed, happy and ready when his adopter finally walked by.” Read Finley’s story.
Adoption groups receiving our grants of Wahl grooming products tell us the mild shampoos are a blessing to their dogs, many of whom come into their care with painful skin conditions and smelling terrible. Suzy had spent her seven years living outdoors when she arrived at Houndhaven in Minneola, FL, and her coat was in poor shape. After a regimen that included Wahl baths, Suzy blossomed — and was adopted. Read Suzy’s story.
Thank you for your support, which makes stories like these possible. Donate to improve quality of life for more shelter dogs.
Your donations to our Summer Cooling Campaign are saving lives at Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) in Tucson, Ariz., by helping the dogs there get adopted. The shelter used our Summer Cooling grant to install an overhead misting system in two visitation yards, meaning potential adopters can now comfortably spend time getting to know the resident dogs.
“It’s a game-changer,” Animal Care Advocate Justin Gallick tells us. Here in Tucson, temperatures have already topped 111 degrees, and before the outdoor misting system was installed, potential adopters did not have a cool, comfortable place in which to visit with the shelter’s dogs. “Now they can take the time necessary to make that bond,” Gallick says.
As part of Petfinder’s Summer Pet Safety campaign, we’ve challenged Petfinder.com visitors to help us raise $10,000 to keep 10,000 shelter pets cool and safe. (You can donate here to help.) PACC’s grant was possible because of your donations, and it is making a big difference to the shelter’s adoption numbers, Gallick says. (Find out how pets are keeping cool at our first Summer Cooling grant recipient, Humane Society of Southern Arizona.)
When we visited PACC to check out its new misters, we brought along kiddie pools for each of the yards. We also made cooling catsicles to share with the shelter’s cats (get the recipe for catsicles here), and pupsicles that we made by freezing low-sodium chicken broth in an ice cube tray.
The grant came at just the right time, since the shelter – which takes in nearly 25,000 lost and homeless pets a year – is currently being inundated with unwanted litters (read our previous blog post about PACC).
“It’s raining puppies and kittens,” Adoption Coordinator Ellie Beaubien says.
While the misters in the visitation yards certainly make adopters more comfortable, they also give the shelter’s nursing-mother dogs a place to take a break from their puppies, Beaubien says. Before the summer, staff members would give each nursing mother half an hour of exercise and fresh air in the yards – but when the high temperatures arrived, that became too dangerous.
Now, thanks to the misting system, “nobody’s getting overheated,” Beaubien says. “We really needed those. It was a great investment.”
Once in a while, we like to deliver a grant in person. So this week we headed to one of our local Tucson shelters, Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), to present a $1,000 Summer Cooling grant. The funds will be used to install a misting system in the shelter’s meet-and-greet yards and outdoor dog runs to make both more comfortable for the pets and potential adopters.
While we were there, we also spent some time walking a few of the resident dogs — including Nina (above) — and speaking with staff and volunteers about the positive changes the shelter is making. We left feeling prouder than ever to be supporting its work.
Animal Care Advocate Justin Gallick tells us that the county-funded facility, which takes in nearly 25,000 homeless or lost pets a year, is undertaking a radical outlook shift.
“Our culture, and reputation, has for years been based on the animal-control model,” he says. “Now there’s a lot more emphasis on customer service, finding the right match and post-adoption follow-up.”
The organization recently increased its live-release rate from around 50 percent to nearly 65 percent, Gallick says, adding that he expects that number to continue to rise. In the past, PACC did not have a staff member dedicated solely to increasing adoptions, but it recently hired its first full-time adoption coordinator, Ellie Beaubien. It also hired its first full-time volunteer coordinator, José Ocaño. Since February, Ocaño has increased PACC’s volunteer force from 90 people to more than 300.
When it was time for us to walk dogs, two of the shelter’s regular volunteers, Laura Hines and Kainan Jarrette, paired us with pups who needed exercise. PACC is situated next to a small lake – a rare sight in the desert! – and devoted volunteers such as Hines and Jarrette ensure PACC’s temporary residents enjoy daily excursions around the water.
Hines and Jarrette come to PACC several times a week to exercise and socialize dogs such as Ernie, a 1-year-old German Shepherd mix (below). Their apartment complex won’t let them adopt any more pets (they already have two cats), so the volunteering helps them get their pet fix.
“I have a very strong love for animals, and it’s nice to be part of the solution,” Jarrette says.
“It’s mutually beneficial, really,” Hines adds. “You get to do something for them but they also give a lot to you.”
We left excited to return to the shelter to see the new misting system installed in time to help the resident pets beat the summer heat. As Adoption Coordinator Ellie Beaubien tells us, “Our animals need it so desperately. I really can’t thank you enough!”
We’re also thrilled that PACC staffers will be attending our upcoming One Picture Saves a Life seminar in Las Vegas, where they’ll learn how to take lifesaving photos of their adoptable pets. PACC’s One Picture Saves a Life grant also includes a digital SLR camera and Photoshop photo-editing software.
Both grants are sure to help save the lives of pets such as Preston (below). We can’t wait to come back!
Shelter life can be stressful for dogs like Jenna, an energetic young Boxer mix who’s been returned several times to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) in Tucson. That’s why the Petfinder Foundation is working with Mars Petcare to give pets like her toys, treats and other enrichment supplies to help them stay healthy and happy until they find the right family.
The HSSA, Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) of Tucson, In the Arms of Angels of Green Valley, and Pinal County Animal Care and Control of Casa Grande benefited from a recent friendly fundraising competition that we organized for 200 Mars Petcare employees.
The Mars staffers broke into four teams of 25, each competing for a different organization in events such as a hula-hoop contest and leash-making competition.
The whole thing was a fun way for Mars employees to give back and for the Petfinder Foundation, which is based in Tucson, to support local adoption groups.
All four organizations received cash grants, along with leashes, cat scratchers, dog toys and pet food. The first-place winner, the HSSA, received a $1,000 grant; In the Arms of Angels received $500; and PACC and Pinal County Animal Care and Control each received $250.
“The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is so grateful for the wonderful donation and will be using the money to help care for our animals by providing vaccinations, food, enrichment and spay-and-neuter surgeries,” HSSA PR Coordinator Sara Gromley tells us. “It is especially helpful during litter season, when we need extra support to care for our little ones.”
PACC Adoption Coordinator Ellie Beaubien says the shelter will use its grant to buy leashes and cat carriers, which adopters are currently required to provide if they want to adopt from the county facility. Providing these to adopters will make the adoption process more convenient, Beaubien says (PACC will raise its adoption fees slightly so the program can continue).
As a government-funded shelter, PACC just hadn’t had the money it needed to implement this relatively inexpensive but lifesaving policy. “This [grant] gave me the opportunity to provide something important to adopters,” Beaubien says.