Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
San Antonio Pets Alive! used the funds generously donated by the Petfinder Foundation to provide treatment for Charlie, a dog rescued from the euthanasia list at the San Antonio city shelter. The cost to SAPA! of saving any dog from euthanasia is at least $150. Charlie’s special medical needs meant that his care cost much more. The Petfinder Foundation grant allowed SAPA! to consult with an outside specialist. At this clinic, Charlie received x-rays and blood tests and underwent an in-depth physical exam. This cost $544. It was determined that Charlie would need heartworm treatment, medication to reduce arthritis inflammation, pain medication, and a special diet. Charlie was placed with a medical foster who additionally provided physical and hydrotherapy. Over the next several months, Charlie’s cost of care was an additional $1,000.
SAPA! is grateful to the Petfinder Foundation because the support allowed us to give Charlie every possible chance at rehabilitation. We know we did everything we could for Charlie, thanks to the Petfinder Foundation, and Charlie's suffering was eased during his last months of life. He also was very loved and cared for, which is important to any animal's overall health. If Charlie could, he would thank you all in a big way for what you were able to help him accomplish and for the love he received.
Poor Charlie was surrendered by his owner, and was also a victim of chronic neglect at his owner's hands. Charlie suffered from severe obesity, untreated parasites, and painful arthritis that made any movement difficult. Many times, people think of neglectful animal ownership leading to an animal not being fed, but it can be just as neglectful to overfeed until an animal is suffering. Charlie showed us that neglect can have many faces.
Soon after his rescue, Charlie underwent diagnostic testing that showed he had various health problems, and SAPA! set to work to help him get better. After quickly finding placement with a devoted medical-specialist foster, Charlie was put on a careful diet and exercise plan. The goal was to help Charlie feel better and move better, which would help him lose weight. The program had to be slow because of Charlie's cholesterol and health problems that put his heart at risk. Charlie also received arthritis medications to make the exercise process easier.
Over the next few months, Charlie, already a senior at over 6 years old, was making slow and steady improvement. However, Charlie's medical interventions were sadly started too late in his life, and his neglectful past had already started to make permanent changes to his health. He passed away of a suspected heart attack not quite a year after his rescue.
The funds for this grant were used to help restart our enrichment program. The shelter had one a few years ago and we have worked hard to try and bring it back. The money was used for items in the shelter and for foster homes to help keep our animals happy and healthy while waiting to be adopted. We have seen the most success with our heartworm-positive dogs who have long stays with us. These dogs are given KONG toys and puzzles purchased with the grant to help keep them engaged and active without raising their heart rates.
In the shelter we have been able to purchase a large number of KONG toys that get filled by volunteers and staff daily/weekly, then get passed out to animals who have a hard time keeping calm in their kennels or are known for destroying all other toys. With this grant, we were also able to purchase radios for every cat room and kennel which play calming music made for animals on repeat.
This grant helped lower the number of animals we have in our care with stress, especially with our heartworm-positive dogs and those who are kept here for long periods of time due to medical needs or holds. Our organization was able to bring in toys and treats that work to keep the animals not only calm and distracted, but happy and constantly learning. The puzzles are slowly being brought into play by getting our volunteers more involved with our animals, giving them time to play together and get them out of the kennel for more than their typical walks or outside playtime. Our fosters saw an increase in playfulness and lower incidents of kennel stress or breaking out of designated areas while they were away from the house.
So far we have helped 10 animals in foster and more than 100 in the shelter with the different methods of care.
Tyson (first and second photos) is a 1-year-old terrier/boxer/mastiff mix who was in the shelter for over a month (November) while starting his heartworm treatment. Tyson was not good in the kennel setting and was constantly spinning, pacing, and trying to break out of his kennel, hurting himself once in the process. The stress was hurting his treatment progress and his heart rate was constantly high. Staff tried for just under a month to find a foster to house him while he finished the last two months of his treatment. Tyson was not good in any confined space and could not be kenneled; he had severe separation anxiety, he was not good with cats, and he could be picky with his dog friends.
After spending all that time searching, we were unable to find a foster home that could take care of him and cater to his needs, so a staff member brought him home. Tyson had a hard time adjusting at first, but would come to work with the staff member every day. During the day, if Tyson was left alone in the office, he would begin to stress out and would break out of the office; he became known for opening doors and wandering into meeting rooms or education rooms down the hall in search of his foster. To help with this, each day Tyson was given a KONG toy filled with treats and frozen peanut butter and left in the office alone for 30 minutes to get him used to being separated.
Once he could handle that, he was placed into one of the kennels during the work day with a KONG toy and soothing music to get him used to being in a confined space; after two months of work, he was able to be in there safely for overnight visits when the staff member was out of town. In the home setting, they used the KONG toys and soothing music to get him used to being in a traditional kennel; unfortunately he was only able to last one hour in that type of kennel.
By the time Tyson was placed for adoption, he was finally able to be left alone in a room of a house gated off for about four hours! After Tyson's treatment had finished, he was placed for adoption, and two weeks later he found an amazing forever home! Due to his needs, the search took a lot of work, but he found a home where his new mom stayed at home all day long and would take him on car trips to the city. There are two great kids in the family and a huge back yard that he can spend time running around during the summer while Dad is working on the yard.
Tyson was the first dog to go through the program and we used him as the tester for many of our new ideas. He did an amazing job and encouraged us to try so many new things after we saw his success!
Since Tyson, we have seen success with Hattie and Danny as well -- two dogs in our foster program who couldn't stand the confined space of our kennels. Danny is currently in foster while going through heartworm treatment and will be available within the next month or so.
Hattie (third photo) came to us near the end of the summer and went through heartworm treatment in the shelter. Hattie went up for adoption in October and still hasn't had anyone interested in adopting her. She was placed in foster to get her out of the kennel atmosphere and to make sure she was happy while waiting for her new family. Meet her: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/39785074
Orthopedic surgery on one of our foster cats, Marisol, who was at our local shelter with a severe leg injury.
It provided much-needed financial support to cover a large surgical bill for one of our foster cats, which allowed us to direct our donations to the other 200+ animals in our care.
Marisol was on an urgent rescue bulletin from our local shelter, Broward County Animal Services. She was in dire need of medical care due to a cast from an old injury being left on her leg for far too long. She ended up with a deep wound which made her leg appear mangled. We rushed her to Pet Express Animal Hospital and originally thought her leg would need to be amputated, but the doctor found that, although the injury was severe, she had good blow flow. They recommended healing the wound, then conducting orthopedic surgery to replace the pin in her leg, since it had not healed properly.
Long story short, we attempted the orthopedic surgery, but it was sadly not successful. Marisol was unable to regain use of her leg and, a few weeks after her surgery, she ended up needing an amputation. While we had hoped to save her leg, Marisol didn't let it bring her down. She healed beautifully and was running and jumping around like an active young cat with four legs! Once she was fully recovered, she went to the Good Luck Cat Cafe to be placed for adoption and she quickly found her forever home.
We had several partners who came through to help us with disaster relief during Hurricane Irma. This allowed us to pool resources and provide safe care throughout the storm. We are submitting this additional update to our previous report because the Petfinder Foundation grant specifically made it possible to create the Storm Trooper Program, which we feel was not only critical to surviving the hurricane, but also resulted in a touching adoption story.
This grant allowed us to place adoption-floor animals in private homes to ride out the storm. By sending the animals in this program home with essential, needed supplies provided by the grant, it set the Storm Troopers and animals (dogs, cats, and a ferret!) up for success. This made room in the main building of the shelter so all the animals in the outlying buildings could be moved there. This way, all the animals and employees staying at the shelter were able to ride out the storm together safely under one roof.
There were 460 animals on campus that this grant helped by making sure all were under one roof. Additionally, it helped provide room for the 159 animals we took in the week after the storm.
Iggy came to Halifax Humane Society on March 29, 2017, as a stray. She was a 10-year-old Labrador retriever mix. She was diagnosed with a benign lipoma, and due to that, had been overlooked for adoption six times. In preparing for Hurricane Irma, Iggy was picked by one of the Storm Troopers to take into her home and ride out the storm. Well that did it for this long-term senior resident! The Trooper feel in love with Iggy and adopted her two days after the storm passed through (Sept. 13, 2017).
Tuition for DPFL mentorship
The mentorship gave myself and another staffer the skills and confidence to begin the evaluation process of our dogs and to start playgroups on a regular basis for the first time. In addition, it offered us the ability to create volunteer training specifically for playgroups that will help us reach our ultimate goal of "every dog, every day." Unexpectedly, our time at Austin Pets Alive! also exposed us to their procedures and protocols, which, we discovered, offered excellent solutions to some of the shortfalls we felt existed in our facility.
We have approximately 22 dogs at the Adoption Center at any one time. With only a few exceptions, we have gotten most of these dogs into a playgroup of some size. In addition, we have brought a few dogs from Animal Control over for evaluation.
White Walker is a pit-bull mix who had been at our facility for nearly six months. On leash, he presented as dog-reactive. He also had become more and more kennel-protective the longer he stayed with us. White Walker was one of the first "challenge" dogs we introduced to the playgroups on our return from APA. We discovered a playful and balanced dog with a mild selectivity to some male dogs. His intimidating kennel behavior also diminished after getting into playgroups. White Walker was adopted within four weeks of starting playgroups, and his adopter reported just two days ago that he is doing wonderfully at his new home.
The grant we received from the Petfinder Foundation/Build-a-Bear for $3,045 was partially used to buy books recommended by Red Rover. Ms. Pamela Doore, a certified elementary educator, leads our education program and is certified in the Red Rover program. Ms. Doore has presented her Red Rover program three times so far since January 2018 using these books as the subject. The students loved the program and had many questions. The other part of the grant was used to supply 49 area classrooms, grades K-4, with subscriptions to Kind News. The feedback we have gotten has been very positive. The publication was well-received and inspired a "kind to animals" conversation. We were excited to bring both of these programs to the students to encourage and educate current and future pet owners and to teach the children how to live in harmony with animals. We thank you very much!!
The grant allowed us to continue an education program for another year at a much larger scale than last year. From this exposure, we had groups outside the classroom come to visit and do some hands-on work with the cats in our shelter. One of these groups was a Boy Scout troop who earned badges. Another was a 4H group who, by their creed, gave back to the community with handmade cat toys. This summer will bring more groups to pitch in for the animals.
An endless number -- these children will take what they have learned about kindness into their future.
The education of youth has an indirect benefit. We'd like to share a story that inspired us to build and expand our education program. It was mid-October when two boys, both about 14 years old, found a mother cat who had been hit by a car and was lying in the street. Around her were her two 4-week-old kittens, huddled against her for warmth. These two boys could have walked away, but they didn't. They had no means to care for the cats and did not know what to do, but they did not walk away. They scooped up the kittens and called WCSPCA. These boys come from a "rough" home life, but something inside of them made them do the right thing. This is what we want to instill in each and every child. The two kittens, Winston and Harmony, are pictured. Although their mother, sadly, passed away, both kittens have been adopted.
A mentorship with Dog Playing for Life in Austin, TX, hosted by Austin Pets Alive!
The mentorship was to guide me to learn the Dog Playing for Life guidelines and playgroups. This has allowed me to come back to my shelter and implement playgroups almost daily. I came back and taught more staff members how to run playgroups so they can continue when I am unable to run a playgroup. Some staff members were here when DPFL came to our shelter, but many of us were not. Going to this mentorship helped me understand how a playgroup runs and how it benefits the dogs in the shelter. It has helped with adoptions as well. We have learned more about the dogs and helped them find homes with that knowledge.
This will help at least 1,000 dogs as we continue through the year
Buddy was a pit bull who came to us as a stray. Pit bulls can be harder to place, as they are pretty common in most shelters. Buddy held out his stray period, was neutered, and then moved to the adoption floor. After healing from his surgery, he was able to be in a playgroup. He did great! After just two playgroups, a gentleman was watching the playgroup and decided Buddy was the dog for him. He adopted him! It was all thanks to the playgroup. The adopter had no dogs at home, and wasn't even looking for a dog when he came by the dog park that day. The playgroup got his attention and Buddy found a home. It was a good day!
We sent two kennel employees to the three-day Dogs Playing for Life mentorship session at Austin Pets Alive! to learn how to integrate our rescue dogs into playgroups safely.
We currently have a kennel facility that houses up to 30 dogs. Most of the dogs in our care at the kennel were not in foster homes due to either unknown or known restrictions with other dogs. They had outside time, but were unsocialized with other dogs. This grant allowed our two staff members to begin integrating rescued street dogs who were once thought to be "dog aggressive" into playgroups ranging from two to eight dogs. This has not only allowed us to reevaluate our dogs' ability to be adopted into a home with other dogs, but has also increased each dog's time spent outside his or her private kennel. We have seen destructive behaviors diminish as well as the dogs' overall temperament improve! These playgroups have allowed us to better present our dogs to potential adopters and adopt out into multi-dog households dogs who before would have been labeled "only-dog."
30-60 currently, but it will continue to help every dog we rescue going forward.
The most dramatic story is about Bo and Gypsy. Bo (the brown-and-white dog in the photos) is actually our rescue mascot. He is the dog on our logo. He was a solitary male out on the streets for over three years before he was rescued. We'd had two encounters with him going after another dog on a lead, so we had deemed him "dog-aggressive." Gypsy (the black dog in the photos) was in a foster home initially and we were told by that foster when she returned to the kennel that she too was dog-aggressive. With the tools gained at the DPFL mentorship session, our two staff members slowly introduced Bo and Gypsy. To everyone's delight, the pair hit it off very well and are now rowdy playmates. Both are still looking for their forever homes.
Meet Gypsy: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/40619435
Meet Bo: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37029153
On January 18, a complex surgery to repair multiple issues was performed by Dr. Dyce of the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical School. Dr. Dyce cut the tibia bone (in the lower leg) in two places. He realigned the angle at the top of the tibia by cutting a wedge out. This will help Wesley's knee function correctly. He also corrected the curvature and twist in the tibia by cutting at the middle of the tibia and inserting a bone graft. This will add to the functionality of the knee and help prevent future arthritis. All of this was initially held together by pins and an external fixator device.
We are now six weeks post-surgery, and just a few days ago Wesley had some of the pins removed, though others remain. He needs to return to OSU and see Dr. Dyce in three weeks. We are hopeful he will have the rest of the fixator removed at that point. The lower wedge osteotomy has signs of healing on both sides. The upper osteotomy is healed on one side and healing is progressing on the other side. The doctor was very, very happy with this. Also, it appears that the kneecap is tracking exactly how it is supposed to be in the knee joint. This grant meant we were able to get a very young and otherwise healthy dog the surgery he needed to have a good quality of life on four legs for the first time, and still be able to take more than 20 dogs in real need into our rescue in the months of December and January. This grant means Wesley will run AND we did not turn any others away while undertaking this significant surgery for him.
Only one directly - Wesley.
Wesley, an American lurcher-type dog (a greyhound/coonhound mix), was bred for the sport of field trial racing, but apparently suffered an injury to the growth plate in his right tibia when he was a puppy. As he grew to adulthood, his tibia became very malformed. Once the field trial racing owner realized that Wesley was suffering from a significant skeletal defect, he contacted us and asked if we could find him a good home. We had consultations with a few vet clinics and opted to pursue TPLO orthopedic surgery with the Ohio State University to give Wesley the best chance of success. Thanks in great part to the generous support of a medical grant from the Petfinder Foundation, Wesley had his complex double-wedge osteotomy just about six weeks ago and and is recovering beautifully in a wonderful, supportive medical foster home. While he is still technically available for adoption at the moment, we have strong applications for a great home for him and feel he will be running on all fours for the first time in his life in his forever home soon. Meet Wesley: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/39885131
To pay off medical bills for Martha and continue her treatment
This grant helped replenish funds after/while treating Martha for multiple pellet wounds to the face.
Martha came in to Animal Control with wounds to the face. As her stay wore on, her face/nose continued to swell. When Half the Way Home pulled her and posted her photo to our Facebook page, someone asked if she was a rabbit! She had two wounds to the nose and a hole in the roof of her mouth. She would eat wet food, and then sneeze it out through her nose and eye. Yes: her eye. She was a mess. Testing was done. Her nose was so big. Could this be a wound plus a tumor or fungus? X-rays showed nothing lodged.
She started her treatment on pain meds, two antibiotics and an inflammatory. This lasted for a month! Then she did another round of antibiotics. Things seemed to be moving along, but there was still swelling in the bridge of her nose, so a fungal test was done. Not a fungus. It was decided she needed a biopsy and nasal flush. That was when we submitted for the grant. We were easily getting more and more in the red. While Martha was under, she was spayed and vetted. Her biopsy results came back benign! Hooray!
So where are we right now? She will likely have chronic sinusitis for the rest of her life, managed by meds as needed. She still has the hole in the roof of her mouth, which the vet thinks will close on its own in the next two months or so. We are going to try her on a trial anti-viral med to see if the sneezing will taper off a bit, and the vet thinks it will aid in the hole closing on its own. If the hole does not close, we will be doing surgery to stitch it.
Martha is not up for adoption at this point. We want to be sure she is in the best possible shape before moving on -- although word on the street is that her foster family is absolutely smitten with her and just may be a foster fail, which would be just fine with us! Thank you for awarding us the emergency medical grant. It enabled us to provide Martha with the care she needed and deserved.