Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.
The 10 Chill Pad mats were used to provide comfort to shelter pets during their stay with us.
Latte (pictured here with Lily, who came to us in July, pregnant, and later gave birth to seven kittens) came in after being found stray with three siblings in an abandoned house in the beginning of December. It didn't take her long (three weeks) to get scooped up by a loving family.
We used the $22.50 to for almost two days of care for one of our adoptable dogs! That includes "incoming" vaccinations such as kennel cough and a combo distemper/parvo inoculation, as well as food, a clean, heated kennel and cozy place to relax.
Every time we get in money from the Petfinder Foundation's Sponsor a Pet program, it's money that we don't have to solicit, so we are able to expend our resources more effectively. We house many pets, so a day or two of care goes a long way when we get multiple grants and donations!
One super sweet guy named Mitch
"I adopted Mitch a couple weeks ago and he is perfect. We are best friends and inseparable. He loves going to work at the farm with me and loves going on long walks on the trails without his leash. Chasing pheasants makes 10-year-old Mitch feel like a puppy again. He is on some supplements for his arthritis and allergies, which are helping so much and making him so much more comfortable. Thank you for getting us together; everyone keeps telling me that Mitch is so lucky that he won the doggy lottery, but I'm the lucky one. He's my best friend and he's so excited that we finally found some daily treats that he loves. I loved the adoption facility -- it was so clean and the staff were so friendly and helpful. Just wanted to say that Mitch is doing great and thank you for everything you guys do!" --Regan Casserly
The money donated for Poppy was used for her vaccinations. She had had none before coming into rescue.
It helped to pay for her vaccinations.
Poppy had part of her vaccinations paid for by the $22.50 we received.
So far, grant funds have been used to purchase a curriculum package for the No More Bullying! program we have implemented at our shelter. The curriculum package is designed for grades 3-5 and includes a 227-page facilitator's guide with detailed lesson plans, full-color student journals, flashcard sets and a USB flash drive that includes all three grade-level materials as well as all program marketing materials. We are currently putting together Humane Care Packs to distribute to students that include educational workbooks and information, coloring books, training clickers, etc. We are also going to purchase two new donation bins that can be dropped off at schools for donation drives. We plan on bringing the bins into schools and having the kids get involved by helping us decorate them as well as educating them about the needs we have at the shelter and how the donations will impact the animals in our care. We are also working on creating a custom video to play during our classroom presentations that highlights the work we do and the services we offer to the community.
No More Bullying Curriculum Package: $600
Humane Care Packs: $300
Donation Bins: $100
Travel expenses to and from schools: $35 (so far)
We were thrilled to receive this grant through the Petfinder Foundation and Build A Bear! We believe humane education is an incredible tool that empowers youth to be empathetic and kind to all living beings. We know there is a direct correlation between people who abuse animals and people who abuse other people, and we believe that helping foster kind and compassionate attitudes towards animals may help children develop healthy and compassionate attitudes towards people as well. We have teamed up with local elementary schools in our area to bring our No More Bullying! program into classrooms all over town! We begin by educating children in the community about responsible pet ownership and the incredible and rewarding bond between animals and people.
Educating young people in the community, we believe, can change perceptions and instill meaningful and humane values for the next generation. Not only have children gained confidence in themselves, they have also become positive role models in the community and advocates for both owned and shelter animals. Many classrooms have set up donation drives for us that have directly benefited the animals in our care. We have also had many children from our classroom visits join our Reading to Pets program. The shelter can be a very stressful place and this program helps to reduce anxiety and bring comfort to the animals while building confidence and literacy skills in children.
Many of the children involved in classroom presentations have come to the shelter with their families to view our animals, and several of them have ended up adopting a pet from us! The children involved in this program are such great advocates for the shelter and seem to really enjoy learning about what we do and how they can help. This program has also helped to change perceptions in the community and educate the public about the important work that we do and why we need their support.
Countless pets! Not only did this grant help pets in our shelter, it also helped many owned pets in the community!
During a recent classroom visit, our humane-education coordinator mentioned our Reading to Pets program and encouraged the kids to get involved. We sent home information about the program and a family came in the next week with their young son to read to our pets for the first time. He had brought with him a book from home and shyly walked into the cat room and started petting kittens. His mother shared with us that he was having a difficult time learning to read and was very self-conscious about it. He couldn't read aloud in the classroom and became anxious if someone was listening while he was trying to read.
All of a sudden, the mother looked up and saw her son sitting on the floor in our cat colony surrounded by kittens. He was comfortably reading aloud to the kittens without stumbling over his words, and the kittens were happily lounging in his lap listening to the story. The kittens have all since been adopted and the young boy still comes in to read to our animals.
Several months ago, we received an emaciated dog who had been found living in a dark and disgusting garage with her eight puppies. She was very timid with people, but warmed up quickly in her loving foster home. Her eight puppies grew quickly and found new homes of their own. One of those puppies was adopted by our humane educator and is now about as spoiled as any dog could be! Less than a year old, Elsa is an incredibly sweet dog who gets along with everyone and loves meeting new people.
Not only is Elsa is a fantastic shelter ambassador, she is now in training to become a Classroom Companion. She will attend classroom presentations with our humane educator and interact with children in grades 3-5. In addition to being incredibly sweet and gentle, she is also a pit-bull mix, which we hope will help dispel negative stereotypes surrounding the breed. We have found that there are many children in the community who are actually fearful of dogs. Many of them have had bad experiences with dogs or have owned a dog who was "mean." It's a sad reality that there are many dogs in the community who are simply used for breeding or tied up outside without much interaction with their family. We hope that Elsa can change perceptions for many of the children she meets and help them realize the incredible bond that exists between people and animals.
On Sept. 11, 2017, Hurricane Irma came through Clay County, bringing torrential rains and high winds. Just two days earlier, a “nor’easter” had hit, so we already saturated by the time Irma passed through. Almost 4' of water came inside our shelter, which was just enough to topple the air-conditioning units, file cabinets and refrigerators. Our furniture and counters, including the lobby and the med room, were ruined. The computers were soaked. Everywhere you could see food, papers, and medical supplies floating. Even our floor was ruined. The smell was horrendous and mold was growing everywhere.
With the help of the grant from the Petfinder Foundation, we were able to have our floors refurbished throughout the entire shelter, including the dog kennels and cat rooms. After removing all the old coatings and dirt, a new epoxy was applied and finished with a high-performance urethane. The floors are in much better condition than before, not only aesthetically -- they are also more sanitary. It has made a world of difference to the look of the shelter. It is much more inviting and professional-looking. Everyone comments on how nice we look!
We currently house up to 35 dogs and 50 cats. We reopened our shelter on Dec. 2 and have already adopted about 80 animals.
Our new floors haven't helped one particular pet but rather all of them (third photo). They have a comfortable place to walk and lie. The floors are easier to clean and there is no peeling paint and no cracks where bacteria can hide and cause illnesses.
Sponsorship of pets' care
Purchase of medication for pets
Lenya is still available for adoption. She is in foster care. She has special needs that requires medication. From her Petfinder profile: "Leyna arrived to UPAWS after her beloved owner fell ill and was no longer able to care for her. Leyna is longing to find find a new home where she can be loved and spoiled for the rest of her days. She appears to get along with most other respectful canines and people. What she would love most is a new, loving companion that she can devote herself to. Can you be the retirement home that Leyna longs for? With Leyna's age, she does have some medications that are necessary to keep her happy and healthy. UPAWS will help to cover the cost of these medications during the transition to her new home. Three months of Leyna's medication will be offered with her adoption. Leyna is currently in an Adoption Ambassador foster home. You can visit her in her foster home and complete the adoption off-site -- no need to come to the shelter. How cool is that?!" Meet her: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/38449423
Your donation funded almost all (16 out of 18) of the Humane IQ programs taught since the beginning of this school year. Program costs included bus transportation for the students to visit our shelter and materials and resources given to the teachers and students. Students were given folders, bookmarks, activity books, bracelets with our Animal Cruelty Taskforce hotline number on them and a classroom subscription to Kind News, a bimonthly humane-education publication for youth. Since the start of this 2017-2018 school year:
Participating Schools: Nine schools from four targeted districts
Total # of programs taught: 18. This includes nine shelter field trips and nine outreach assemblies
Children Taught: 2,992 children in grades K-6, and an immeasurable number of teachers and parents. (384 field-trip participants and 2,608 school-assembly participants)
Your grant helped the pets in our care in several ways. It allowed us to bring 384 fifth and sixth graders from disadvantaged schools to visit our shelter to learn about the plight of animals in our community, to connect with them and develop empathy for our shelter animals; it also gave them the unique opportunity to read to them while providing comfort and companionship.
In addition, the students who visited felt compelled to rise to our challenge and organize donation drives at their schools. Their school-wide participation resulted in thousands of donated stuffed animals (cage buddies), towels and blankets that were put to immediate use comforting the animals in our shelter.
During these last few months, we have had many animals in our shelter who were transported here by our Disaster Response Teams following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. These animals were brought here to make room in shelters for displaced animals in the hurricane-ravaged areas. As you can imagine, many of these animals were shy and frightened and many of them were heartworm-positive and needed weeks of treatment. These animals really benefited from the companionship and compassion the students demonstrated while visiting and reading to them.
We average about 100 dogs, cats and critters on the adoption floor on any given day, and these animals would have been the ones directly benefiting from the personal attention and companionship of the students.
Schwarzenegger stayed at HSMO for a while. As he awaited his forever family, he benefited from the children reading to our shelter animals. From his STLToday Pet of the Week posting: "Schwarzenegger is a spunky 2-year-old pit bull terrier with a soft, golden coat and a love for all of his human friends. This muscular pup has the brains to match the brawn, and already knows how to sit on command. With his intelligence and eager-to-please personality, he could certainly be taught to do more! Schwarzenegger walks well on a leash, and has shown a preference for going outside to use the bathroom while at the Humane Society of Missouri. Schwarzenegger will be the perfect family dog!" Schwarzenegger finally found his forever home at the very end of September. His adoption photo is at right.
Kong products were given to our foster families to give to our rescues dogs while they wait for their forever homes.
The Kong toys helped our rescue dogs adjust to their new lives in foster homes. They were filled with treats and peanut butter and the dogs enjoyed them for hours. The Kongs kept them occupied and provided the simulation they needed in their time of need. Some of them were frozen to provide an extended time of play.
Sandy (first photo) is a 3-month-old Lab mix who was rescued from a backyard breeder with six of her siblings. The breeder had sold three of their littermates, and kept Sandy and her remaining siblings outside all day. After they were rescued, Sandy was the last to be adopted and needed some comfort while she waited for the perfect home. The stuffed Kong provided her comfort while she waited. She has been adopted.
Boey (second photo) was our southern pup who was found wondering along the side of a highway. He was young and needed a lot of attention while he adjusted. The Kong provided him with simulation while he waited for his forever family.
Coco (third photo) was surrendered by her owner after four years along, with her sibling, Pebbles, an 8-year-old Morkie. The Kong provided Coco with some simulation while she waited for her forever home without her sister, who was adopted by another family.
Sonny (fourth photo) is our prize pup who was found wondering the streets of Philly with numerous injuries, including a head contusion. He loves his Kong so much that he spends hours playing with it trying to get the frozen treats filled with peanut butter out of it. He has been adopted.
Grant funds paid the tuition for Destiny Bennett to attend the Dogs Playing for Life mentorship in Longmont, Colorado.
Destiny Bennett gained a great deal of knowledge on how to implement playgroups through the mentorship. Though an animal-care tech when she attended, Destiny was promoted to kennel manager within two weeks of her return to the shelter. Destiny described the experience as having completely changed her perspective on caring for dogs in a shelter. Not only did she learn how to conduct playgroups, she also learned that, through playgroups, we can save more animals by getting a better assessment of barrier reactions and dog-dog interactions. Prior to attending, behavioral assessments of dog aggression were performed only with leashed dogs. Dogs showing aggression during these assessments were often euthanized. Based on the training, assessment of dog aggression can be done safely without barriers giving a skewed perspective on the dog's true behavior. Destiny is teaching the staff and volunteers to look beyond the barrier frustration to see the dog's true personality. We now place these dogs on the adoption floor, and convey information about barrier-based behavior to potential adopters and encourage them to meet the dog outside the kennel.
Learning how to safely conduct playgroups has, of course, given us the ability to get dogs out for socialization and exercise. This has reduced stress and barking in the kennels, improving conditions for all the dogs and making the kennels more appealing for potential adopters to linger. Playgroups have kept dogs from getting kennel-stressed during extended stays.
Destiny’s experience during the mentorship gave her the skills to better know the shelter dogs and facilitate meet-and-greets with potential adopters’ current dogs. Thus we have discouraged several problematic matches, with the confidence that our dog could safely and sanely wait for the right home – and we recognized a good match when that family arrived.
Beyond these dog-specific skills, Destiny’s participation has given her additional leadership skills, taught her better teamwork skills with strangers including communicating as a leader, offered her the chance to experience another animal shelter and spend time among dog trainers. Playgroups have provided a better setting for teaching dog behavior to staff, building volunteer involvement, and improving the public’s perception of shelter care. Destiny’s mentorship has been a catalyst for tremendous improvement at Saving Grace. We are very grateful, and have renewed energy for continuing our efforts.
Directly, at least 50 dogs have benefited thus far. This number continues to grow as playgroups continue, and the indirect benefits to other dogs are innumerable.
Artemis was surrendered by her owner in a basket muzzle. Her owner stated that she couldn't digest food properly and would eat anything without the muzzle. Without vet records supporting this claim, we evaluated the emaciated dog and started her on a re-feeding regimen. During this slow process, Artemis was able to go out to play. For the young husky/saluki mix, exercise and socialization were vital to keeping her happy and socialized. Though she was extremely stressed when she first arrived, Artemis's behavior improved during her stay, as did her health. After almost six weeks in our care, Artemis was declared ready for adoption. Today, in fact, was her adoption day! Artemis had a very successful meet-and-greet with two senior dachshunds. They were less than excited about meeting such a large, bouncy dog, but Artemis had learned a great deal in playgroups and respected their rebuff. She turned her playful attentions to the humans, and a match was made! Thank you for the training to implement playgroups, which gave our staff (and our dogs) the skills to save lives like Artemis's. Her Petfinder profile: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/40357299
We used the grant money to get eight adoptable dogs spayed/neutered.
Grant funds helped us make our dogs more adoptable by allowing us to get eight dogs spayed and neutered prior to adoption. Dogs who have already been fixed are always easier to find homes for because they involve less expense for the adopter, who would otherwise be required to pay for their new dog to be fixed. Additionally, adopters prefer to adopt animals who have already been fixed because they have fewer behavioral problems, such as inappropriate elimination and aggression. Of the eight dogs whom we got fixed with this grant money, five have already been adopted.
Jax is a 13-year-old pit-bull mix we pulled from a neighboring shelter. The shelter we took Jax from was very full and didn't think they would be able to find a home for him because of his age. In addition to being 13, Jax was also deaf and had never been neutered. Despite these strikes against him, Jax was a real sweetheart who deserved a second chance. After Jax came to our shelter, we noticed that he wasn't getting much interest. Generally, older dogs are harder to place, but it is especially difficult to adopt out a senior dog who hasn't been fixed. We decided to use the Petfinder Foundation grant funds to get Jax neutered and increase his chance of adoption. Sure enough, Jax was adopted a few weeks after being neutered! We would like to thank the Petfinder Foundation for helping Jax find his forever home! I am including pictures of Jax in the shelter and after he was adopted.