Success Stories

Here are some examples of how your donations are helping shelters and rescue groups, in the organizations’ own words.

Lapcats: Petfinder 20th Anniversary Grant
What was the money or product used for?

We used the majority of the money to pay for medical procedures, vaccines, medication, and flea treatment. We purchased litter for our fosters and made a small purchase of a pet stroller that we are using for visits to senior-living facilities.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant money allowed us to help several cats whose only alternative may have been euthanasia while in the shelter. We also helped three cats stay in their homes who would have either been surrendered to the shelter, surrendered back to Lapcats, or put to sleep: Arthur, Lily, Kobe. We were able to perform dental surgeries on Arthur, Lily, Big Guy, Samuel, Kobe, Penelope, Little Man, Nicholas, and Lonnie. We helped Jesse with medical treatment.

How many pets did this grant help?

Ten so far, but we still have funds left over.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

"It has been four years since I became acquainted with Barbara Doty and Lapcats. I had been looking to adopt a tabby cat, which led me to the Lapcats website. Lily was to be my first indoor-only cat. I had been considering adopting a second cat to keep Lily company. This was also a first for me. When I arrived to meet and bring her home I was told that Lily was bonded with another cat. It was suggested that it would be wonderful for both cats if I adopted them together. That was easy! It was the best decision I could have made. I had always believed the myths about cats being aloof and solitary. It turns out that Lily and Oggie absolutely love each other. When they aren't snuggling up to me, they are cuddling and playing with each other. Who knew?

"I kept in touch with Barbara over the years when I took the cats to her to get their nails trimmed. But I recently got some devastating news: Lily needed extensive and expensive dental work. This is where everything started to go sideways. The vet had spent a few minutes examining her and the majority of the time explaining how much it would cost to fix her teeth. Which was the least expensive: the wellness plan or the a la carte way? It really didn't matter because there was no way I could have afforded any of it. It was going to cost $800-1,000. I kept telling the vet over and over that I didn't have that kind of money as she continued to talk over me. She sent me home with six pages of cost estimates.

"I started to call around to other vets to get other estimates. It was all about that same. I followed the phone calls with internet searches for organizations that might be able to help low-income seniors dealing with this crisis. With no luck there, I cried a lot and considered the possibility of having to surrender my beloved pet. It looked like Lily's dental crisis might be a death sentence.

"Then I thought of Barbara. I sent her an email and asked if she knew of any organizations that might be able to help with these expenses. She emailed back and said that Lapcats would pay for Lily's dental work. I read it twice to make sure I had read it right. My eyes were not deceiving me. This time I cried for joy.

"Thank you, Barbara, for being the compassionate person that you are and for all the tireless and invaluable work you do on behalf of cats. Barbara and Lapcats do much more than connect abandoned and surrendered cats with their new families. Thanks to them and with help from the Petfinder Foundation, they saved my cat's life for the second time!"

Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester and Monroe County: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant
What was the money or product used for?

We purchased supplies and items needed for our humane-education programs, including Tails & Treats (Halloween-themed trick-or-treating on the farm with the animals); Petacular Party gifts; Farm Camp and Future Veterinarians Camp snacks, shirts, craft supplies, crayons, markers, lamination, stethoscopes, etc.; Reading Readiness books; training fees, shirts and name tags for volunteers with Intermountain Therapy Assistance Dogs; and field trip supplies and Girl Scout program supplies such as handouts, course curriculum, coloring books and badges.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Lollypop Farm’s “Learning to Create a Better World” humane-education program has offered a number of opportunities that engage children’s fascination with animals while teaching them compassion and respect for all living things. Kids decorated "cones of joy" for the dogs and cats who need to wear cones after medial procedures. Youth participants made enrichment toys for the dogs and cats in the shelter.

Through Book Buddies, children practiced their reading skills in a non-judgmental, positive environment at the shelter. Our cats are great listeners! Reading to the cats is also beneficial for the kitties themselves: Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing. This program also helps socialize the cats.

Tails and Treats welcomed more than 300 children in a safe alternative to Halloween where families brought their children decked out in their costumes to Lollypop Farm and the children had treats, prizes, and meet-and-greets with animals throughout the event. All of our humane-education programs aim to teach young people about the responsibility of pet ownership and we hope to develop these young people into animal advocates.

How many pets did this grant help?

Hundreds of our shelter animals are impacted by the humane-education programming through reading programs, receiving enrichment toys, etc.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Maxfield has attended Book Buddies since Sept. 8, 2016. He told staff that he does not really love reading in school, but he is starting to enjoying reading books that interest him. Maxfield has talked about his love for animals since the day we first met him at the shelter. His enthusiasm and excitement can be seen in his eyes when he enters the cat room for his Book Buddies reading sessions. Maxfield has become comfortable with the cat staff and volunteers and always has a great sense of humor when he talks about the cats or the book he is reading.

The first photo is of a particularly moving moment during the Book Buddies program. In October, Maxfield came to a BB sessions with an "early reader" chapter book. He explained that he saw the book at his school's Scholastic Book Fair and went on to say, "I am feeling very generous today, so I am going to donate the book to Lollypop Farm when I am done reading it today." This story is not only an example of how Book Buddies is helping struggling readers find a passion for literacy, but also demonstrates that the participants are learning about empathy and philanthropy.

The goal of Lollypop Farm’s Book Buddies program, in which children read to shelter cats, is twofold: to provide kids with a relaxed, judgment-free setting to help them become better and more confident readers, and to socialize and comfort adoptable cats waiting for new homes. When 8-year-old Zach Michael and an 11-year-old cat named Miss CheckMeowt (second and third photos) took part in the program earlier this year, they both got more out of it than anyone had expected. In addition to improving his reading by three grade levels, Zach found a feline friend for life and Miss CheckMeowt got a new home.

Miss CheckMeowt was brought to Lollypop Farm in February 2016 when her elderly owner moved to a nursing home. When Book Buddies cats were chosen, she didn’t make the shortlist. “She wasn’t the most warm, welcoming cat to everyone who encountered her -- she had kind of a feisty personality,” says Kim Ferris-Church, humane education manager. But when Zach, who had recently participated in the Book Buddies pilot program, met Miss CheckMeowt during Lollypop Farm’s February school break camp, he liked her right away. Animal Care Supervisor Nick Lapresi agreed to make her a Book Buddies cat after all.

Lapresi made the right call: Zach loved reading to Miss CheckMeowt, and she came out of her shell, says Ferris-Church. “It was almost like they were meant to be together. We were seeing a different side of her that the cat staff had not seen before.” Zach felt such a strong connection to Miss CheckMeowt that the staff said he could come see her anytime. Every week, Zach would say to his parents, Renee and Larry, “It would be great if we could bring Miss Check Meowt home, but I know we can’t.”

Zach’s parents had already been thinking about getting him a therapy animal because of his ADHD and other special needs. “Animals just seem to bring out this very calm side of him, this very loving side, no matter how upset he is,” says Renee. But they had pictured a young dog or cat -- not one who was 11 years old. Still, Zach loved Miss Check Meowt, so Renee and Michael met with Lollypop Farm staff to secretly arrange the adoption. To get him to the shelter to give him the good news, they used the ruse of another reading session. In the touching video of the surprise, which Lollypop Farm shared on Facebook, Renee talks to Zach about Miss CheckMeowt and asks, “How would you feel if you found out we adopted her for you?” He answers, “I’d be very happy!” When Renee says, “She’s coming home with us today,” he doesn’t believe her, but she assures him it’s true. “No way,” he says, and: “Very funny.” When Zach finally realizes his parents are serious, Miss CheckMeowt seems to understand, meowing loudly while she walks over to him. He gently pets her on the head and then hugs his mom and dad. Three months after her arrival, Miss CheckMeowt had a new home.

Miss CheckMeowt has adjusted well to her new life and gets along with the family’s two other cats, Momo Kitty and Samantha. She sleeps in Zach’s bed, and they have fun together. “I’ll play with her toys and she’ll jump up and get them,” he says. We have also included another photo of children reading to a cat during Book Buddies (fourth photo).

Nebraska Boston Terrier Rescue: Sponsor a Pet
What was the money or product used for?

We use all money from the Sponsor a Pet program for medical care for our dogs.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

It provided eye medication for a Frenchie in need.

How many pets did this grant help?

1

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

This is Zuzu. She came from a puppymill. She had really bad dry eyes and rotten teeth along with other infections and issues. We got her spayed, vaccinated, wormed, and microchipped and had all her medical issues taken care of and she is doing well today and was adopted.

Ark-Valley Humane Society: Susie's Senior Dogs Grant (Invitation Only)
What was the money or product used for?

Adoption fee reimbursement: $100 ($100 paid for by grant)
Superchem w/CBC bloodwork & processing fee: $85.22 ($80 paid for by grant)
Dental cleaning $264.70 ($250 paid for by grant)
4 Skin Excisions of fatty tumor and sebaceous cyst $206 ($150 paid for by grant)

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant provided us the majority of funds to address Honey's medical needs, making her more adoptable and healthy at the time of going into her home. By offsetting our expenses, this grant has made it easier for us to help senior dogs in the future reach good health while in our care.

How many pets did this grant help?

1

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Honey was a nearly 12-year-old dog who needed bloodwork, a dental, a lumpectomy of a fatty tumor and removal of a sebaceous cyst. She was adopted by a woman who operates a rescue for miniature horses. This woman was specifically looking for an older dog and was so appreciative of the procedures provided to Honey to get her to good health and the sponsored adoption fee. This home was a great fit. We have since followed up with her and Honey is doing great in her new home!

AVHS Executive Director Jonathan McDonell says, "We are so grateful that the Petfinder Foundation, through their support of Ark-Valley Humane Society, was able to ensure Honey, a senior dog, received much-needed dental surgery which we believe will vastly improve her quality of life and overall health – thank you Petfinder Foundation!"

Newberg Animal Shelter: Orvis Animal Care Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The Orvis grant money was used to pay for vaccinations for dogs processed and adopted out of Newberg Animal Shelter.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The Orvis grant helped Newberg Animal Shelter with vaccination costs, which will help us afford to process more dogs with appropriate vaccinations prior to adoption.

How many pets did this grant help?

41

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Joker (first photo) is a 6-year-old hound/shepherd who was with us from Dec. 9-28, 2016. His human dad passed away and his mom moved into a nursing facility. Joker was adopted by a retired couple who submitted a letter of intent to tell us about themselves and ask to adopt Joker. Joker is now a city dog and belongs to a private off-leash dog park. He has two human "grandsons" that he plays well with. Five weeks into his adoption, Kathy, his new mom, emailed us photos of him enjoying his new home (second photo), saying, “Joker is a very sweet dog. He has been making great strides in adjusting from country life to city life and is more comfortable with the people, dogs, traffic, and sounds. He is a delight to have around our home. Our two grandsons adore him, and he is kind and playful with them. We enjoy watching him and his new encounters!”

Jetta (third photo) is a 1-year-old Chihuahua who was with us from Dec. 7-24, 2016. Jetta came in as a terrified stray. She had spent a week out in the winter cold with no food in someone’s back yard before they finally brought her in to look for the owner. Her owner was never found. Jetta hid under blankets and fear-nipped for the first week or so. We got her weight back up and earned her trust, although she was still shy. Jetta was spayed and vaccinated and put up for adoption. A wonderfully patient woman from a town 45 miles away drove out and sat with Jetta until she earned Jetta’s trust.

Carrie, Jetta’s new mom, emailed photos of her and says, “Jetta is spoiled rotten, thinks she has to have all the attention, and sleeps in the middle of the bed. She is completely different from when we first brought her home. She also has a little attitude if you leave her. She gets mad and dumps her food and water bowl over. I love her to death, and she has somehow accumulated a million toys!”

Buddy (fourth photo) is a 5-year-old Newfoundland/black Lab mix who was with us from Dec. 12-31, 2016. Shelter manager Sarah Williams-Jarred says, “Buddy is my favorite Christmas story this year.” Buddy came to us as a stray. He was half-bald and emaciated due to malnutrition and poor living conditions. He had chewed through the steel cable hanging around his neck to free himself, resulting in a broken incisor. Buddy was a well-mannered boy. He got along well with other dogs, was respectful of cats, and adored children. He had never been housebroken and was afraid of his own reflection. With good food, a neuter, a dental, and loving care, Buddy quickly emerged as an affectionate dog who was eager to please, and was adopted before the New Year. We think he knew exactly what he was doing when he chewed through his cable. He did not want to face another year of neglect, so he found his way to us, knowing we would get him into a loving home.

Paw Printz Pitbull Rescue: KONG Toy Grant
What was the money or product used for?

I tossed them on the floor for the 20 dogs to play with.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

Cleo is 14 years old and has had double hip surgery, so she lies around and chews a lot.

How many pets did this grant help?

1

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Cleopatra is 14 years old and has had double hip surgery, so she lies around and chews a lot. From her Petfinder profile: "Cleo is a senior at 14 years old. She is all personality. She likes to talk, and she will sing with you. She adores people and is friendly to all dogs, but no cats. If you are sitting down, she will come over and put her head on your lap. If that doesn't get your attention, she will poke you with her nose. She has that wonderful big bully smile. You can't help but smile when you look at her. She loves to chase -- a laser pointer is her favorite, but she will chase after a ball as well, only she has no idea what to do when she gets to it, so she turns around (without the ball, of course) and runs back to her person with a big smile on her face and her tail wagging a mile a minute. If we could figure out how to hook something up to that tail, we could generate enough energy to run a small town! It never stops wagging -- even in her sleep! She is a happy, happy dog and makes all those around her happy as well.

"Cleopatra is crate-trained, housetrained, microchipped, current of her shots and knows basic obedience. She can also catch treats tossed at her. She loves her food and would happily search the kitchen floor for dropped goodies if you let her."

Meet Cleo: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/18910818

Sally Wetherbee Adoption Center: KONG Toy Grant
What was the money or product used for?

We used our product grant to provide extra enrichment and stress-relief to our residents.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

This grant allowed us to use toys that we otherwise would not have been able to purchase to provide enrichment for our dogs.

How many pets did this grant help?

16

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Stella is 2-year-old female bulldog who was having anxiety issues after weaning her last litter of puppies. She was very destructive and was having frequent panic attacks. Our vet had her on a low dose of anxiety medicine that did not seem to help. We began filling the Kong toys with peanut butter and freezing them overnight to give to Stella and the other pups the next day. After a few days of receiving her peanut butter Kong and playing with other Kong toys outside, her stress levels came down noticeably. She is still working toward being stress-free but has made great progress!

Volunteers of Hernando Animal Shelter: Orvis Animal Care Grant
What was the money or product used for?

We purchased a Canon EOS Rebel camera.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant enables volunteers to take wonderful photos of the pets in our care. These quality photos are used to advertise pets for adoption, raise funds for vet care and much more.

How many pets did this grant help?

Currently 30, but the number will continue to grow.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

George Michael was adopted a few days after this awesome photo, taken with the Canon Rebel, was posted. George Michael is a very handsome guy but is a bit shy with strangers. He didn't have a lot of luck at adoption events due to this, but he was able to find the perfect home due to VOHAS receiving the Orvis grant from the Petfinder Foundation.

Whitman County Humane Society: KONG Toy Grant
What was the money or product used for?

The KONG grant was used for enrichment of both our dogs and cats.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

It improved (and continues to improve) the quality of our pets' stays by providing mental stimulation with a fun way to receive food and treats.

How many pets did this grant help?

10 and counting!

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Franklin, our 1.5-year-old black Lab (first photo), has been adopted. As you can see from the photo, he quite enjoyed his KONG toys. Like most young black Labs, Franklin really needed a lot of physical and mental stimulation. With the KONG grant, we were able to feed him all of his food in KONGs (as he also gobbled food down quickly) and give him lots of toy options.

Kismet (second photo) is our long-term resident. She has been deemed "dangerous" in the state of Washington due to her reactivity towards other dogs. However, she is the absolute sweetest. Because she has been a shelter guest for so long, she's been getting more anxious and stir-crazy. With the help of the KONG grant, she's able to focus her energy on something other than her anxiety. Since the KONG grant, we've seen a significant decrease in her anxious tendencies, such as over-grooming. Meet Kismet: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/36735499.

Nicholas (third photo) is another long-term resident, as he is FIV-positive. Nicholas LOVES food and tends to chow down quickly, with a subsequent upset tummy from eating so quickly. Cats also need proper mental stimulation, so using the small KONGs, we were able to kill two birds with one stone and feed Nicholas his food in a KONG. Nicholas absolutely loves batting around the KONG and chasing the food bits as they fly out. Meet Nicholas: www.petfinder.com/petdetail/36896497

Homeless Animals Rescue Team: Emergency Medical Grant
What was the money or product used for?

Rescued from a rural shelter, Cindy had a leg that was deformed due to an old injury. After she was injured, her owner chose to refuse vet care and instead splint the leg. This led to fracture disease. Fracture disease, a complication of fracture treatment and immobilization, is defined as atrophy of bone, soft tissue, nails, skin, and cartilage. This condition is most often seen in dogs with quadriceps contracture, also known as quadriceps "tie down," stiff stifle, post-trauma stifle stiffness, hyperextended stifle and hindlimb rigidity. Cindy's "rigid" hind leg became a nuisance, getting in the way of her ability to sit, stand and walk. It also put pressure on her hips and caused her daily pain. HART used the Petfinder Foundation grant to help pay for Cindy's amputation surgery and recovery.

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The Petfinder Foundation grant enabled HART to give Cindy life-changing surgery without compromising the care of other needy dogs.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant directly helped Cindy, but enabled HART to continue to rescue other needy dogs and cats.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Cindy suffered for most of her short life in silence. At just 7 months old, the young Sheltie mix was seized from a home where the residents thought they could care for a dozen dogs. Unfortunately, they couldn't provide adequate care for any of them. When Animal Control found Cindy, she had a badly deformed leg that seemed to get in her way, making it difficult to walk, sit, and stand from a sit. Since Cindy had little control of her bum leg, it also tended to get caught and bump into things as she moved. Animal Control had been told that the leg was a genetic malformation, but as soon as HART saw a video of her, we thought otherwise.

We rushed to rescue Cindy (filling our van with a few other dogs and cats while we were at the shelter) and got her to our vet immediately. What our vet found was disturbing. X-rays indicated that Cindy had suffered a traumatic injury such as being hit by a car. Her left hip had deteriorated and was permanently dislocated; her hock (ankle) was completely fused and immobile, and her muscles and tendons were rigid. Based on the position of the bones in her leg, it was clear that somebody had known of her injury and put her in a homemade splint rather than seeking the medical care she so urgently needed. That means they had known she was suffering, they had known she must have been in terrible pain, but they didn't get her any help.

The homemade splint allowed the bones to heal in abnormal positions and caused the muscles to freeze in place, making the leg a rigid peg (see first photo). It also didn't address her dislocated hip, which must have caused her constant pain ever since the injury occurred.

Cindy was examined by an orthopedic surgeon on Oct. 21, 2016, to determine the best course of action to ease her pain. He realized immediately that her injured leg was causing pressure on her sciatic nerve, which compounded her pain and her difficulty walking and standing. Cindy had surgery immediately that afternoon to amputate her damaged leg, and a miraculous thing happened: Only hours after her surgery, she was standing and moving and HAPPY!

Within days she was running and playing with some doggie friends, and only 10 days later, she found her forever home with one of her very generous supporters. Now Cindy lives in sunny Florida with her new brother, HART alum Lucky (second photo), and she is enjoying every day of her life -- pain free.