Save the Lives of Shelter Pets in North America

by Petfinder Foundation
Magnum had been abused and neglected
Magnum had been abused and neglected

We grant KONG toys to animal shelters and rescue groups, as well as cash to build or equip outdoor play yards. Why? For one thing, toys that provide shelter dogs with physical and mental stimulation while they're in their kennels (KONGs are indestructable, stuffable and easy to sterilize) and space to run, train and socialize while they're out of their kennels are critical to keeping shelter dogs happy and healthy. 

In addition, we've found that having access to toys and play actually helps homeless dogs become more adoptable. These tools not only maintain the physical and mental health that are at risk in a shelter environment, they can be incredibly therapeutic to the many dogs who arrive at shelters with serious psychological, behavioral and/or health issues. Here are just a few examples of the incredible power of play:

Magnum, a rottweiler, had been neglected and abused before he was rescued by Stray Animal Adoption Program in Newport, Ky. As a result, this hulking boy was too frightened to interact with people. But his loving and dedicated foster family introduced him to our granted KONGs and, using the toys as tools, succeeded in getting Magnum to come out of his shell and learn to trust people. He is now happily in his forever home! Read Magnum's story.

Jeannie arrived at Humane Society of the Ouachitas in Mena, Ark., as a puppy with a case of chronic Demodectic mange. At the shelter, the Australian cattle dog mix was extremely excitable and developed sores on her skin from chewing on herself. She was taken in by a foster home, where she has greatly benefited from her KONG. It has provided an appropriate outlet for her chewing and she loves to play with it. She now knows the commands sit, shake, roll over, down, and her favorite one: toy! She will bring you her KONG to play with. When she finds her forever home, it will have to be one with a KONG! Meet Jeannie. Read her story.

This great Dane/Lab mix had severe anxiety when he arrived in the care of Ruff Start Rescue in Princeton, Minn. He had been held at a local animal control for 30 days and lost a lot of weight due to stress. He was so scared, he ran away from his foster family and even jumped their fence to get distance from them. He was afraid of loud noises and barked at other dogs. His foster parents gave him a KONG because it was the only toy he could not destroy; they also filled it with peanut butter and froze it for use when thunderstorms were approaching. Jacksen has since gained weight, is building trust with his foster family, and has learned to sit patiently for his KONG. He has also started to ignore passing dogs when the KONG is present, and is much less stressed by the sound of thunder. Meet Jacksen. Read his story.

Panda was left to die in a crate in an abandoned building. She had been there for some time before she was rescued, and was terrified when she arrived at Adopt-A-Dog, Inc., in Armonk, NY. Normally, shelter staff would socialize new dogs by bringing them to new locations and having them meet people at events. Panda, however, was just too shut-down to enjoy going off-property. Having the enrichment yard equipped by a Petfinder Foundation grant gave Panda a chance to explore new things on safe ground. She was initially scared of all the new materials, but each day she came out of her shell more and more until she had enough confidence to finally go off-property. Now Panda can go on adventures to the beach, and when her forever family finds her, she will be ready to go home with them with confidence! Meet Panda. Read her story.

Thank you for your donations, which help us improve the quality of life of thousands of shelter dogs and enable them to find loving, forever homes!

Jeannie had mange and chewed herself sore
Jeannie had mange and chewed herself sore
Jacksen suffered from severe anxiety
Jacksen suffered from severe anxiety
Panda was left to die in an abandoned building
Panda was left to die in an abandoned building


HSWC reunited this dog and owner post-evacuation.
HSWC reunited this dog and owner post-evacuation.

With Texas and Oklahoma battling deadly floods, the Petfinder Foundation is rushing funds to animal shelters and rescue groups to help save the lives of pets in the affected regions. Please donate today so that we can continue to provide assistance!

Here are just a few of the ways we’re helping:

Caring for Evacuees’ Pets
The staff of just five people at the Humane Society of Wichita County in Wichita Falls, Texas, has been working around the clock to care for the pets of families who’ve had to evacuate — and the shelter desperately needed funds to pay for staff overtime and extra utilities (the Petfinder Foundation is one of the few national organizations that gives cash grants to pay staff for overtime hours during times of disaster).

“We started taking in evacuees’ animals at 11 p.m. Wednesday night [May 20],” shelter Director Cheryl Miller tells us. “As the days went on and the city zoned more areas for flooding, we took in as many as we could house. We wanted to be here for our community if and when it needed us, so we kept the shelter open and are having to pay the staff overtime.”

H.S. Wichita County, which usually houses 70 animals, has already taken in an additional 51 dogs and cats. The shelter is strictly donor-funded, and our grant of $2,000 will help cover the costs of staff overtime and additional water and electric bills.

Repairing Flooded Kennels
The storms and flooding in Central Texas caused major damage to Etosha Rescue & Adoption Center in Seguin, Texas. Assistant Director Julie Mitchell tells us, “Our kennels are flooded with six inches of water. Wind damage destroyed several outdoor kennels, the two main gates to the facility, windows in the main building, and a window a/c unit for the indoor dogs. We need loads of sand or gravel to raise the ground level in the outdoor kennels, tarps for shelter, mosquito spray, flea shampoo, paper towels, sheets and blankets for dry bedding, other dog supplies, a new a/c unit, and window replacements.”

With help from our $2,000 grant, the shelter “will safely rebuild the kennels for the outdoor dogs, raise the ground level so the dogs will be dry, secure the facility again with new front gates, treat all dogs for flea infestation, and provide cooling for the indoor dogs,” Mitchell says. “We hope to restore the facility to ensure safety and good living conditions for our dogs, safe from standing water, heat, and flea infestation.”

Feeding Hungry Horses
One surprising result of the floods has been a hardship in acquiring much-needed hay for horses. Cheri White Owl, president of Horse Feathers Equine Center in Guthrie, Okla., tells us, “Hay costs have risen due to our having to secure sources outside of our normal ones. Flooding has delayed hay cutting and production; some suppliers have lost hay due to flooding. We are having to go to higher-priced suppliers to meet our needs.”

Our grant of $1,500 will provide Horse Feathers’ rescued horses with 25 high-quality bales of hay. “This will allow us to continue feeding the horses and maintaining their body weight and health,” White Owl says, which is critical to both horses waiting to be adopted and those who are lifelong sanctuary residents.

Protecting Outdoor Dogs
An outdoor-only facility, Heart of Texas SPCA in San Antonio suffered damage to its kennels from high winds and heavy rain, including broken kennel frames, ripped tarps and flooding.

Director Paula Oberle tells us, “Many of the dogs who lost their canopy coverage were standing in mud and water with nowhere to go. We did manage to bring a few inside until the water receded, but more rain is coming. We need new canopies as soon as possible.”

With our $1,000 grant, Heart of Texas “will purchase the heavy-duty canopies and set them up ASAP to protect the dogs,” Oberle says.

Keeping Momma Dogs and Puppies Safe
Missy’s Haven Canine Rescue in San Antonio received heavy winds, rain and lightning, and suffered damage to fencing used to keep the dogs contained, water damage to a food-storage building and the loss of an air-conditioning unit due to power surge. Our $2,000 grant will allow the group to “rebuild the containment area and provide a/c to our building for moms and babies,” says President Michelle Holmes.

Replacing Ruined Dog Food
The only building damaged by flooding at OK Save a Dog in Prague, Okla., was the one that stored all the food. Our $1,000 grant will help the organization purchase a month’s worth of food as well as a secure building in which to store it.

Boarding Pets After a Foster Home is Destroyed
A foster home housing pets for Tejas Rescued Pet Adoptions in San Antonio was severely flooded, meaning its human residents and 25 dogs and cats had to evacuate, with the pets going to a boarding facility until the damage is repaired.

“The pets’ location was flooded with four feet of water,” Director Tonette Webb says, “causing extensive damage to floors, walls and kennels. Mud is covering the floors now and all will need to be disinfected, cleaned and replaced before the pets can come back here. All adoptable pets are in a fee-based boarding facility until then. The estimate for boarding time is two weeks, depending on clean-up.”

Our $2,000 grant will help pay for the boarding as well as clean-up of the pets’ living space. “We will save our adoptable pets, safe now in boarding, and clean their kennels and replace beds and food,” Webb says.

Please donate now to help us continue to help shelters and rescue groups affected by flooding in Texas and Oklahoma!

Rocky is at Etosha Rescue and Adoption Center.
Rocky is at Etosha Rescue and Adoption Center.
Lucky is with Horse Feathers Equine Center.
Lucky is with Horse Feathers Equine Center.
Charlotte is at Heart of Texas SPCA.
Charlotte is at Heart of Texas SPCA.
Idella is at Tejas Rescued Pet Adoptions in Texas.
Idella is at Tejas Rescued Pet Adoptions in Texas.


Grace appeared to have been hit by a snow plow
Grace appeared to have been hit by a snow plow

We recently introduced a new type of grant, which has been welcomed by the shelters and rescue groups we support: Emergency Medical Grants. These grants are designed to help pets suffering from severe illness or injury, for whom treatment can literally mean the difference between life and death. Here are some dogs they've already helped.

Grace was discovered nearly frozen to the ground in Wisconsin. She appeared to have been hit by a snow plow, her head impaled by a metal rod. She had sustained a skull fracture, abrasions, blood in her abdomen, and a bruised heart and lungs. Her right eye was so damaged, it had to be removed.

We awarded the Washington County Humane Society in Slinger, Wisc., a grant to help with her care. Grace has recovered and currently has an adoption pending. "All she can do is wiggle and kiss you," WCHS Community Relations Coordinator Debra Block tells us. "This girl is the epitome of why we do what we do! Your grant has made all the difference."

The Pepper Foundation in Studio City, Calif., pulled the young spaniel mix from a busy shelter, where he'd come down with kennel cough that had turned into pneumonia. With help from our grant, he was hospitalized and is now recovering in foster care. "I was so worried about how we were going to pay for Harley," Pepper Foundation president Julie Chadwick says. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping him." Want to adopt Harley? Meet him here.

As just a 3-month-old puppy, Fergus spent five miserable days with an untreated broken femur before ABRA, Inc., in Crown Point, Ind., took him in. Thanks to our grant, Fergus had pins inserted into his broken hind leg and has since been adopted! "[The grant] couldn't have come at a better time," ABRA's Christy McKee tells us. "I can't tell you how grateful we are!"

Princess Grace
Little Grace suffers from canine carpal hyperextension, an abnormality causing dogs to walk on their elbows that can result from poor nutrition early in life. We gave One Love Animal Rescue in Mount Laurel, N.J. a grant to help cover splints and physical therapy for her. "With the grant, we expect that we can give Gracie everything she needs to get well, reduce pain and get adopted by a great forever family," One Love Chairman Sherri Smith says. "We can do it all while not being temporarily sidelined by the expense." Meet Grace here.

Thank you so much for your donations, which allow us to help shelters and rescue groups help pets like these!

Harley's kennel cough had turned into pneumonia
Fergus spent five days with a broken femur
Fergus spent five days with a broken femur
Princess Grace suffered from a leg deformity
Princess Grace suffered from a leg deformity


MHS rescue driver Chris with Kalamata
MHS rescue driver Chris with Kalamata

Animal cruelty takes many forms - and animal shelters are often the victims' only hope. Through our grants, the Petfinder Foundation helps shelters combat cruelty and neglect. These are just a few recent examples of how your donations have helped shelters save pets in urgent need.

An Animal-Rescue Van in Detroit Stops Abuse in its Tracks
We funded an animal-rescue vehicle for Michigan Humane Society, which has taken over the task of responding to animal-cruelty complaints now that Detroit Animal Control does not have the funding to do so. One of the pets it rescued recently was a Border Collie-mix puppy that MHS staff named Kalamata. MHS Chief Development Officer Marta Diffen tells us, "A compassionate bystander found a small black dog at a dollar store. She took Kalamata with her because people were kicking her because she kept jumping up on them.

"She called MHS Rescue and we dispatched Chris and the van to the scene. Chris was able to take the sweet little dog and bring her to MHS Detroit Center for Animal Care. She was adopted after just a short stay with MHS. We are so grateful to the Petfinder Foundation for this van and the lifesaving work it is making possible! Thank you!"

Helping Dogs Rescued from a Georgia Puppy Mill
When 359 dogs were seized from what authorities called deplorable conditions at Heavenly Kennels near Cumming, Ga., we rushed a $3,000 disaster grant to Cherokee County Animal Shelter in Canton, Ga., to help offset the cost of caring for the dogs, all of whom were suffering from multiple parasites and infections and urgently needed medical care.

One of those dogs was Nadia, a 4-year-old Siberian husky who was pregnant and very anemic. She soon gave birth to seven puppies. "The staff found special adopters for each of the puppies and then one of the puppies' families called in to ask about Nadia," the shelter's rescue coordinator, Lori Kekel, tells us. "The couple was very worried about Nadia not being adopted, so they asked to adopt her as well. The day that Nadia and her baby Sasha left for their new home was full of lots of happy tears, from the staff and the adopters!" Even better, all the other rescued dogs found homes as well.

Horses, a Llama, Dogs and Cats Saved from Neglect in Washington
When fires raged across Washington state over the summer, many livestock owners were forced to place their animals into shelters. When one of those owners brought his animals to the shelter established at a Spokane rodeo grounds, the volunteers there became alarmed at their condition and called Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS). The shelter's officer executed a search warrant at the owner's property and found many animals living in filth, feces and garbage.

SCRAPS seized two horses, one llama, eight dogs and six cats. A Petfinder Foundation grant enabled the shelter to provide medical care, food and shelter for the animals while the criminal case was being processed. "One of the animals, a dog named Stella, was pregnant," Development Manager Janet Dixon tells us. "Stella was brought to the shelter and gave birth here. The puppies were sent with their mother to a foster home, where they were adopted out after they were weaned."

See Many More Amazing Pet-Rescue Stories
We've compiled a video of some of the rescued-pet transformations that happened thanks to the organizations that received grants from the Petfinder Foundation in 2014. To get even more of a sense of how your donations help change the lives of pets in need, watch our video here.

Thank you so much for your donations, which make this lifesaving work possible.

Happy holidays from all of us at the Petfinder Foundation!

Georgia puppy mill-rescue Nadia with her puppies
Georgia puppy mill-rescue Nadia with her puppies
A pup of Stella, rescued from neglect in Spokane
A pup of Stella, rescued from neglect in Spokane
See Bluebell
See Bluebell's amazing transformation in our video


Scruffy was adopted from Misfits, Mutts and Meows
Scruffy was adopted from Misfits, Mutts and Meows

Through Oct. 7, donate to Save the Lives of Shelter Pets in North America on Global Giving and Animal Planet will MATCH your gift! That means your donation will have double the impact for animal shelters that need to improve their physical facilities to help pets for years to come. Here are a few recent examples of how our grants have helped adoption groups do just that:

Upgrades to a Transport Van and Kennels
Misfits, Mutts and Meows in Crescent, Okla., upgraded its transport van and made repairs to its kennels and exercise yard.

The van upgrades include soundproofing insulation and circulating fans. These improvements “have allowed a safer, more comfortable place for the animals that are being transported to adoption events or into our rescue,” shelter president Joy Williams tells us. MM&M also purchased wood, connectors and welding supplies to build outdoor play enabling 22 dogs to play outside at one time while ensuring they are safely separated.

The van improvements are already making a difference. “This past weekend we had an adoption event in a town 45 minutes away,” Williams says. “We took six dogs and five cats. We had a pair of kitties adopted, Chips and Squeeker, and one dog named Scruffy (pictured). Having the capability to transport everything we need for our different events in one vehicle makes our day much easier.”

Buying Dog Beds
Something as small as getting caged dogs up off the hard concrete floor can make a big difference. That’s why Doberman & Rottweiler Rescue in Paris, Ill., used our grant to purchase high-quality raised dog beds.

“We know these dog beds will help with the quality of life the dogs have while in our care,” rescue director Karen White tells us. “We get older, large-breed dogs in who have some hardship getting up off concrete floors, and this will help them feel better while in our care. The kennel staff love them due to the fact that they cut down on laundry costs, and in the time it saves them, they can play more with the dogs.”

The beds are much appreciated by all the dogs at the rescue, including the doberman pictured here, “a starvation case we took in,” White says. “He was skin and bones when brought to our shelter from Animal Control. He had to gain 20 lbs. before the vet would neuter him. He is now in his new home doing wonderfully, and the new owner bought a bed for him like he had at our facility because he loved that bed. We all feel he had never had anything but the ground to sleep on and he loved the bed we provided him.”

Repairing Kennels to Save a Shelter
Carteret County Humane Society in Newport, N.C., used our grant funds to purchase supplies to repair concrete fixtures in the kennel area, as well as concrete sealant to be applied this fall. “Without these repairs we could possibly fail our state inspection and take the chance of being closed down,” shelter director Candace Christopherson tells us. “These repairs are very important to the shelter itself but also to the health of the animals. Large cracks in the foundation can lead to build-up of bacteria, which could cause illness.”

CCHS is the only shelter for its county, so if it hadn’t been able to make the needed repairs to its 29-year-old building, it could have closed down, which would have affected more than 3,000 animals a year. Pictured is Maggie, just one of the homeless pets the grant helped.

Building a Lot Just for Puppies
Forgotten Angels Animal Rescue in Chuckey, Tenn., used the funds to build a puppy lot for new litters when they arrive at the shelter. With the grant money, staff purchased fencing and a gate, solar-powered outdoor lights, a new Weed Eater and a Gator wagon to help at feeding time.

“It helped us to have a safe place for puppies so they can have room to run and play,” shelter director Polly Rogers tells us. The lot is now on its fourth litter of puppies, so it’s helped 36 pups so far. All the puppies love the yard, but one in particular who has benefited from it is a blind puppy (the white pup with black spots in the photo) who no longer has to stay in a crate. “She now knows where the fence is and runs and plays with her littermates,” Rogers says.

Help more pets like these! Through Oct. 7, donate to Save the Lives of Shelter Pets in North America on Global Giving and Animal Planet will MATCH your gift!

MM&M's new outdoor runs
The dobie at Doberman & Rottweiler Rescue
The dobie at Doberman & Rottweiler Rescue
Maggie at Carteret County Humane Society
Maggie at Carteret County Humane Society
Pups at Forgotten Angels Animal Rescue
Pups at Forgotten Angels Animal Rescue



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Organization Information

Petfinder Foundation

Location: Tucson, AZ - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Emily Fromm
Chief Development Officer
Tucson, AZ United States
$101,829 raised of $99,999 goal
1,714 donations
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