More than 50 animal welfare organizations across the United States to receive grants this holiday season, with the Nevada Humane Society receiving the $100,000 Grand Prize
Today, the Petco Foundation, in partnership with Halo, Purely for Pets, announced the winners of its third annual “Holiday Wishes” campaign which helps dedicated animal welfare organizations succeed in their mission to save pets’ lives. This year marked the first time the campaign was open to the public and pet adopters were invited to nominate the animal welfare organization where they adopted their pet by submitting their personal adoption story online at petco.com/holidaywishes.
More than 3,000 stories were submitted and the Petco Foundation increased this year’s total grant amount to $750,000 to award 53 winning stories, up from $500,000 in 2014. The animal welfare organizations referenced in the stories as the adopting organizations will receive grants ranging from $5,000 – $100,000 to celebrate their lifesaving work. Halo, Purely for Pets and partner Freekibble.com will also provide each of the top five winning shelters with 10,000 bowls of Halo natural pet food, and $500 worth of food for the adopters who nominated the organization. In addition, adopters whose stories were awarded the $25,000 grants will receive $250 worth of Halo food.
“This year’s Holiday Wishes campaign celebrates the love between pets and their adopters. The stories perfectly illustrate how love can truly make a difference, not only in the life of a pet, but in the lives of their adopters as well,” said Susanne Kogut, Executive Director of the Petco Foundation. “We’re thrilled to celebrate those individuals and families who open their homes and hearts to shelter pets as well as the animal welfare organizations who work tirelessly to help them find each other.”
While the stories submitted range from humorous, to poetic prose and even a few lifesaving narratives, all of them celebrated how these adopted pets have changed and enriched the nominators’ lives.
“Halo is proud to partner with the Petco Foundation and support the incredible work they do helping shelters and rescues make a difference in their communities and facilitating lifelong relationships between people and pets,” said Halo CEO Steve Marton.
Following are a few of the winning “Holiday Wishes” campaign submissions:
Brindy: Disability and Community Service Dog
Linda Hibbard’s story titled, “Brindy: Disability and Community Service Dog,” was selected as the top story and earned the Nevada Humane Society in Reno, Nevada the grand prize of $100,000. When Linda was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she researched getting a service dog to support her but was told the wait would be about two to four years. She decided to take matters into her own hands, finding Brindy at the Nevada Humane Society and training her to become a service dog. Brindy is Linda’s constant companion and has truly enhanced her everyday life by helping her continue her daily activities. Since her adoption Brindy has also become a member of Dog Scouts of America and regularly partakes in community service activities including being a Christmas bell ringer for the Salvation Army, helping collect money from passersby.
Blessed by Buzz
In “Blessed by Buzz,” nominator Carolyn Honish explains how she adopted Buzz at the Central Texas Dachshund Rescue in Austin, Texas. Carolyn is a deaf education teacher and began bringing Buzz to the classroom as he is also deaf. Since joining Carolyn in her classroom, Buzz has become a pet therapy dog who can respond to 50 words or phrases in sign language. Most importantly he has touched the lives of countless students by assisting them during class and being a great companion. Carolyn’s story helped the Central Texas Dachshund Rescue win a $25,000 grant.
We Got Married Because of a Rescue-Cat
New Yorker Astrid Hanenkamp shared how a cat played matchmaker in “We Got Married Because of a Rescue-Cat,” earning the Anjellicle Cats Rescue a $10,000 grant. Astrid was a volunteer at the rescue organization and during an adoption event she noticed Shaun getting close to Bennie, one of the strays rescued by the shelter. Shaun went on to adopt Bennie and Astrid stayed in touch with him. They eventually started dating and got married this past September!
Supporters can see a full list of winning organizations at petco.com/holidaywishes and can read the winning adoption stories in the coming weeks by following along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the campaign hashtag, #HolidayWishes2015.