Vote for the Pets Alive King and Queen of the Senior Prom!


We love our seniors and we know you love them too!  So to celebrate all things senior we are having our first ever Senior Prom at Pets Alive and no Prom is complete without a King and Queen.  The nominees are in and its time for you to cast your vote for this year’s King and Queen of the Pets Alive Senior Prom!  After all the votes are counted we will crown our winners.  We all have our favorites and are hoping they win the crown but what we are really are hoping is that they find their FOREVER HOMES.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we will be featuring all our wonderful seniors here at Pets Alive.


Picture 1 of 6

Cam the senior boy with a love of basketballs, treats and showing off new squeaky toys. He has been known to strut his stuff down the dog trail showing off his new toys.


Click here to see our adoptable critters!

Can’t adopt at this time become a monthly sponsor. Monthly sponsors are crucial to our animals so if you can’t adopt become a monthly sponsor.

Sponsor a Pet!

Filed in Uncategorized by Pets Alive Blogger on Jun 17, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Cupid’s Story– UPDATE!!!

cupid momAs many of you know Pets Alive currently operates the only formal Trap, Neuter and Release program in the community. As part of our commitment to the Middletown area and the feral colony population we have also committed to evaluating all of the cats trapped for their medical needs as well as adoptability. Only truly feral cats are then released back into the colony after their vetting and vaccinations.

Managed and maintained solely by volunteers the Pets Alive team successfully trapped 200 cats in 2013. 99 of these kittens and cats were brought into the adoption program and all found loving homes. This year the Pets Alive TNR program set out to reevaluate existing colonies as well as identify any new ones previously not serviced.

Recently the 2014 TNR program launched and in one weekend trapped dozens of kittens. Following up on one of these areas the team descended on their designated trap site and heard tiny cries coming from a wood pile nearby. Upon looking more closely they saw what they thought was a tuft of fur.  And quickly reached in to see what was hiding beneath all of the brush. What they found was a beautiful momma cat they named Mae and her 4 tiny, hungry and scared babies. Thankfully all were unharmed but in desperate need of love and attention. They immediately went into foster home and have been lovingly cared for but their foster mommy noticed something was seriously wrong with one of the kittens….

Cupid 1This is Cupid. He is an adorable baby at just 4 weeks old. His foster mom noticed that while he went to the litter box it seemed that he strained profusely and was unable to produce. She quickly called the Cat Manager Becky who rushed into action. Fearing anything from minor constipation to severe impaction she immediately got an appointment at the vet. It was there we learned this precious baby was born with a rare condition called imperforate anus. This means he does not have an opening of the anus thereby making it  impossible to pass stool. Depending on the defect present, how the colon has developed and the actual status of the anal sphincter, it is possible to surgically open the anus and if needed, connect the colon to the opening. As most kittens are young, their risk of anesthesia may be the bigger problem, but as all kittens with this defect will die without surgery it seems to be the only best option.

We can only imagine the level of pain and discomfort this tiny angel has been experiencing but we are thankful that he was found in time. The likelihood of a kitten surviving this birth defect on his own is zero. He is currently at the vet undergoing surgery and we do not know what he will need in the coming hours or days in order to fully recover but we will do everything we can to make sure he gets all the care he needs and give him a chance at a long and happy life.


We hope to update you more in the morning on this little guy. Please keep him in your thoughts and your prayers.Cupid 3

Please consider a donation to the critical care medical fund so that we can continue to treat baby Cupid as well as all of the beautiful animals that need us.



Thank you all so much for your love and support!




We just received word that Cupid is recovering just perfectly this morning and should be released sometime soon! He will most likely need to go back for some followup exams but he is resting comfortably and very much relieved!




Filed in Uncategorized by Jenessa Cutler on Jun 16, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Pets Alive Year of the Horse- The Mane Story

By Jenessa Cutler and Cindy O’Brien

Foxy, Josie and Captain

When Sara Whalen founded Pets Alive it was out of her appreciation and love for a sweet senior golden retriever, Brandy,  who saved her young child’s life. At that time there was no way she could have foreseen just how important Pets Alive would be. Over the years Sara extended from just goldens to all dogs and all cats. And she didn’t stop there.

In 1995 Pets Alive became the first retirement home for New York City Carriage horses. Knowing the plight of these beautiful animals on the streets of New York, Sara was astonished that a retirement home did not exist already for them. She knew the ultimate fate for any retired horse was death and began working closely with the horse’s owners and offering sanctuary over slaughter. Timmy, Blackie, Kingfish, Maureen, Mary Lou, Groovy and Thunder and many more all found peace, love and a home here. For nearly 20 years Pets Alive has continued to be a safe haven for not only carriage horses but also for horses retired from the racing industry as well as the competitive show culture.

GoatsAnd Pets Alive is constantly evolving. We still see so many voids in animal welfare. Animals that fall through the cracks. Animals that have very few options when it comes to rescue. While there are some farm and equine rescues in the area- most do not have the ability or the following to have successful adoption programs and become very limited to intake availability. We are so fortunate to have so many amazing volunteers, sponsors and followers who are ambassadors for our animals and our adoption programs. Because of all of you we were successful in placing 8 farm animals in happy homes last year. Four of which were horses! This is truly incredible and this is how we are able to continue to rescue farm animals in need. Each of the animals at Pets Alive has a unique story – each heart wrenching in the beginning yet heartwarming when we can provide them with refuge, safety and loving homes they truly deserve.

Gentleman Murphy

Have you met Murphy? Murphy was a NYC Carriage   horse many years ago. In his time the industry was  not regulated. Horses would be harnessed all day without a break regardless of temperature or weather. Many would break down on the roads due to dehydration or sheer exhaustion. Our boy Murphy carried this heavy burden like a true gentleman. To this day the scars of his tireless work show on his face. His home then was an old tenement building. He lived in an upstairs room- a small makeshift stall that did not even allow him to lay down. He did not know the joy of unbridled freedom. A leisurely walk through fresh air trails or the love of bonding with other horses just like him. Today at Pets Alive Murphy walks slowly and gingerly through a field of his own. He has arthritis from the many years of walking on cold hard concrete. It seems so ironic that after so many years of working in the big city Murphy is now the star, with followers far and wide. He is even a favorite of the great singer/actress Linda Eder and her adoring fans. Without Pets Alive Murphy would not be here today. Without all of YOU he would not bring such joy to so many. There are still so many horses in service today that deserve the same opportunity. Pets Alive is committed to continuing the legacy of Sara Whalen and providing sanctuary to even more of these amazing animals

Amy the mini and Hazel the mama pig

Amy and her adorable son Captain were truly in need when Pets Alive rescued them last summer from a nearby property under investigation for neglect. They were living on a property with 37 animals. A place in which the stench of death surrounded them. Each of the animals had to fight to survive in 100 degree temperatures and starvation. When Amy first arrived Captain was merely a week old. We were shocked at how malnourished and neglected Amy was, and it was a miracle that Captain had survived. Amy’s hooves were so overgrown (by 5 inches!!!) that it was painful to even walk – let alone feed and care for her newborn. But this girl was a survivor.  We immediately took care of her feet and began filling her belly with proper nutrition. She was a great mommy and Captain has grown to be quite the instigator in the fields. He spends his days learning proper pasture etiquette from his friends Foxy and Josie and brings joy to us all as he chases after them. He is a miracle baby and we think he knows it. He spends each and every day exploring life and enjoys every minute.

FoxyAnd Foxy. Wow what an absolute beauty. Foxy is a registered Arabian mare and a national champion show horse. In another life this gorgeous girl was “valued” at over $100,000. Unfortunately- like so many show horses- when she was no longer winning titles her owners lost interest in her and sent her to auction. At auction anything can happen- for the lucky ones that are still rideable they can potentially find new homes- but for most it is a place in which their value is in pounds of flesh. Buyers will pay merely a few hundred dollars and then cash in on their purchase at a slaughter house. Thankfully for Foxy she found herself ending up at Pets Alive and she is a much loved favorite for her beauty as well as her love for others. Foxy has become the “mother” here and will frequently call out to each of the other horses throughout the sanctuary to be sure where they are and how they are doing. It’s so sweet and it makes us realize even more  how smart, kind, accepting and forgiving animals can be.


New barns donated by Sidewalk Angels FoundationOur farm animal program is one of a kind. You will not find another sanctuary that is as committed and as able to save as many animals as we can. Rob and Marisol Thomas’ Sidewalk Angels Foundation shares our dreams and our passion. They have recently donated two brand new handmade barns. These gorgeous structures will enable us to provide large, spacious and comfortable housing for all of our current horses and even more who need our help. With this incredible gift we can potentially double our impact for farm animals every year. But we need your help.


Pastures in need of new fencing

We have pastures in desperate need of new fencing. Our old barn needs a little TLC.

We need a small horse trailer that will enable us to transport animals to Pets Alive during rescue cases as well as offsite for medical needs. Please join us in our Year of the Horse Campaign. You can make a difference. You can bring this dream to life.

You can save a horse, a goat, a pig… Love is everywhere- be a part of this incredible journey. To make a donation or for more information please visit

We are so grateful to all of you for your love, your faith and your support.


Filed in Animal Rescue by Jenessa Cutler on May 21, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Our Greatest Challenge

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester

1975269_620144908055668_1266341788_nOn March 14th we faced what would begin our greatest challenge in the history of Pets Alive Westchester. What started off as small cracks in our building grew to be so large that you could see through them to the outside of the building. The floors were beginning to sink in some areas, new cracks were rapidly forming, and the first floor door frames began to buckle as the second floor started to show signs of a possible collapse. We worked with a group of engineers to evaluate the issues and they determined that we had no other choice but to evacuate immediately.

The magnitude of this hit each one of us – staff, volunteers and supporters – like ton of bricks. This is our “other” home. This is a place that has a heartbeat – a love that never ends. This is what makes up the Pets Alive family and it is the bond that has been created that will not be broken. We had nearly 200 animals that we had to find placement for that day, whether it was homes, other rescues or boarding facilities, we had to get them out as soon as possible. Our needs were great and time was of the essence to get our animals out of the building safely.

By 9am our lobby was flooded with adopters, fosters, media, volunteers and concerned members of the community. We reached out to our foster network, set up teams of people to help with adoptions and to get our equipment and supplies out of the building. There had to be hundreds of people there that day that were all there to lend a hand, work together and help us in any way possible. We were grateful to have had so many caring people by our side during our darkest hours. Pets Alive is supported by many people that would do anything for the animals. This same passion we share, for helping animals, is what generated the resilient force that was needed not just on that day but in the days and weeks to follow.

There are nearly 40 Legacy dogs who were from the Elmsford Animal Shelter that became part of the PAW family and still live with us, to move them somewhere else was rascal and rosieheartbreaking. We knew it would cause them confusion and stress. We feared they would not feel the security of the only place they ever knew to be their home. As the day progressed though, we were able to find boarding for our dogs at Northwind Kennels where they are able to be walked and loved by the same staff and volunteers who have taken care of them for years.

Our cats were also of great concern as were our bunnies. Both are easily stressed which we feared could have an impact on their immune systems and their health. They need a life that is peaceful and to be uprooted like this could be very difficult on them. In a matter of a couple of hours all of our bunnies were fostered and we had many of our cats placed in rescues. Mid-Hudson Animal Aid rushed to pick up 30 cats that they brought back to their rescue. Our sister location, Pets Alive Middletown committed to 13 cats and Pibbles and Kits committed to 4 cats. There are twelve cats that are still waiting for forever homes at both Mid-Hudson Animal Aid and Pets Alive Middletown. Pibbles & Kits has 3 remaining of the 4 they took; those 3 are doing well but do have special medical needs.

Half of our animals went to homes that day. Many people came to adopt and foster giving them the best gift ever, a home. We are so grateful for all of the support our fellow rescuers, the community and volunteers have given to us. We could not have faced this without all of you.

Here is what our love looks like

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So where do we go from here?

The answer is simply that we do not have all the answers yet. The team of engineers drilled two weeks ago. They are waiting on lab results of the soil tests which are expected soon.

Our insurance is covering the drilling and testing but they have not committed to help cover the costs we are enduring at this time to continue operations including 3 storagevania units, 2 office trailers, winterizing the facility, the cost of a generator and the cost to board our dogs. Northwind Kennels kindly gave us a discount on boarding fees, but with 40 dogs living at the facility the cost has been huge at $11,000 per month ($10 per dog, per day) which at this time is an expense that we certainly are not prepared for in our already tight budgets.

We aren’t sure which direction this path is leading us quite yet but we know one thing for certain – this will not stop us from saving animals and assuring they are given the best lives possible. We will continue to save lives as we try to expand our foster network. We have wonderful volunteers and supporters who will follow our animals to the ends of the earth to make sure they are safe and loved. Our staff has shown great strength during this time while creatively thinking of new ways to handle our situation ensuring the animals are given the greatest opportunity for happiness. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing team and to be a part of the Pets Alive organization!

While we work on determining what the future of Pets Alive Westchester building will be, we really need your continued love and support. You have heard us say before that “we cannot do this alone” and that is the truth. We are incredibly grateful for the amazing outpouring of love you continue to show us and the animals.

Although we are amidst the greatest challenge in our history, together we are going to get through this and come out of it stronger and prouder than ever. We won’t give up.

Filed in Animal Rescue, Uncategorized, Updates, Why we do this by Erin Guilshan on May 07, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Meet our Newest Additions!

By Dottsie Perez, Executive Director 

We recently received a plea from a woman who was a victim of domestic violence. To save herself, she had to make the hardest decision of her life, she had to leave her home along with all that she loved, including her six goats.goat2

Determined to get back on her feet and find a home for her and her beloved goats, she was devastated when after searching long and hard she realized that finding the shelter and resources these animals would need while keeping them with her proved to be near impossible. In the meantime, her goats were at risk of being euthanized by her ex-husband – her assailant. She needed to get them to a safe haven and it needed to be done fast!

Pets Alive knew we had to help! We love goats! And we are not strangers to farm animals. We have horses and regularly have pigs, but it’s been awhile since we’ve had goats. Most of the farm animals in our care have come to us from cruelty and neglect cases which have involved SPCA and local law enforcement. Of course this was a bit different because this was an owner who was fearful of her own safety but would not give up on her animals, she cared and knew she needed help. Knowing there are so few organizations in the area that can handle farm animals- and most limit their intakes to those cases that involve law enforcement- there was no way we could say no. This is who we are and why we are here. This is what Pets Alive does.

goat1We immediately had to assess the situation more closely and come up with a game plan to determine: whether we have adequate space to safely house them, if they have special needs, medical issues or diseases. After all, it’s common for goats to carry zoonotic diseases (transferable between species) as well as species specific illnesses. We needed to know if they could safely live with the other farm animals, what costs would be involved, and how we could ensure their safety, comfort and most of all happiness. These are questions sanctuaries and shelters must ask themselves. Sure we want to save them all, but the reality is we need to ensure have the means to do so.

We went to meet the goats, assess their situation and get blood work done. When we arrived at the farm, it was evident these loving animals were eager for attention. There were five horned girls and one male without horns who were sweet, welcoming and greeted us gently. They appeared malnourished though and emaciated – we could count every rib on their bodies and see their hip and pelvic bones clearly. Even their feet looked deformed from lack of care. They appeared physically starved and craved the human interaction and love they had been missing from their owner. We knew that time was of the essence and they had to be removed from their current environment.

goat4We impatiently waited a week for the results to come in, we were concerned for their health. It felt like one of the longest weeks of our lives. In the interim, we consulted with our veterinarians to learn about different diseases goats may encounter and discussed the steps needed to bring these goats to the sanctuary.

The results finally arrived! They confirmed the goats tested positive for CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis). This disease is commonly seen in the dairy industry and creates almost a rheumatoid type of arthritis in adults with swelling of the joints. CAE can be fatal to babies as it can cause encephalitic seizures. Unfortunately there is no treatment for the disease but there are ways to manage symptomatically to keep the goats comfortable. We know this will be an additional cost but there is no way we would turn our backs on these adorable animals and we knew YOU, our supporters, would feel the same way!


Our amazing staff was confident we could make this work! We have a solitary pasture that would become their home. So on April 17th we picked them up and brought them to Pets Alive!!!  We’ve already begun treatment and our vet advised, with proper care, these sweeties have a good chance of recovering from the malnutrition and we will be able to manage the CAE symptoms. These beautiful animals will live the rest of their life getting what they need to live comfortably and with the love they deserve!

We are excited to introduce our newest members of the Pets Alive farm animals!!!
Louis is the big hornless guy. And the girls: Lucia, Lauren, Ella, Simone, and
Maria. They are settling in nicely and are a blast to watch frolicking in the field!!!

We could really use a little help with their medical care. Thank you so much for all of your support. It is because of you that we were able to rescue these beautiful goats. If you are interested in adopting please be sure to complete the application HERE



Filed in Animal Rescue by Dottsie Perez on May 01, 2014.  There are 1 comments.  

New Beginnings with Old Ideas

by Jenessa Cutler, CEO


It is with great pride and happiness that I announce I have accepted the position of the very first CEO of Pets Alive. For those that might not know me, I have most recently been employed as the Business Office Manager for all three Pets Alive locations focusing on streamlining our operational processes. Prior to that I served as the Executive Director at Pets Alive Westchester. And before all of that I was the Executive Administrator and Shelter Manager at Pets Alive in Middletown.

I can still remember first joining Pets Alive. Overwhelmed and excited, I was completely in awe of the staff and the volunteers who were here all day and sometimes long into the evening. They gave up time with their families, their own animals, their own lives just to make sure each and every animal was loved each and every single day. In those days we only had the one facility in Middletown and maybe seven full time staff members. I was so honored to join them. Today, I am even more honored and humbled to be a part of this growing team who have a shared passion and commitment to animal welfare. Pets Alive is not about any one person, it is the result of a collective group of people that believe in the same idea-life is precious and it is sacred. That we must end the killing of animals in our nations shelters. That it is not enough to simply pull an animal to safety but that we commit to the health and well-being of that animal for life!

Over my years with Pets Alive I have been blessed to work with some truly powerful and inspiring animal welfare advocates who provided lessons that have guided me: to never be afraid to stand up and be loud for the things I know are right; to do my homework, research and reach out to others-not just assume I know the answer but to make it my job to find the answer; that in this field there are many crucial decisions to be made and many times there isn’t just one right answer but it’s up to you to make sure that each and every decision made is always based on what is best for the animals; and most of all that even when it seems like everything is stacked against you and you just have nowhere else to turn-believe in the people around you-the strength, love and passion within this amazing organization will always pull us through.

Alongside all of these people I have had the opportunity to gain the experience and knowledge of both success and failure. I firmly believe that an organization can only learn, grow and flourish when it is willing to seek out its’ flaws and do whatever is necessary to correct those issues. We cannot fear change but rather embrace it with honesty and integrity. We need to honor our roots and at the same time make the changes that will help solidify the future of Pets Alive. The Pets Alive we all know and love so much. The Pets Alive that found new life with renewed passion in the wake of the loss of its dedicated founder. And The Pets Alive that has and will continue to save thousands of lives.

The new structure here at Pets Alive is crucial to our survival and our ability to continue to further our mission. As CEO I will oversee the overall operations of our facilities and provide support to our Executive Directors and Board of Directors. We will work as a cohesive team in order to set and achieve our goals. Pets Alive is fortunate to have amazing people who serve as staff and volunteers and each one has something unique to bring to the table. We will continue to identify these strengths and utilize them to benefit the entire organization. Each facility will continue to operate under their Executive Directors just as they do now. They will continue to follow the same policies, procedures, mission and values. We will strive to be bigger, better and stronger-to save more animals each year than the last. We will continue to be a resource for any organization that will choose life over death by pulling animals on kill lists and assist in mass rescues due to hoarding, abuse or puppy mills. We will continue to provide the utmost quality of care, treating each animal, no matter their background, with the same care and kindness.

 2014 has so many exciting things already developing. We cannot thank you all enough for your continued support. Each and every one of you IS Pets Alive. We understand sometimes change is scary, or hard, or just plain confusing and we try not to overwhelm you all with a lot of this type of stuff. Please know that my door is always open-well, OK not technically open, I have several feline office mates who would love to sneak out and roam the hallways-but I’m more than happy to answer any questions, address concerns, or anything in between.

Jen and Lincoln



Our mission is to improve the lives of companion animals everywhere by any means possible, including rescue, adoption, advocacy, collaboration, intervention and education.


Still not a monthly sponsor?? For less than a dollar a day  YOU can help save thousands of animals every year! Sign up HERE



Filed in Uncategorized by Jenessa Cutler on Apr 21, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  


They have lost the only home they’ve ever known.

They are the Pets Alive Westchester (PAW) Legacy Cats – Colonel Mustard, Tasha, Jilly, Isis, Twinkie, Precious, Larry, Dipps, Ralphie, Concetta, Dottie, Meeshu and Donner.  The Final 13 resident cats from the old Elmsford Shelter from when Pets Alive took over in 2010.

As many of you are aware, our sister sanctuary had to emergency evacuate their facility recently when it was deemed unsafe (  Staff at both facilities immediately sprang into action planning, coordinating and implementing our emergency evacuation.

I knew immediately the Pets Alive Westchester Legacy Cats needed to come to us, at Pets Alive Middletown.  I knew this would be very hard on them.  PAW was the only home these Legacy Cats have known.  They were snatched up in the middle of controlled chaos, put in a carrier, went on a two hour car ride and arrived at a new place with new smells, new sounds, new people….This was going to hit them hard.

As hard as we try, how do you comfort a cat that has lived for 10-12 years at a shelter and reassure them that it will be okay, we love you, you’re safe!

Once our new residents were settled in it was time to get to know them better, their histories, their likes, any special needs – knowledge is power in my book.   I pride myself on knowing our cats inside and out and love to tell their stories to anyone who will listen.  Our cats have stories to tell.  Some have been with us for years while some for just a very short time but each and every one of them has a story. We are their voices.  We are their story tellers.

What I found in their files was heart wrenching and made me more determined than ever to be their voice. They are Legacy Cats, their stories must be told.

  • Colonel Mustard – 2009 came in as a 6 week old kitten
  • Ralphie – 2006 came in as a kitten
  • Larry – 2001 kitten, never adopted
  • Jilly –2004 left abandoned in a car in a parking lot with nothing more than a note
  • Donner – 2003 adopted as kitten, 2009 returned to shelter family had a baby, adopted 2010 returned 2011 no reason given
  • Dipps – 2004 originally adopted from NYC Animal Care and Control, 2006 surrendered to Elmsford Shelter reason given moving.
  • Meeshu –  2007 found on the road to the shelter with a note
larry3Larry – 2001 kitten, never adopted.
dipps3250Dipps – 2004 originally adopted from NYC Animal Care and Control, 2006 surrendered to Elmsford Shelter reason given, moving.
Donner – 2003 adopted as kitten, 2009 returned to shelter family had a baby, adopted 2010 returned 2011 no reason given.
colonel_mustard_3250Colonel Mustard – 2009 came in as a 6 week old kitten
Jilly – 2004 left abandoned in a car in a parking lot with nothing more than a note
Ralphie2250Ralphie – 2006 came in as a kitten

Larry came in as a kitten 13 years ago!  To our legacy cats I’m sorry you were failed by the people you were entrusted to all those years ago, but no more I will fight till there is no fight left in me to find you your forever home.

They are all seniors now and just looking for a warm sunbeam, a soft breeze and someone to love them unconditionally, to understand them, to give them patience and time, to give them a retirement home in their golden years.

Colonel Mustard, Tasha and Meeshu and crew are being well cared for and all their needs tended to but what they really need are REAL HOMES!  Please open your hearts and home to our legacy animals.  They have been waiting so long, too long….

To adopt

Both Pets Alive Middletown and Westchester have legacy animals – animals that have been with our organizations since before our current management took over.  Please consider opening your hearts and homes to one of these very special animals – they are so deserving and have lots of love to give.



Written by Becky Lyn Tegze, Pets Alive Cat Manager.  Becky has years of experience in socializing and assisting feral, semi feral or frightened felines.

Filed in Uncategorized by Pets Alive Blogger on Mar 21, 2014.  There are 2 comments.  

Dottsie’s Update – Pets Alive Middletown

Written by Dottsie Perez, Executive Director of Pets Alive

Brick House Entrance

I can’t believe it’s been over 4 months since I’ve been in the Executive Director position at Pets Alive. Boy does time fly!  THANK YOU so much for all of the love and support you have shown to our organization and especially the animals. It truly means more – not just to me but to all us than you can ever imagine!  I’m excited to share with you some of the amazing highlights from the past few months that YOU have helped make happen!

Intakes and Adoptions 

Winter is by far the hardest time for any animal rescue and this winter, as we all know, has been absolutely brutal! Cold weather deters adopters from coming to the sanctuary and welcoming new four legged friends into their homes. As a result we have to slow down in the winter which is heart wrenching for us, especially when we are forced to cease all intakes. Our indoor kennels are much smaller than those in Camp Tyler so there are fewer runs available in the cold weather. And as you know, we are also faced with the tough decision to rebuild our beloved Cat House. As a result we have had to limit our cat intakes as well as we prepare for construction. However with that said we are proud that even with all of these constraints – we’ve continued to save lives!

October 2013-February 2014

Dogs:  Intakes 124     Adoptions 155

Cats:   Intakes 30       Adoptions 74

Barn:  Intakes 7         Adoptions 3 (YES 3 horses have been adopted!! More on them below)

That’s a total of 232 lives saved. 232 wonderful, sweet animals who each now have their very own loving families and warmth of their own home. Your generosity and support never cease to amaze me. Many of you trudged through the arctic temperatures, through sleet and snow, to come show love to our animals. And even more of you shared our animal’s pictures and stories through social networking. And some of you even opened hearts and homes to our furry friends. We could not have done this without you and your continued dedication to our mission – to the animals. Thank you!


Featured Adoptions:


claude and patI am a big believer every dog will have their adoption day. Claude was originally from our Pets Alive Westchester location, he came to the sanctuary in 2002 when it was known as the Elmsford Animal Shelter. Claude, now 12 years old, was once a dog who no one could walk or interact with.  He was brought to Pets Alive Middletown back in 2011 as part of our Doggie Day Camp for the legacy dogs at our Westchester facility.  It took almost a year for him to acclimate to his new surroundings. Before this, Claude had spent nearly his entire life in a kennel. It’s all he had ever known. Four cold walls, loud noises, hundreds upon hundreds of dogs coming and going, sounds of barking and whimpering 24 hours a day for nearly a decade. This big boy had to adjust to the spacious open run where he could see and smell the grass. Where he could bask in the sunshine and even take in a swim in his very own pool. Of course he needed to learn to trust and love people now since he hadn’t had many social interactions with them over the years. But truly he simply needed to learn how to walk nicely on a leash. Picture that for a minute, an 8-9 year old dog who didn’t know how to walk on a leash. We were so lucky to have Pat (we miss him so much every day) he worked his ‘Pat’ magic on Claude and very quickly we saw the transformation taking place right before our eyes. To our surprise we even discovered that he liked other dogs, so we paired him up with a companion who he lived with for over a year. And then the most amazing thing happened – we received an application for Claude!  The application was from a truly wonderful family who had previously adopted a dog from us.  We were all so excited.  Claude was a senior pit bull who had lived nearly his entire life in a shelter environment. He had only recently began living with another dog.  We weren’t quite sure how he would do in a home but we knew this was his time – his chance.  Claude has been in his new home now for over a month and he is doing great!!

Claude at home



Lollipop sitting at homeWho could forget our Lollipop! This compassionate girl had seen the absolute worst side of humans in her life and her face alone told the story.  Covered in scars it was clear that Lolly had been used as a bait dog. She must have been very brave and very strong to survive such an awful, painful life.  And as if being constantly attacked wasn’t enough, Lolly had also been bred to the point of irreversible damage to her body.  Yet through all of this pain and trauma, beautiful Lollipop proved she was as sweet as her name implies. And as you look into her eyes yet another story emerges. One full of love, forgiveness, and patience. Unfortunately she was overlooked by many and we learned it would take a special adopter to see past her scars. Thankfully, now that she was at Pets Alive she was given the love and care she needed and became a volunteer and staff favorite. It took some time but the woman who brought her to us, a rescue volunteer, finally realized that it was her destiny to have Lollipop in her life forever and decided to give her the home she had waited so patiently for.  Dogs don’t hold grudges; they don’t live in the past – they only love unconditionally.  And Lolly, proved that.  Today she is a spoiled princess and we all agree she deserves every minute of it!

Lollipop at home



It’s been one year since we first learned of a hoarding situation in Maybrook, NY.  The phone call we received that day wasn’t all that different then ones we have received in the past.  An elderly woman was in the hospital and her cats were being thrown outside to fend for themselves. We had no idea of the extent of the situation.  One estimate was that there were around 35 cats on the property.  We knew we could not take them all but we had to do something.  Turns out one of our rescue partners and an organization we truly love – Mid Hudson Animal Aid (MHAA) – had also received a call.  Together we put into motion a plan to rescue every cat. We visited the property to get a better idea and it’s a good thing we did, we were shocked at what we saw.  There were truly cats everywhere! Working together with MHAA we were able to gather up supplies: crates, traps, food, etc and get moving. By noon we had trapped over 30 cats.  By the time we were done we had trapped nearly 60! All were starving and desperately needing medical attention.  For more information on this mass rescue please read Working Together with Other Organizations Saves Lives and their follow up story They Still Need You! The “Broken Cats” One Year Later


One of the rescued felines was an adorable 4 month old black and white kitten.  We named him Syrup, keeping with the “Breakfast” theme – Pancake, Pop Tart, Links, Smuckers… you get the idea.  There was something different about him and as we were finally able to get him trapped, cleaned up and examined we discovered what that was.  This poor, scared, hungry kitten had been living in such terrible conditions that he ended up with massive scarring on his eye.  So much so that it almost looked like his eye had been removed or damaged.  The vet advised that the eye was still intact but that his eye lids and surrounding tissue had fused over it.  Syrup was a champion and never let this cosmetic issue slow him down – he was soon bounding around the nursery like any other playful kitten would do.  As he got a few months older he happily took on the role of poppa kitty to all the new kittens who spent time in his room.  And finally, nearly one year later it was Syrup’s turn to go home.  Syrup was adopted just after the New Year – the very first cat adoption of 2014!  Now known as Silas he is doing very well at home and his family just adores him!

Syrup now silas in bed



This past July Pets Alive was contacted about a possible neglect case involving dozens of horses in a nearby town.  There are so few sanctuaries that house horses or barn animals and unfortunately many do not have enough adoptions to create openings for new intakes.  When Sara Whalen founded Pets Alive it was one of the only sanctuaries that rescued retired NYC Carriage horses.  Horse rescues continue to be important to our work and although they are costly, we step in and help whenever we can.  Working together with other equine rescues in the area we were able to commit to 7 of the horses in need.  We assisted in the court case that followed and by October, we happily accepted official ownership of the 7 horses we had been housing since they were removed from their former situation. One of those horses was an old man named Butter.

Butter is a medium sized pony, a beautiful chestnut with white pinto.  An older boy, his teeth were worn down, most likely from eating dirt and rocks.  It was clear he was deprived and for some reason kept separated from living with other horses on the farm.  We feared he wouldn’t adapt to his new life at the sanctuary and because of this, we thought Pets Alive might be his last home.  But then he met our horse Allie and they instantly became friends, even grooming one another.  It was a beautiful sight to witness and it gave us hope that he may find his forever home with a family and friends to love and dote on him throughout his golden years.  This winter has been so hard on our horses and our barn staff who constantly found ways to keep them warm and safe during the many harsh storms and frigid Butter and his new friend Devontemperatures.  So when an application was received for Butter we couldn’t have been happier.  Our Barn Manager Cindy immediately jumped on the opportunity for Butter and quickly arranged the home check.  Everything was perfect!  Perhaps it was a little bittersweet for Cindy – she had fallen so deeply in love with him – but in her heart she knew there was no better place for Butter.  Not only did Butter find a great home, he also met a new companion, Devon.  They became friends instantly and Butter couldn’t be any happier in his forever home.  Here is Butter (the chestnut color horse) with Devon.

2014 is the Year of the Horse here at Pets Alive.  The future seems bright and prominent for our majestic creatures. Stay tuned to see the exciting changes set to take place in the spring and summer…

Sanctuary Updates

This winter has been especially hard on the barn animals. In order to bring the horses all inside we had to find a warm place for the pigs.  The staff is used to being creative and this time was no different.  They quickly turned one of our sheds into a cozy and warm piggy house!

Pigs in the Shed

Biggest Needs

It goes without saying that we are in constant need of financial support.  This winter our utility bills have been over $20,000 for heating oil and electricity alone!  We do our best to keep these costs low but the animals in our care are our top priority and keeping them warm is a must!  We understand so many of you have been faced with the same high energy costs this winter and we are so grateful to you for considering a donation today!

Dottsie with MillieAlso, you can always send us something from our Wishlist and we can ALWAYS use paper towels, bleach and garbage bags in bulk.  You would be amazed at how giddy and happy the staff gets when they open up a package and its full of boxes of garbage bags!!! Send us some and we’ll tweet a picture just for you!

All of these amazing events were possible because of YOU!  It is because of each donation or sponsorship received we can continue to make miracles happen.  Sure, we are going to encounter obstacles along the way. But we are determined to give our animals a happy ending. Thank you for all you do!!  We look forward to continuing this journey together!

Our mission is to improve the lives of companion animals everywhere by any means possible, including rescue, adoption, advocacy, collaboration, intervention and education. Please consider making a donation to help us.

Filed in Updates by Jenessa Cutler on Mar 21, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Pets Alive Westchester Update

First and foremost all of our animals are safe tonight! Thank you all for your tremendous support. Every day at Pets Alive is amazing but its days like this that leave us all down right speechless with appreciation. We are floored by the number of supporters, community members, fellow rescues, veterinarians and local businesses that reached out to help us during a time when we needed you the most. We will forever be grateful to each and every one of you who have dropped everything and came to our aid. Today we saw the amount of caring, love and compassion that all of you have for Pets Alive. The heart of Pets Alive lives within not just our staff and volunteers but within the entire community. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping ensure that our animals are safe!

At the request of PAW’s Executive Director, Erin Guilshan, and our Board of Directors, an engineer was brought in last Friday to inspect cracks in our building that had seemed to be growing at an accelerated rate. After the first inspection the engineer expressed concern but did not think the building was in immediate jeopardy. We again asked the engineer to visit yesterday when noticing that there was one particular area that was advancing at a rapid rate. We received a report last night recommending that we evacuate the building immediately and based on this we made the tough decision to address the situation as soon as possible even though we still had more to learn about the situation.

Today we had 15 dogs adopted, 22 welcomed into foster homes and the rest of the pups were taken to a boarding kennel facility; 11 cat adoptions, 3 welcomed into foster homes and 49 cats were brought to our partner sites Pets Alive Middletown, Mid-Hudson Animal Aid and Pibbles and Kits; and all 5 rabbits fostered. There is no way we could have done this without your support!

There is still further testing that will need to be done to determine the status of our structure and what will need to be done to fix it. We will continue to post updates about the situation and how you can continue to help our animals.

If you are interested in adopting or fostering one of our animals please fill out an on-line application – you can see the list of available dogs here. We no longer have phone lines. We are receiving thousands of emails and it will take us some time to get to them all, please be patient with us.

Pets Alive, Inc. is accepting monetary donations to meet the massive financial need facing our shelter. At this time, we do not need donations of materials at the shelter as there are no longer animals in residence. We are down but not out – our animals are safe and we have your support behind us. We will rebuild, and we will rebuild better than ever. To make a tax-deductible donation to Pets Alive, Inc. to help with our financial need, please click the donate button below. Thank you so much for your consideration, your help, and your love.


Filed in Uncategorized by Erin Guilshan on Mar 14, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Emergency at Pets Alive Westchester


This is a very difficult thing to say to all of you, but our building is in serious jeopardy. It has been determined that Pets Alive Westchester is structurally not sound and needs to evacuate as soon as possible. There is no way around these horrible words. Our plan is to set up trailers on the property to house all of the animals, and we are in desperate need of foster families and adopters for our dogs, cats and rabbits. Although this is going to be a difficult time, we know we shall get through this. We will set up IMG_0459shop right on the property, trailers will be brought in as soon as possible. Dog runs will be there. Some of our cats thankfully will go to the rescues of our sister location in Middletown as well as Mid Hudson Animal Aid & Pibbles and Kits, such amazing people who have done so much to help us through this – but we would much rather see them in foster homes or adopted. All of our dogs, however, are in need of foster or adoptive homes and we are pleading to all of you to consider taking one of them in. All adoptions are free and are desperately needed, immediately, now. Please come to the shelter and adopt. If you’re interested in adopting or fostering a cat, dog or rabbit, contact to find out who will be the best fit for your home during this time – but be advised that we are overwhelmed with email and cannot answer it all. If you can come down, please do. We cannot access our phones.

We desperately need volunteers who have taken our orientation to help us empty the shelter building immediately. We also need crates and carriers for dogs and cats, hard sided only. If you have one you can donate please bring it to the shelter. Our greatest need continues to be for adoptions and fosters, and the best thing to do is to come to the shelter – the phones are out and our power is about to be shut down as we write this. One thing you can be certain of is that Pets Alive Westchester is a survivor of all that it has endured and been though. We will get through this and together we will celebrate a new page. Thank you for all your support and help us to spread the word. We need adopters, we need fosters, and we need them now. We need YOU now. We need your help.

Please see our Facebook page for current updates. We have a donate link if you would like to contribute – our expenses are likely to be massive. Please donate if you can. Note that donations will be handled by Pets Alive Middletown as our access to bank accounts will be limited – but the money will go directly to us.

Thank you for your help. We will survive.

Filed in Animal Rescue, Updates by john on Mar 14, 2014.  There are 0 comments.