Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester
It was a very rainy day when Sammy, a little black Chihuahua arrived at Pets Alive Westchester by someone who found him at the nearby SAM’s Club parking lot (hence his very creative name). It was obvious he had been neglected by his owners. This old boy’s nails were growing into his paw pads, he had a large tumor just above his tail and he was severely overweight. We brought him right to the veterinarian to get him examined.
An echo-cardiogram showed that he had a level 4 heart murmur (you can only get up to a level 5) and he also had laryngeal paralysis (which prohibits the ability to breath and can interfere with eating). Unable to put him under anesthesia due to his heart condition we could not remove the tumor that was under his tail. Just a few days later it ruptured and was painlessly removed by the vet. We had him on medication to try to keep any infection from spreading through his body and continued with the medications for his heart and for the fluid surrounding it. Suspecting he may have Cushing’s Disease as well, which is too much cortisol being release from his glands, would only do more harm to his heart.
There are times when animals come to us in pretty bad shape like Sammy. For some animals we rely on Hospice Fosters to give them the home and love that they have been in need of for so long. Putting them in a kennel is not an option. They deserve in an environment that will enable them to enjoy their senior years. Sam came home with me to live the remainder of his life. In the few months that we had him as a part of our lives we saw him thrive and enjoy it to the fullest. This was a gift for us too and our dog Crockett (seen to the right with Sammy). Crockett and Sammy became quick buddies. Sam would follow him around our house and occasionally we’d find them laying next to each other. Sammy was enjoying a good life with his new family.
After losing 12 lbs. his little legs still had a little trouble holding up his body weight but he would wobble around and even tried to run for his food when it was dinner time. Occasionally toppling over and like a turtle on his shell, his legs would wiggle to try to find ground again. I’d pick him up and get him upright and he would continue on his path to where he was going. He didn’t let anything hold him back. It seemed that he even enjoyed walking around as he continued to lose weight.
His Cushing’s Disease test did come back positive. Although, this was another ailment that he had on top of his other medical conditions, this was treatable and we would be starting him on medication as soon as possible to give him the best quality of life we could for this senior boy.
Everyone at Pets Alive Westchester loved this little guy. He was cared for both at home and at PAW. Sammy and I drove home from our day there. He loved riding in the car. He was in his doggie bed sitting next to me as I dove. He would close his eyes, lift his head with the sun shining down on his face and he would smile. He was such a sweet little guy. I was so happy to help him find happiness and contentment in life. He was loved and he knew it.
That night though he suddenly began to show signs of distress. Struggling to breathe we rushed him to the emergency veterinary hospital. His heart was quite enlarged, he also had fluid on the right side of it. He received treatment throughout the night. The next day wasn’t any better. Barely able to breathe and in heart failure we had to make the decision to end his suffering. He had enough suffering during his years of neglect. We were glad we could give him the best 3 months he may have ever had.
It was time to let him go, to be free of this struggle he was enduring. Alone with Sam I rocked him in my arms as he laid his head on my chest. I told him how much we all loved him and what a good boy he was over and over. Gently stroking him as I cradled this wonderful boy, with my lips kissing the back of his head, he passed away without any pain. The tears rolled from my eyes and the pain at the moment was difficult, but I knew it was the last gift I could give to him. Thinking about what a great life we gave him the past three months and how much happiness he brought to our lives made me smile through the tears.
There will always be other Sammy’s out there that need someone to love them at the end stage of life which is why we developed a Hospice Foster program. As animals approach their senior years they are in need of the love and warmth of a home. To have an animal live the remainder of their days in a shelter environment is no way to leave this earth. If you would like to give this gift to an animal and be part of our Hospice Foster program please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to help by supporting our medical fund, which supports hospice animals, please donate below.
Filed in Animal Rescue
, Why we do this
by Erin Guilshan on Jul 30, 2014. There are comments.
We are excited to announce that we will be seeking out new partnerships in Puerto Rico in order to better serve the island’s abandoned, neglected, abused and mistreated dog population.
We have been on the ground in Puerto Rico for just over two years and we are very proud of our achievements we have had in that time. We have rescued over 550 dogs since January 2012 and have provided low cost spay/neuter to hundreds of families in the Utuado area. At this time we have come to the conclusion that the costs associated with having a brick and mortar location in Puerto Rico is impacting the funds available to save the lives of more animals in need.
Pets Alive will be closing the Puerto Rico location in order to begin seeking partnerships with existing rescues on the island. We are so thankful to all of our amazing supporters who have helped to make a huge difference in the lives of so many satos as well as the community and we feel confident that we will be able to take this impact to the next level by collaborating with other groups.
We recognize that Pets Alive can provide valuable resources to the many rescue groups that have emerged on the island as high intake centers at our Middletown and Elmsford, NY locations. Together we can all work towards ending the inhumane treatment of satos and provide a safe haven for all while conserving the limited funds available.
“Two years ago Rob and I, along with The Sidewalk Angels Foundation and Pets Alive committed to the Puerto Rican pups. These partnerships have the ability to greatly increase the impact that we can provide and the number of satos we will be able to rescue. We along with the entire Pets Alive organization are excited to recommit to the community in this way and save even more lives,” said Marisol Thomas, Co-founder and President of Sidewalk Angels Foundation and Pets Alive Board Member.
We look forward to embarking on this new future in Puerto Rico and to continue our mission of improving the lives of companion animals everywhere. Thank you all so much for your continued support!
Filed in Uncategorized
by Jenessa Cutler on Jul 26, 2014. There are comments.
Every Tuesday night you can find a group of women loading up a van with humane live traps, sardines, sheets, carriers and cat food. They are the Pets Alive TNR (Trap Neuter Return) Team, a group dedicated to improving the lives of feral cats in our neighborhood by stopping the unwanted reproduction cycle and allowing these cats to live out their lives in peace. The Pets Alive TNR program has successfully trapped hundreds of cats and kittens living in the city of Middletown and has provided food, shelter and medical attention for them all. Trap, Neuter and Return is just one part of the No Kill Equation and has been proven to have more successful results in reducing the stray/feral population and improving their quality of life then previous employed strategies. For years many believed that feral cats should be relocated or destroyed. Cats live in areas where they find resources in the form of food, water and shelter. When you relocate them, more take their place through “the vacuum effect”. Killing these feline populations is not only abhorrent, unethical and inhumane but often can result in loss of a service they provide in the form of rodent control in populated areas.
The Pets Alive TNR Team takes all of the cats and kittens that are trapped back to the sanctuary for evaluation. Each is provided with its medical needs. Those that are true ferals are returned to their habitats after recouping from their spay/neuter procedure. The cats and kittens that are deemed friendly are kept at the sanctuary until loving adoptive families can be found. Unfortunately, all too often these cats are suffering from a serious medical ailment that we feel is our duty to help heal. Below are a few of these stories.
Last month, we told you about Cupid, a poor little kitten who was found in a wood pile by a TNR team member. He was rushed into surgery after his foster mom noticed he was not using the kitty litter pan and was diagnosed with imperforate anus. Meaning, Cupid was born without a rectal opening and therefore, unable to move his bowls and underwent surgery. Kittens with this rare birth defect have a very low survival rate and it was lucky we got him into surgery on time. Cupid has been recovering from his surgery but has been having some complications.
This week Cupid was taken to a specialist to determine what our options are in helping this boy live a normal life! He’s a typical kitten, he has a sweet disposition, he is growing and gaining weight. He’s alert, active and very playful even with all the discomfort we’re sure he’s experiencing. The specialist diagnosed Cupid with “atresia ani”, a rare birth defect that seldom affects male cats. This defect is usually accompanied by congenital megacolon, which is an abnormality in part of the large intestine.
Cupid has been under the medical care of our Vet Tech Janet, who is also now his foster mom. She takes him with her everywhere she goes because Cupid requires constant attention. He is on a special diet to help soften his stool and is administered enemas multiple times throughout the course of the day to help him move his bowels.It’s too early to tell what medical procedures, if any, will help Cupid live a life where he can move his bowels on his own. The specialists have advised we must wait until he is a few weeks older to reassess his condition and determine the best course of action.
The veterinary bills for this sweet angel are already in the several thousand and since Cupid’s future is unknown they could continue to increase over the next few weeks, but we will not give up on him! This boy is special. He’s a survivor, a fighter, he never lets you know that he is feeling down or when he is in pain.
Last Tuesday night started out no differently than any other night of trapping. The volunteers load up on supplies and head out to the colony location on the schedule and with any luck at the end of the night their traps will be filled. On this particular night an older feisty feral kitty with a white and orange coat found her way into the trap in search of food. As the traps filled up the team quickly moved in and at first sight of this scared girl they knew something wasn’t right. While her weight and general appearance seemed fine it became immediately apparent that there was something terribly wrong with her right eye. She was quickly rushed to medical attention where it was determined that her right eye would need to be removed due to potential glaucoma and chronic inflammation. With all medical decisions we are forced to consider all of the variables as well as the advice from our veterinarians.
As a truly feral cat who would be returned to her colony we knew that in order for her to have any quality of life she would need to undergo this surgery. Martina is recovering and still needs daily medical care. She has had a reduced appetite and dehydration. It can be difficult for feral cats to recuperate as they are forced to be handled and held – but we at Pets Alive believe that they should all be provided every opportunity at a high quality, normal and healthy life and work very hard to minimize her stress while still providing her the top quality of care.
Meet Pebbles. A few weeks ago, three young women came across two tiny kittens in a field. The kittens were flea infested, dehydrated and too young to be without their mama. The women then heard the cry of another kitten who looked to be in the worst shape of the three. They searched for more kittens and the mom but none were found.
As good Samaritans, they brought the kittens to our sanctuary to see if we could be of assistance. Instantly, our staff began to rid the kittens of their fleas and ear mites. You could see relief on the faces of these precious little babies. But the smallest of the bunch, the last one found, was in bad shape! Her eye was severely infected. We were unsure if she could even see out of it. The young women were kind enough to foster two of the kittens but we knew the one with eye infection needed immediate attention and she was rushed to the vet. Pebbles was diagnosed with a severe advanced eye infection that resulted in the membranes to actually adhere to the eye. It is likely that she will not regain vision in that eye but the vet has advised us that otherwise she is in perfect health and is a very cute and feisty little thing. She is a friendly, happy and playful kitten who loves to climb!
These are only just some of the cases we encounter during kitten season. Pets Alive commits to each and every animal and will continue to provide all with the highest quality of care and love that they need to recover and live normal, happy, healthy lives. Unfortunately – like so many other aspects of life – it often takes a large financial commitment as well. WE NEED YOUR HELP to continue to rescue all of the Cupid’s, Pebbles and Martina’s out there that NEED US TO SAVE THEM. Please join us in our first ever $5 Friday Campaign. YOU can help provide medical care to a sweet kitten in need. YOU can save a life. YOU can make a difference for just $5!!!
Filed in Uncategorized
by Jenessa Cutler on Jul 25, 2014. There are comments.
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!
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Filed in Uncategorized
by Pets Alive Blogger on Jun 17, 2014. There are comments.
As 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….
This 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.
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!
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND YOUR WELL WISHES FOR THE ADORABLE BABY CUPID!!
Filed in Uncategorized
by Jenessa Cutler on Jun 16, 2014. There are comments.
By Jenessa Cutler and Cindy O’Brien
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.
And 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.
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 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.
And 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.
Our 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.
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 www.petcaring.com/petsalivebarn
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 comments.
By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester
On 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 heartbreaking. 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
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 storage 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
, Why we do this
by Erin Guilshan on May 07, 2014. There are comments.
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.
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.
We 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.
We 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 comments.
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.
Our mission is to improve the lives of companion animals everywhere by any means possible, including rescue, adoption, advocacy, collaboration, intervention and education.
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by Jenessa Cutler on Apr 21, 2014. There are 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 (http://petsalive.com/blog/2014/03/14/pets-alive-westchester-update/). 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
Larry – 2001 kitten, never adopted.
Dipps – 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 – 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
Ralphie – 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 http://petsalive.com/adoptacat.html
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.
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by Pets Alive Blogger on Mar 21, 2014. There are comments.