Audrey Lodato Joins the Pets Alive Family

A. Lodato photoWe are so excited and proud to announce that Audrey Lodato has accepted the Executive Director position at Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in Middletown, NY.

Many of you may already know Audrey from her time as manager of Mid Hudson Animal Aid in Beacon, NY.  With more than 15 years of management experience Audrey brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to the Pets Alive team.

As Shelter Manager at MHAA Audrey was instrumental in building a strong team of caretakers, volunteers and supporters. She excels at streamlining processes to improve efficiency, promote positivity and building morale. She has a passion for animal welfare and follows the No Kill philosophy.

Over the past few years Pets Alive has often partnered with Mid Hudson Animal Aid in hoarding cases across the Tri County area. We have seen first hand her skills, compassion and her organized approach even in the face of chaos. She has a strong knowledge in shelter medicine and has been successful in the development of life saving programs with a special interest in feral felines.Audrey and Shay

Audrey has a clear vision of Pets Alive and it’s mission. Together with staff, volunteers, and the executive team she will be focused on building strong and efficient programs to increase lives saved each year.  We will continue to build our networks to help create and sustain no kill communities- especially in our own backyard. She will ensure all animals in our care receive the love, care and commitment that IS Pets Alive.

We invite you all to join us in welcoming Audrey to Pets Alive. Stop in and say hello or send her a note at

Thank you so much for your continued support!



Become a monthly sponsor today!

For less than $1 a day you can help save the lives of thousands of animals every year.


Filed in Uncategorized by Jenessa Cutler on Oct 22, 2014.  There are 1 comments.  

Saving Sarah- The Next Chapter

Last February when we received a call about a cat found injured on the porch of an abandoned house, your donations allowed us to save her life. We named her Sarah, and we nursed her back to health. Although Sarah lost a piece of her tail, She has not lost her spirit.Sarahpetfinder

In order for us to keep the rest of our commitment to Sarah, we need to find her a home. We are hoping that you can help.

Sarah is diabetic, and Sarah has a compromised immune system due to FIV. Sarah’s diabetes is well regulated and she is healthy but with so many homeless cats to choose from, adopters are reluctant to take home a cat with a potentially high vet bill. Because of this, Sarah remains here at Pets Alive. What we really need for Sarah now is permanent foster or ‘Forever Foster’ as we call it. This means that Pets Alive will continue to pay for Sarah’s medical needs. All you need to do is provide the things she needs the most. Someone to trust. Someone who loves her. A place she can call her own.Sarah looking up

Sarah’s medical needs are simple. She requires an injection of insulin twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. She also needs a family with the ability to drive her to her vet appointments as necessary. Sarah would prefer to be the only cat or to live with another cat who is submissive and easy to get along with.

If you think that you can help Sarah, please email Include “Sarah” in the subject line and please include your phone number as well. We look forward to making you a part of our foster family.

Filed in Animal Rescue by Jenessa Cutler on Oct 02, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Pets Alive Opens Stalls to Horses Rescued from Abuse


In May of this year the local SPCA was alerted to a very serious neglect and abuse situation involving multiple horses. It turned out to be one of the most brutal cases they had seen in years. As they investigated the report they discovered 25 horses living in horrific conditions. Working together Orange and Ulster County officials and the SPCA officers worked tirelessly to save these beautiful souls who had been abandoned without any access to food or water. As we well know finding placement for even one horse in need in our area can sometimes be very difficult- rescues and sanctuaries are typically full and the financial resources needed to care for such large animals can also be a factor. When the legal system is involved it can take an excruciatingly long time for a rescuer to even be given custody of the animal even if they have been in their care for the duration of the court case. Nevertheless countless people stepped up and worked together to get each of the horses to safety and receiving emergency care while the legal battle took its’ course.It is heartwarming to see a community take care of those in need and step up when it’s so important. Rescuers, individuals, veterinarians and farriers all contributing what they can to save lives.

Boo and TeddyA couple local rescues and private parties worked together to take in all 25 horses to provide the medical attention and love these broken beings needed so desperately.  To nurse their delicate bodies back to health is not easy and can sometimes even be dangerous for them- requiring specialized care and experience.  As a sanctuary, it is our responsibility to evaluate the needs of each individual animal and establish the protocol and regimen needed to meet those needs. That is what our Farm Animal Sanctuary program is for- a safe haven for animals in need and to provide the love, support, treatment and enrichment they so desperately need.

When we got the call about Boo and Teddy we knew we were the only place these two could find the sanctuary care they needed and also provide them with the best opportunity for a new life full of love and care. Thanks to the so many people before us in this case Boo and Teddy had already received a new start and were provided with a lot of medical attention but they were each a special needs case and their rescuers knew they needed more.

BooBoo is a very special soul. He is in his 30′s. He is totally blind in both eyes from Chronic Ocular Uveitis. Though at one time this condition might have been painful, most of the damage has already been done. It is thought that he has been blind for some time. Unfortunately there is not much we can do to reverse the damage that he has suffered. But now at Pets Alive we can address the medical issues that he currently has and ensure his comfort and happiness moving forward. Even though he has been through such a terrible ordeal Boo is such a sweetheart! He feels around with his long whiskers and touches everything with his nose. He LOVES being rubbed and scratched and touched. He listens when you talk to him and responds to voice commands like “step up” and “back” and “walk on”. It is amazing when you are with a soul who had to endure such hardship that you can see his appreciation for life. Maybe it’s even just relief of knowing he will eat, and drink fresh water, and wear a fly mask that will cover his delicate eyes.

Boo3 At this point for this sweet old man, we want him to know love. We want him to feel touch that is gentle and caring, for him to not feel pain, or fear. This kind soul deserves to know a quality at the end of his life that we know our dedicated team of staff, volunteers and supporters can provide. We have the new barn stalls. We have the vinyl fencing in some paddocks and we are working on fixing the fencing around the old barn. With your help we can make this happen. Boo can’t have treats that are solid but he does love applesauce or baby foods (fruits. oats and rice are good). He loves attention and could use a lot of love right now- please come down and meet this sweet old boy!

TeddyTeddy is a handsome man that saw neglect too early in his life. His face looks older than it is and shows the wear of a hard life. He does not have teeth and therefore requires a special mash of food (not unlike some of our other sassy senior equines in the pasture!) and his body shows the marks of his former life. But now that he has gained some weight, he is starting to feel frisky and kick up his heels. Teddy is a sweetheart and will follow you around the paddock. He loves love and we love him already!!


To imagine that Boo and Teddy along with the other 23 horses were denied the basics of food, water, shelter and medical treatment for any amount of time is heartbreaking. The thought of these two boys enduring the harsh conditions of this last winter while fighting to stay alive is beyond comprehension. When they were rescued both Teddy and Boo had a body condition score of 2 out of 9 which means they were emaciated. You could clearly see their ribcage, spine and hip bones. Both horses were full of fungus from head to toe and had not gotten their feet or teeth taken care of in a long time. Boo, blind in both eyes, was hauled with the herd of horses from farm to farm as his owner attempted to hide from authorities, from one unknown environment to another only to continue wasting away.  Being blind, Boo can’t be with other horses as they may hurt him, and he should be on level ground with a routine that will help him be comfortable. Boo gets kiss

We try to keep up with the growing number of farm animals that need our help but we need YOUR help. We want to move one of the new beautiful barns into the vinyl paddocks since this will be the safest place for Boo. The cost to move the barn is estimated at around $500. We are looking into getting him a Guardian Mask to protect his eyes and this costs $89.99.  Of course we could always use more brushes and they each deserve a new halter to wear. We are still working on fixing the fencing around the old barns and that makes a HUGE difference in how we can house all our animals. This expansion project will allow us to rescue twice as many farm animals each year while working to find adoptive homes and provide lifelong sanctuary complete with love and care from our knowledgeable staff and robust volunteers.

Please consider making a donation to the Farm Animal Rejuvenation and Expansion Project. Any little bit is a huge help and will allow us to continue to be a resource to our community!

Thank you so much for your support and for your love!

Filed in Animal Rescue by Jenessa Cutler on Sep 01, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

$5 Friday- Ivan’s Story


Today’s $5 Friday is dedicated to Ivan, a young adult from the Cayman Islands was just a pup when he was brought to a shelter. Due to the limited number of appropriate homes in the area, his future looked bleak until he was transported to Pets Alive this past summer. Things were looking up for him and he was adopted right away. But soon after, Ivan was brought back to our facility. On top of losing the only home he had known, Ivan needed surgery – he had a congenital defect in both back legs, where the knee caps did not sit properly in the groove of his knees. It is very painful, he could hardly bare any weight on his hind limbs. He was examined by an orthopedic surgeon who scheduled him for surgery on both knees immediately. The estimate for his surgery was just under $4,000 and while this was a steep costs for us we knew that this surgery would give Ivan the second chance at life he deserved.

And it did! Ivan has healed and you would never know by looking at him now the pain he endured. Ivan smilesHe is a timid boy but he warms up within minutes and thinks (with his 65lb frame) that he is a lap dog.He doesn’t quite understand that not everyone enjoys doggie kisses on the lips (although most of us here at Pets Alive do). While we have grown attached to Ivan, we know it won’t be long before he finds a new forever home and brings all his love and joy to his very own family.

Pets Alive never turns our backs on ‘our’ animals.Once they come into our facility we are here for them always. But we cannot do so without YOUR help. Please consider donating $5 today to our medical fund so that we can help other animals like Ivan, who have nowhere else to turn.Each animal that comes into our care is worthy of our love and care, and every dollar counts!


Filed in Uncategorized by Jenessa Cutler on Aug 01, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Three Months of Love

Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester

sam2It 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.

samThere 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

If you’d like to help by supporting our medical fund, which supports hospice animals, please donate below.


Filed in Animal Rescue, Uncategorized, Why we do this by Erin Guilshan on Jul 30, 2014.  There are 4 comments.  

Pets Alive Announces New Future in Puerto Rico

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.

Prbrown pupsWe 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 11 comments.  

Pets Alive $5 Feline Friday! Help Support Kitties in Need

TNR teamEvery 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.


Cupid 1Last 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 babyCupid 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.


pebbles[1]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 0 comments.  

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.

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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 1 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.