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 0 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.  

The Phoenix Rises

On January 8, 2014, Pets Alive Puerto Rico rescued the dog you see in these photos. Many times since then we wanted to share his story, but the words just would not come – until now.  For the past 8 weeks, we’ve been watching a miracle unfold, and it is finally time to talk about the dog we named Phoenix…

photo 5


If you are from Arecibo, you might know this dog – the locals called him “Rocky”.  By all accounts, he was once someone’s pet – owned by somebody in the neighborhood who turned him out onto the streets.

For the past couple of years, Rocky was a regular at a busy gas station in Arecibo. With his good looks, gentle nature and a very sweet personality, Rocky was a charmer. People stopped by to pet him, and many people fed him and brought him treats.  Rocky had a pretty good life for a street dog.

But when Rocky’s front leg was broken a few months ago, no one seemed to take any notice, even though he could no longer bend it or bear weight on it.  At or around the same time, Rocky also suffered a painful injury to his hindquarters.  The extreme pain of the combined injuries made it very difficult for him to walk and get around.  Soon Rocky’s health and appearance began to deteriorate – in full view of the entire neighborhood and in full view of hundreds of people who buy gas every week at that busy station. Once handsome and robust, he grew skinnier and weaker, and when he lost much of his fur to mange, people began to shun him.  Yes, it’s true… at the time Rocky needed their compassion most, an entire community turned away from him and closed their eyes to his suffering.  Until finally, when Rocky was very near death, a woman who was new to the neighborhood saw him and called the authorities asking for help, and they in turn called Pets Alive Puerto Rico, and we set out to help this dog.

Those of you who follow us on Facebook know that we’ve rescued many dogs in very bad condition, but nothing in our previous experience prepared us for what we saw when we arrived.  Rocky’s lifeless body was lying on the ground.  Someone had put a leash on him in anticipation of our arrival so he wouldn’t wander off, but it was completely unnecessary – he was too weak even to get himself out of the tropical midday sun.  As we bent to examine him he didn’t open his eyes – we thought for sure he was already dead – but he wasn’t, not yet. As we rushed him to the hospital, we prayed that it was not too late to save him.

photo 1-1

The dog they called Rocky spent five weeks in the hospital fighting for his life while Dr. Luis T. Ramos and his staff of angels at Hospital Veterinario San Francisco de Asis in Hatillo tended to him lovingly.  Rocky was treated for malnutrition, parasites, mange, and Ehrlichiosis (a ticke-borne disease) .  Sadly, the injury to his front leg was too old and too severe to make saving the leg a possibility, so it was amputated to free him from the excruciating pain.  As you can see from the photos that follow, he is healing beautifully from that surgery!

Rocky emerged from the hospital a new dog, and we gave him a fitting, new name -  the dog they once called “Rocky” is now known as “Phoenix”, and  just like the mythical bird, our Phoenix has risen from the flames of his old life –  he is reborn and renewed, and his new life is just beginning!


photo 4

at pickup in hosp

Phoenix is adapting to life with three legs, but he still has one more hurdle to get over.  He is suffering from a severe hip luxation,which is making it very painful for him to bear weight on his left rear leg.  Phoenix will undergo the surgery (called FHO) just as soon as he is a little stronger.  After the FHO surgery, it is expected that Phoenix will walk and run PAIN FREE on 3 good legs!

In the meantime, the sparkle in his eyes and the smile on his face reveal no hint of  the misery that Phoenix endured in his past life.  His transformation has been a miracle, and it is not over yet – we expect that by mid-April this adorable, handsome, and VERY charming gentleman will be ready to fly to Pets Alive in NY for adoption, and then he will really start living the life he has ALWAYS deserved!   We can’t wait. XO

photo 1


We’ve seen a lot of  miracles take place at Pets Alive Puerto Rico, but the volunteers and staff here are NOT miracle workers. We can’t do anything without the love and support of people who believe as we do that every life is precious, and that dogs like Phoenix – who need extraordinary medical care – ARE worth saving.   If you believe this too, and if you believe in the work that Pets Alive is doing in Puerto Rico, we are asking for your help.



THE CRITICAL CARE FUND -  BECAUSE EVERY LIFE IS PRECIOUS! Your gift in any amount to will make it possible to continue to help dogs like Phoenix who need extra medical care.  No amount is too small to make a difference.


7 weeks later

Phoenix Today – 8 weeks after his rescue!

Thankfully for Phoenix, someone finally picked up the phone and made a call that saved his life.  But the sad fact is, that call won’t always be answered.  With an estimated 100,000 or more unwanted stray dogs on the street, it just isn’t possible for Pets Alive to rescue every dog in need.  We help as many dogs as possible whenever possible – but with so many in need, we are often out of space, short on volunteers and short on the funds needed to give these dogs the care they need and deserve.  But with your help, they CAN all be saved, and together we CAN put an end to the suffering of street dogs and the killing of healthy, adoptable animals in the shelters of Puerto Rico.


“ADOPT” ONE STREET DOG.  You don’t need to actually take the dog into your home – you can care for the dog on the street.  Put a collar and ID Tag on “your” dog to prevent the dog from being picked up by the authorities.  Make sure “your” street dog is spayed/neutered and vaccinated.  Feed “your” dog regularly.  If “your” dog is injured or becomes ill, care for the dog to the best of your ability, just as you would do for a pet living in your home.  If EVERY animal lover cared for just ONE street dog in this way, the problem would be solved!  

ADOPT A DOG FROM YOUR LOCAL SHELTER instead of buying a purebred dog.  Villa Michelle in Mayaguez ( is a high-kill shelter that is making amazing efforts to increase adoptions and reduce the killing of healthy adoptable animals – but they cannot do it without you, so please visit them when you are ready to find your next new furry family member. Don’t buy a dog or cat while wonderful and amazing dogs and cats suffer and die in shelters.  

SPAY/NEUTER YOUR OWN DOGS.  It is the single most important thing YOU can do to help solve the problem of unwanted dogs on the street.  And not just the female dogs! If your male dogs are not neutered, YOU are directly responsible for adding to the population of unwanted dogs on the street.

SPAY/NEUTER A STRAY DOG.  One unspayed/unneutered dog and its offspring can produce THOUSANDS of unwanted dogs.   By spaying/neutering just one stray, you prevent the suffering of countless dogs -  and you prevent them from producing unwanted puppies in your neighborhood.

ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO SPAY/NEUTER THEIR DOGS, and if it is within your means, please consider helping them if they are not able to afford it or if they need help getting to the veterinarian.

TALK OPENLY ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR ANIMALS, let everyone know that you care about the strays you see on the street and that you are helping them.  Encourage others to join you.  Animal lovers are the MAJORITY in Puerto Rico, so please don’t be silent – YOU are their voice.

MAKE A FINANCIAL DONATION to help PAPR continue to help animals.  If everyone donated just a small amount each month, it would make a big difference.  Please consider helping the animals this way.

IF YOU CAN’T DONATE, YOU CAN STILL HELP!  Hold a car wash, a dog wash, or a bake sale.  At your next birthday party, ask for gifts for the dogs instead of gifts for yourself.  Organize a food, toy and supply drive at your school or place of business, and invite PAPR to come and talk about our work – we’ll even bring along one of the dogs you are helping to save!  Put your imagination to work, the list of ways to help is endless.

PROVIDE TEMPORARY FOSTER CARE for dogs in need.   Pets Alive Puerto Rico is always looking for experienced foster homes that are willing and able to  provide a safe and nurturing environment until we are able to take the dog into the sanctuary.  (email to offer your services)

VOLUNTEER at your local shelter once a week or once a month – the staff and the animals need you!


PLEASE DONATE TO THE CRITICAL CARE FUND -  BECAUSE EVERY LIFE IS PRECIOUS! Your gift in any amount to will make it possible to continue to help dogs like Phoenix who need extra medical care.  No amount is too small to make a difference.




SPONSOR THE SPAY/NEUTER OF A STRAY DOG.  Your gift of $75 will provide a street dog with spay/neuter, 2 vaccinations, medication for internal parasites, common skin ailments and flea/tick preventative, plus a collar & ID Tag .


To learn more about Pets Alive Puerto Rico:

“Like” us on Facebook

“Follow” us on Twitter

Visit our web page:

Contact us via email at

Call us at 787-228-9639

Filed in Uncategorized by Joy Carson on Mar 07, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Saving Sarah


“I’m ready for this winter to end.” “It’s been brutal this year.” “Polar Vortex, that’s a new one, never heard of that before!” “When did they start naming winter snow storms anyway?”
All of us who live in upstate New York know that this year has been freezing cold, snowy and seemingly never ending. Now imagine being outside, injured, hungry and alone during those bitter snowy days. Cold, wet, injured, starving and alone – that is exactly how Sarah was found on a frigid February day, sitting on the porch of an abandoned house. Had she wandered to this home looking for help and shelter? Had her people abandoned her here to fend for herself through the cold, harsh winter? Had she accidentally slipped out from a loving home and lost her way?
SarahWe will never know how Sarah ended up on that abandoned porch, but as fate would have it, this was her lucky day. Two cat loving people passing by just happened to spot her and knew immediately that this little girl needed help and needed it quickly. Leaping into action, they scooped up a scared and bleeding Sarah and rushed her to an emergency veterinarian where it was determined that her tail would need to be amputated. Our best guess is that Sarah must have sustained her injury because she climbed up into a car engine to try and warm herself. Sadly – or perhaps luckily – her tail took most of the trauma, which is a part she can live without.
Our good Samaritans were now facing the scary fact of how to afford helping Sarah in her time of need. They did the right thing. They didn’t turn their backs on Sarah’s meows for help. They didn’t leave her behind to suffer sarah_buttalone. But now what were they to do? With four pets plus a senior hospice foster already residing in their own home, how could they possibly help Sarah? That is when I received their email: was there anything Pets Alive could do to help them save Sarah? They couldn’t bear to see her suffer, but they couldn’t take on the responsibility of a very large and growing vet bill added to their already extensive responsibilities to their existing family. But could we? Winter months are always the hardest on rescues and sanctuaries. But how could we turn our backs on Sarah?
WE COULDN’T! That isn’t who we are. We quickly arranged for Sarah to be brought straight to our vet where she could get more essential medical attention she so desperately required. We would figure out the rest later. The important thing here and now was that Sarah was getting the help she needed.
Sarah is now at the Pets Alive Middletown recovering from her surgeries and available for adoption. It’s easy to see how grateful she is for being saved by the way she greets everyone as they enter her room. She’s always ready with a meow of thanks, a leg rub of gratitude, a purr of love. She has a full belly for the first time in who knows how long, and we’re happy to report we can no longer feel every bone in her body! She is warm and safe, with a place to sleep and rest her body as she heals. SARAH HAS BEEN SAVED.


sarah2Please always remember to bang on your hood of your car before you start it, it could save an animal from injury or even worse! And please consider making a donation to help offset the expense of Saving Sarah and every other Sarah that cries out to us for help.


To Adopt Sarah


Filed in Uncategorized by Pets Alive Blogger on Feb 16, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

They Still Need You! The “Broken Cats” One Year Later

Pancake, Syrup, Pop Tart, Links, Marmalade, and Smuckers: Their names read like an iHop’s breakfast menu.
It’s been almost a year since we got the phone call about 50+ cats thrown out into the cold from a hoarding situation. We partnered with MidHudson Animal Aide to save them all! (You can read the first part of their story at

We have nursed them all back to health and mended their physical wounds. But like many survivors of hoarding situations the physical wounds heal faster than the emotional ones. Learning to trust is full of baby steps forward and many steps back. We are all so proud of the “broken cats” who have been adopted this past year: Links, whose owner looked past the scared, shy boy and took a chance on him. They saw not the fear in his eyes but the glimmer of hope in his eye wanting to trust and love but afraid and unsure of how to. For Pancake who won the hearts of his adopters, it was love at first sight. McMuffin, whose adopter found him and just knew that this little boy needed her love and patience. Syrup, who waited almost a year for the perfect family to overlook his physical imperfections and see nothing but a perfect, beautiful boy.

While we are so proud and happy for those who have been adopted we continue to fight for and work with so many others. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some of our “broken cats” and where they are today.

Welcome Marmalade to center stage. This tiny beauty is warming up for her first big performance. In the time she has been with us she has come so far. From the scared little girl who spent her days hiding and peeking around and out of cubbies to the girl you see now, out and about in her room. You see we found the way to Marmalade’s heart – Temptation treats! This little girl will do just about anything for a few. While she still won’t allow us to pet her she will nudge your hand if you stand very still and hold out treats for her. She does love other cats and is often found snuggled up with her roommates.

The boy in the corner, Smuckers, whose main way of communicating with us has been to hiss whenever we got to close, (Who are we kidding? Anytime we walked into his room!) Well he has had a major breakthrough in the last month! He now allows some of us to pet him! While he still may hiss from time to time he is slowly learning hissing just doesn’t work with us as we always come back. We are hopeful that one day soon he will purr out loud in enjoyment of his daily petting sessions.

Then there is little Oatmeal. This girl has been through so much in her short life. Oatmeal came to us pregnant but suffered a miscarriage due to a severe infection. We have mended her body and are working hard to mend her spirit. Oatmeal has been putting her brave paw forward lately and instead of hiding and watching from a far she has taken to staying out in the room when staff and volunteers are near. We haven’t figured out her “weakness” yet but we are trying because really how many kitties can resist tuna?

These “broken cats” need you! Adopt – open your heart and home to one of these very special angels and give them your time and the patience they need to blossom and be whole again. Foster – not able to adopt today? Maybe you have the time to work one on one with one of these special cats for a few months and help them on their road to recovery. Volunteer – maybe you are not able to bring one of our “broken cats” into your home but you can still make a difference! You can commit to coming in and working with them on a one on one basis. We will gladly teach you everything you need to know. It’s not hard – it just takes love, time and patience. Donate/Sponsor – help us continue our work. We can’t do this without your continued support.

Written by Becky Tegze the 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 Jan 26, 2014.  There are 1 comments.  

Boomer’s Blog

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester 

Boomer arrived at Elmsford Animal Shelter in 2008. The two year old Boomer was one of 600 dogs that would only know life in a kennel with staff and volunteers to offer a walk or some love occasionally.

Pets Alive took over the Elmsford Animal Shelter in 2010 and acquired all 600 dogs and 500 cats. Boomer was one of many dogs listed as dog aggressive. Sadly many of the dogs were crated, stacked on one another through the hallways of this very large facility and you can imagine the pent up energy they all had being in crates most of the 24 hours a day. There were also multiple dogs chained to the walls of the kennel runs and once Pets Alive took over we were able to help with making their lives much easier in many ways. Not many dogs or cats were adopted out by the previous shelter and Boomer was one of them. He was one of many dogs that didn’t have the opportunity to get adopted at the young age of 2 when he arrived (a highly adoptable age by any standard). But, instead he lived there for 5 years. He went from a 2 year old boy that could have had a great chance at being adopted on age alone to a 7 year old and considered not a highly adoptable dog any longer.

Pets Alive took over the Elmsford Shelter in 2010 and about the same time that Pets Alive took over a woman named Leslie began to volunteer there. She was introduced to Boomer and quickly fell in love with him. Boomer was one happy boy despite all he had been through. He loved to go on walks, play and snuggle. Leslie found a boy that she would consider her dog at PAW for the next few years. Leslie’s words to the staff again and again have been “if I ever see the day that Boomer got into a home that would be one of the happiest days of my life”.  She had hope that this day would come but it wasn’t likely as his chances of being adopted over many other “highly adoptable” dogs (we all know this means young and not a pit bull) was not good. But, there is always hope and she did not give up on hope that some day it could happen.

Sometimes we just need to have a little hope and know that as a new day comes for us all, a new page turns in not only our lives but that of the animals at PAW too. New doors can open and have opened. Over this past year 30 Legacy Dogs went into homes. Many senior dogs and cats were adopted and we HOPE that in 2014 we will see many more go into great homes.

At a recent event Pets Alive Westchester had on October 26th Leslie was speaking to staff and volunteers about Boomer.  She was saying how she wished she could do something to help Boomer find a home. In our conversation she was told to do all she could through social media to build awareness about him. Do a write up about him and see where it will go. We discussed doing a blog to help this great boy find a home. At that moment Boomer climbed up onto Leslie’s lap – we laughed and called him a “lap dog”. Then I snapped a picture and posted it to Facebook.



The next day I received this email:

My name is Nicole and I’m pretty sure I know Boomer. I know this might sound weird. Back around Oct 2006 I found a pit roaming the streets and I took her in. To my surprise she was pregnant. We named her Nala. She needed an emergency C-section on December 6, 2006 or she and the puppies wouldn’t survive. Good thing I worked and still currently do at an animal hospital as a vet tech. We did the c-section. Nala and only 4 puppies survived. I think Boomer is one of her puppies. Nala passed away last year of a hemangiosarcoma. It broke our hearts because she was always our baby. WE kept 1 of her puppies, Lila and still have her. 3 years ago we acquired her sister Drea back into our lives as we were her 5th owners and her only choice other than a shelter. They are both happy and healthy. So back to Boomer. One of my husband’s friends took Boomer who lived in Ossining, NY. He promised to give him a good home. His name was Danny R. (Last name withheld for privacy.) We lost contact with Danny and Boomer over the years. A couple of years later we heard he didn’t have Boomer anymore. This left me very upset and not knowing what happened to him. We didn’t know if he got into a good home or fell into the wrong hands. I told everyone who got a puppy, if you could not keep them to please contact me and I would help re-home the puppies. Now after years of wondering I saw a picture you posted on Facebook of a brindle pit named Boomer who resembles his sister Drea. My heart dropped. I attached baby pics of Boomer so you know I am not fooling you or making this story up. This is some type of fate or something to be crossing paths with him again. (Just so you don’t think I have bad intentions I have saved a dog who was adopted from Pets Alive – his name was Blizzard in your records and needed a foreign body surgery. I think it was a guy named John who I spoke to and came to pick up the dog from our hospital. )

All I would like to do is meet Boomer and try to help him find a special home. I really hope you are able to help me with this request. I have not been able to stop thinking about him since I saw the picture last night.

Thank you for your time.



Boomer and siblings                     Boomer puppy

I read it again, as I had to take in what she was telling me. I initially thought that there was no way that this could be possible, but once I pulled out Boomers file I saw that the person who had surrendered Boomer to the shelter in 2008 was indeed the same person who she had adopted him out to. After all this time, she had finally found him. It was unbelievable and I shared the information with staff and volunteers in the office. We were all floored. What were the chances?

I wrote her back immediately:

Hi Nicole.

Your email was so intriguing. I looked up the name of the person who surrendered Boomer and indeed it was Daniel R. Boomer came to us in 2008. The listed reason for surrender was because they had a baby coming and didn’t have enough time for him.

I would love to have you come meet Boomer. He is a wonderful dog that is still in need of a great home.

It’s an amazing story and yes, I do believe it could be fate that you saw my post about him on Facebook.



After that day, Boomer’s life changed forever. All it took was one person who loved him so much. Like many times in life, there are things that happen that trigger other things to happen. In this case if Leslie didn’t speak with us about what she could do to help Boomer find a home, Boomer climbing on her lap, us laughing and taking a picture to post to Facebook, Nikki would never have seen Boomer. Was it fate? Was it coincidence? I’m not sure what it was that made the stars align that day for Boomer and Nikki, but it happened and we are all grateful that it did. Nikki came to Pets Alive Westchester the next day with her family and Boomer never looked back. After 5 years, Boomer is now in the home he belongs in. The home where love lives for him. He will have this love the rest of his life. It’s times like these that we rejoice and know that miracles do happen.

Instead of writing a blog about Boomer in need of a home, I’m happy to announce that Boomer was adopted. Another Pets Alive Westchester miracle.

boomer adoption

Filed in Animal Rescue, Why we do this by Erin Guilshan on Jan 26, 2014.  There are 4 comments.  

Starting Off On The Right Foot

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester 

Asia is a beautiful 7 month old girl that came to us from a high kill shelter in South Carolina. This charming girl’s personality wins over everyone at the sanctuary. She is always so happy to see people. It’s as if she knows that she was put here on earth to bring out the best in people (and animals too) that she comes in contact with. You can’t help but smile when you see her. She will make a wonderful addition to any home.

photo 2

But, there is one problem. Asia has something called a luxating patella, which means that her kneecap becomes dislocated to the point where it is dislocated all of the time. She is slated for a surgery that could cost up to $2,200 right after Christmas. She needs this surgery in order to have a normal life and so that this condition will not worsen in time. Her playful spirit and happy attitude tell us that she is not in any pain but without this surgery, this would be certain to grow to be a lot worse.

We asked Dr. Katie to weigh in on the details about this surgery as well as what an expected prognosis would be. Here is what she had to say about it:

“The luxating patella (aka kneecap dislocation or trick knee), is an extremely common problem in toy breed dogs. An owner typically notices a little skip in the dog’s step. The dog may even run on three legs, holding one hind leg up, and then miraculously be back on four legs as if nothing has happened. In fact, something has happened: the kneecap (patella) has slipped out of the smooth groove in which it normally rides up and down. With the patella dislocated (or luxated), the knee cannot extend properly and stays bent. Hopefully, the patient will be able to slip the kneecap back where it belongs and be back to normal in only a few steps. For some dogs, getting a kneecap back where it belongs and normal extension of the rear leg is only attainable with surgical correction. The severity of patellar luxation is graded on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the most severe. Grades 1 and 2 can be managed medically, with anti-inflammatories, glucosamine, and weight loss. Grades 3 and 4 require surgical correction. Asia has a grade 3 luxating patella – the patella is out of place all the time but can be manipulated back into its normal position manually (though it will not stay there). Without surgery, she can only maneuver on 3 legs. With surgery, she has a good prognosis of returning to full, normal function in her affected limb. Approximately 50% of affected dogs have both knees involved while the other 50% has only one knee involved. It is possible that Asia will develop patellar luxation in her other knee in the future, so it is important to address her current luxation as early as possible.”

We will keep you all posted about Asia and how she does after her surgery. She already has a foster lined up who happens to be a vet tech that will care for her during this time.

Please consider making a donation to the Critical Care Medical Fund today. It takes all of us to improve their lives and we cannot do this again and again without your support.


Filed in Animal Rescue by Erin Guilshan on Dec 17, 2013.  There are 1 comments.  

Kerry Clair announces retirement from Pets Alive

Kerry Clair announced on Saturday that she would retire as Executive Director and President of Pets Alive, Inc. based in Middletown, NY.

For the past 6 years, Kerry has been at the helm of Pets Alive, rescuing thousands of animals during that time and steering Pets Alive to the forefront of the no kill movement. A beloved and valued member of the Pets Alive team, Kerry leaves behind a remarkable legacy of dedication, love and compassion for animals. The Pets Alive team will continue that legacy and expand on it, taking Pets Alive to new heights over the coming months and years.

Plans are already in place to build a state of the art medical facility at the Middletown location, enabling Pets Alive to save money while increasing the level of care to the animals. At the Westchester facility, major renovations are in progress, including a new roof and new dog kennels to provide a safer, healthier, happier environment for the animals. In Puerto Rico, Pets Alive will continue to grow and be a voice for change on the island. All of this and more is made possible in part by very generous grants from Sidewalk Angels Foundation.

With so many new and exciting developments in store for Pets Alive, the search for a new Executive Director to lead the Middletown sanctuary is already underway. Kerry has agreed to assist the board of directors in the search and to stay on to train her replacement, assuring a smooth transition.

Please join us in thanking Kerry for helping to build a strong foundation on which Pets Alive can continue to grow and save even more lives over the coming years. As Kerry looks forward to a well-deserved retirement, we wish her all the best that life has to offer.

Board of Directors, Pets Alive, Inc.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Filed in Updates by kerry on Aug 17, 2013.  There are 61 comments.