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 1 Comment

One Response to “Dottsie’s Update – Pets Alive Middletown”

  1. Lynn Adler Says:


    I wanted to let you know directly that I’m in the midst of a fundraiser for which Pet’s Alive will be a beneficiary. Not sure that you’d remember, but I spent the afternoon up in Middletown last September, with Linda Eder and others(shout-out to Linda for making her fans aware of this fantastic place many years ago). Below is a link to my fundraising page. The letter there says it all. But to summarize, I’m first raising funds for MS, via a 50 mile bike ride on Sept 6. I’m then going to match those donations received, in the names of all of those who donated to my ride, and splitting that matched money between an ovarian cancer charity and Pet’s Alive. My company will add several hundred dollars more, via corporate matching funds. Here’s the link. And thanks for everything that you all do.

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