Archives for Animal Rescue category

Peyton and Miss Diva Go Home for the Holidays

By Audrey Lodato, Executive Director

At Pets Alive we believe that there is a home for every animal, but sometimes finding that home can take some time. We work hard as a team to talk about how long an animal has been in our care so that we can make sure that no animal falls through the cracks.  We have a morning meeting every day, and at morning meeting we talk about these long-term residents and how we can get them more visibility.

Peyton news

Recently we decided that we would focus on Peyton finding her forever home. Peyton came to us after being found pregnant on the streets of New Jersey.  A Good Samaritan named Adam rescued Peyton and brought her to Pets Alive. She had her puppies at her foster home, and she was a great mom. Her puppies quickly got adopted, but Peyton has been waiting patiently for three years.  At Pets Alive, we always try to think of fun ways to promote our animals on social media. We know we have some of the most amazing and dedicated followers who have helped us save the lives of thousands of animals.

10846255_938907452804883_412054422258380350_nSo after a very fun session with the Pets Alive team Peyton received a promotion to our “Daily Newscaster” on Facebook. Peyton’s new job was to report on the daily activities at the sanctuary. Peyton took advantage of this highly coveted access to show the world how amazing she was. She did talk about her friends here and there but she always made sure to tell her listeners just how lucky they would be to share their home with her. Peyton was only on the air for a short time because her very informative (and silly) newscasts did the trick and a very nice couple came to meet Peyton. Just in time for the holidays Peyton is now living in her forever home. She even has a new best friend and they enjoy spending time together in the beautiful fenced in back yard.

Peyton nominated her friend Romeo to take over the Pets Alive Daily News and we hope that Romeo will soon find his forever home too. We cannot thank you all enough for helping Peyton, and all of the other animals in our care, find love and happiness.

10500566_938988482796780_5592743086000777182_nNot to be out done our very own Miss Diva Deluxe decided that it was her turn in the spotlight. Diva found her way to Pets Alive almost exactly one year ago. Sadly her previous family had put her outside during one of the worst winters our area has ever seen. Luckily she managed to survive long enough in the polar vortex for one of our volunteers to find her and get her to safety at Pets Alive. One look at this girl and everyone instantly fell in love. Diva is so pretty and fluffy. Her personality is unmatched. Goofy and loving at the same time. It is impossible not to smile when Diva is around- probably because she will climb up your back just to get to your face and give you kisses. Staff and volunteers could not understand how this girl was still with us and not in her own home. She had been adopted a few months ago to a very nice man but he had decided he wasn’t quite ready yet after the loss of his long time companion.

Diva at home with momA few weeks ago a kind young woman named Kathryn visited the Cat House with her father. She explained to the staff that she had recently returned home from Australia where she lived at a cat sanctuary. She and her family had lost their senior kitty and wanted to adopt. Her mother had given her just one instruction- she wanted the sweetest, most friendly, shoulder cat that Kathryn could find. We could not believe our ears! Shoulder cat you say? Well, well, well- do WE have the cat for YOU! They met Miss Diva Deluxe as well as a few of her friends and advised they would be back soon. On Sunday they adopted Diva and we could not be more happy for her! She has settled right in to her new home and continues to make all those around her smile.

Pets Alive believes passionately that it is our duty to provide not just a place to live for our animals, but that we provide them what they need to be successful in a new home. Sometimes, as was the case with Diva and Peyton, all they really need is time.

Time is a simple thing, but it’s not something that every homeless animal has the privilege of getting. When we commit to an animal, we commit to them for life. They get all the time they need to find a family that’s right for them, which is why your support is so important. We’re so happy to celebrate Peyton and Diva’s adoptions in time for the holidays. Thank you all so much for your love and faith in us. From the entire Pets Alive family to you and yours- 


A. Lodato photo


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

Filed in Animal Rescue, Why we do this by Audrey Lodato on Dec 16, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Rescuing Dice

This is a story about Dice, a cat who had the bad luck to break his leg in Brooklyn. It’s the story of how we saved his life. It’s also a story about believing in the no kill movement, and about how Pets Alive saves the lives of animals every day.

There’s a group called Urgent that works to save lives of thousands of animals stuck in New York City’s Animal Care and Control. They are volunteer run and work tirelessly at all hours of the night to help dogs and cats in danger of being killed. They are kind people with big hearts who truly believe that No Kill is inevitable, like we do here at Pets Alive. Urgent works with the New Hope team at the NYCACC facilities. The New Hope Department at NYCACC works with various rescues to save animals that are slated to be killed. Collaboration saves lives.

What Urgent does is compile the profile information of all of the animals that are slated to be killed, and publish them every night on social media. They call this the “Urgent List.”  Good samaritans all over the country then network to help the animals on the list by sharing them, contacting rescues who might be interested in saving them, and helping people through the rescue process.

Dice’s profile the night he was on the list looked like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 2.43.46 PM

Now, as you can imagine, working at Pets Alive I encounter hundreds of pictures daily of animals in need of rescue. Although every one is heart breaking, some tend to resonate with you more than others. I don’t know what it was about Dice. Maybe it was the way that he held his broken leg up in the photo. I knew his injuries would be expensive to treat, but I could not stop thinking how scared he must be, all alone and in pain. I checked his intake date again- November 13th- I checked my calendar November 16th.  This poor boy had been sitting with a broken leg for 3 days already.

I asked Sue, Adoptions and Intakes Team, to contact New Hope and let them know Pets Alive wanted to pull this cat immediately. Three very anxious days went by before we finally received a response on November 19th. We were terrified they had already killed him. We contacted them multiple times throughout those three days- begging for a response or an update on his status- FINALLY- we received a response that he was still in their facility and that we were confirmed to pull him.10351967_1021754597840021_6365816307284172016_n

Dice arrived to Pets Alive on November 21, after spending a total of 8 days with animal care and control. Although he had a splint, he had not had any medication for the pain. He was immediately rushed to the veterinarians office and received a full work up.

X-rays revealed that his front leg was broken in two places. Since he had been so long without proper medical care, his bones were beginning to set incorrectly. He would need a new cast every week or two until his leg healed, with multiple follow up x-rays to monitor his progress.

We cannot even imagine the stress Dice has encountered since that fateful day he was brought to CACC. Knowing he sat in a cage in pain and fearful of his surroundings. Then he was placed in a cardboard box and took the hour and a half car ride to Pets Alive only to be immediately rushed to the vet’s to diagnose, set and cast his injuries. But after spending even just a few moments with Dice you wouldn’t know how much he had been through. He was so happy to be in comforting arms. He loved the attention (and probably the pain medication too!).


Unfortunately all of the trauma of the entire ordeal may have caught up to Dice.  He has not been sleeping well. He trembles when he is frightened.  I’ve seen him forcing his little eyes open to stay awake, he seems to be afraid to go to sleep- like all of this warmth, love and comfort will somehow disappear and he will be back in that cage waiting to die. We knew the best place for Dice was in a foster home where he could get appropriate peace and quiet,  so I took him home to my house. There he will stay until he is well enough to be adopted. Dice enjoyed a well-deserved sleep last night and some cuddle time on the couch.

10806278_1022961837719297_7523853671359728601_nBecause of the extent of Dice’s injuries he will need multiple follow up x-rays followed by re-casting. We know his care will be very expensive and we need some help. We thank you all so much for your support.

When Pets Alive, and other rescues, partner with groups like Urgent and New Hope we all work towards the common goal of saving the lives of animals in shelters and giving them the chance they deserve to heal from their injuries, illnesses or behavioral needs. We will continue to support the NYCACC when they choose LIFE over DEATH. We will continue to partner with New Hope, Urgent and all of the groups who work tirelessly to network those who are in danger of being placed on the next nightly kill list. Your support helps us to help them. Your support will help us reach the goal of a No Kill New York. Thank you for all you do and thank you for helping us save Dice and the thousands of others that still need us!


Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill, NYCACC by Audrey Lodato on Nov 25, 2014.  There are 0 comments.  

Serafina and Gabriel- UPDATE!

By Audrey Lodato, Executive Director

sera with janetWe have some pretty incredible and unexpected news to share with all of you. When we left off on our story of Gabriel and Serafina, we were waiting to take possession of the dogs from the vet where they were being held on stray hold and bring Serafina to Oradell for evaluation of her injuries.

We received the dogs yesterday afternoon, and as you can imagine, our focus was getting Serafina directly to Oradell to be evaluated.  At Oradell, Serafina saw the neurologist and the news was mixed. Serafina would need her bladder expressed three times a day for life. She would not walk again and would need a cart.  But, she would not need immediate surgery and was not in any pain. After some cage rest she would be fitted for her cart and on her way to a better life.gabe in office

Gabriel spent last night in my office on a comfy bed, and although he had walks, cuddles and a good meal, we didn’t do much with him aside from that. This morning, our whole staff was wondering if would be possible to co-house the two dogs. Serafina needs 6 weeks of crate rest but they were obviously broken hearted without each other. They were in the same building but it probably felt like a world away.

We decided we would try and bring Gabriel into Janet’s office, where Serafina was being held, and see how she reacted. While we were in there, I suggested we double check for a microchip. The intake paperwork did say that they had been scanned at the vet, but it’s always a good plan to double check. When we heard the beep that the scanner makes when a chip is detected, Janet and I just looked at each other. After all these dogs had been through, they had owners; People who probably cared about them and were looking for them.

gabe with dadWe raced into my office and called the microchip company, and then we got the information for the owners. When Alexis, their owner, answered the phone, she was stunned. The dogs had been gone a more than a week, and they had been lost in Connecticut. They had gotten away in a simple accident – while visiting a friend’s house with the dogs, they had gotten out of a gate.  The dogs must have run together for a long way through the woods until they reached the road where Serafina was hit. They were picked up by animal control the same day they were lost.


The dog we were calling Gabriel’s real name is Bumble. Serafina’s real name is Iris. They live in Connecticut and the family has six children. All of them were missing their dogs. The family had been frantic looking for them, but they had been looking in the wrong place. No one would suspect the dogs would have traveled so far in such a short amount of time.

I carefully explained to Alexis that Iris had been hit by a car and was paralyzed, and I told them the story of how they had ended up here. Alexis took in all of the information, and of course she was upset that Iris was hurt, but she was also happy that both dogs were alive.sera with fam smiling

Alexis and her family drove the 2 and a half hours from their home in Connecticut to Pets Alive today, where we reunited them with Iris and Bumble.  Janet, Sue, Tracey and I spent several hours with them going over all of the daily care Iris will need. We also touched base with their veterinarian and sent all of the records over. The donations that we have collected will go directly to the costs associated with Iris’s care. The majority will go to pay our bill at Oradell, and the rest we will put towards a cart for Iris.

Pets Alive feels very privileged to have assisted these dogs.  Had we not stepped in, these dogs would never have gone home. Iris would most likely have been euthanized, and Bumble adopted to another family.  Sometimes, angels really do watch over animals. Today we got to be angels ourselves, and we have YOU to thank for it!

Sera and Gabe going home


Filed in Animal Rescue, Updates by Jenessa Cutler on Nov 15, 2014.  There are 2 comments.  

Serafina’s Angels

by Audrey Lodato, Executive Director

GabrielWhen two hunters came upon a skinny and frantic spotted dog in the woods last week, they followed him thinking he must be lost. He seemed anxious and upset, and he would not approach the hunters. They soon found out why. The dog led them to the side of a road, where in the mud, bleeding and broken but alive, lay another dog. The hunters wanted to help but as they tried to approach the second dog, the spotted dog kept them away by growling. He seemed to want their assistance but he was fearful. The world at hurt them so much already. What would these men do to her? To him? He protected his friend and later this story would earn him a name.  Gabriel– the guardian angel.

The hunters called Jim Riley, a Dutchess County animal control officer, who hurried to the scene. He managed to get Gabriel into his van and then gently lifted the second dog inside. He drove straight to the Animal Emergency Vet in Poughkeepsie.

At the vet, the injured dog met yet another angel, Chrissy. Chrissy is a veterinary technician who works at the emergency vet. She was broken hearted when they diagnosed the injured dog with a spinal fracture. Chrissy posted the dog’s information on her Facebook page as well as some photos, hoping for a rescue to take her in. Dr. D’Abbraccio, a friend of Chrissy’s and also a board member for Pets Alive, saw the post and forwarded it to me by email.

Serafina sadI looked at that email for a long time. I knew that taking on this dog meant a lot of medical expenses at the worst time of the year-impending winter- when animal rescues struggle financially.  I knew that her road back to health would be a difficult one. But I also knew that Pets Alive had done this before. Rockin’ Robert had very similar injuries and now has a wonderful life in an excellent home. This dog deserved the same chance.

After careful deliberation and staring at this sweet girl’s face for some time I replied – Yes, Pets Alive would love to help. I chose the name Serafina for the Catholic St. Seraphina, who suffered greatly in her life but with the help of angels never wavered from her faith and love of humanity. Angels had surrounded this beautiful girl so far, and I hoped the sainted name would bring her luck.

The next day, Janet and I took a long car ride to Pine Plains Veterinary Hospital, where Serafina was being held. Any dog that is picked up by animal control is held for five days before they can be transferred to a rescue group. This gives the owners a chance to find their dog if they had run away – frustratingly no one was looking for Gabriel and Serafina. While we waited for their hold time to expire our team began to put together a plan for how we could help. We immediately determined that Janet and I would first meet with the vet to ensure that if we rescued Serafina she would be comfortable and have a good quality of life.

Serafina Kisses with JanetWhen we met Serafina in her cage at the hospital, we both fell in love right away. She had such a sweet disposition even though we knew she must be frightened. Her injuries, although terrible, are manageable for us, and more importantly, for her. Serafina has a spinal fracture that has paralyzed her back legs. She’s also covered in road rash. She was likely hit by a car and dragged. We’ll need to do some further testing to find out if she will be able to walk again or if she will need a cart.

And finally today is the day that both Serafina and Gabriel are released from stray hold. Today is the first day of the rest of their lives. Today they become members of the Pets Alive family. Of course we took Gabriel as well- he is her guardian angel! Serafina will go directly to Oradell Animal Hospital to determine the full extent of her injuries, what surgeries she may need and how we can help her heal from such a traumatic and painful ordeal.Serafina smiles

Pets Alive continues to step in and save animals in the most difficult of circumstances. We are a chance for animals that have no other option. However we know the costs associated with Serafina’s care will be a major expense for Pets Alive and we greatly appreciate your support of her rescue, her medical care and her rehabilitation.

She will need a foster home, and then a forever home. We will need your help to help her, but we know that we can count on our supporters. YOU are OUR angels; the ones who help us save lives. Thank you for all you do!!


Filed in Animal Rescue by Jenessa Cutler on Nov 14, 2014.  There are 0 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 1 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.  

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 Year of the Horse- The Mane Story

By Jenessa Cutler and Cindy O’Brien

Foxy, Josie and Captain

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

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

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

Gentleman Murphy

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

Amy the mini and Hazel the mama pig

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

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


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


Pastures in need of new fencing

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

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

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

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


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

Our Greatest Challenge

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is what our love looks like

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So where do we go from here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet our Newest Additions!

By Dottsie Perez, Executive Director 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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