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Announcing the New Pets Alive Blog!

Hey, big news! The Pets Alive Blog is MOVING! We’ll be leaving this up, but it will no longer be updated. Come join us at our new home!

Filed in Uncategorized by John Sibley on May 11, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

Audrey’s Update – April 2015

When I was first  started  in animal rescue many years ago, I watched what was going on at Pets Alive on social media and here on the blog – the mass rescues, the amazing number of adoptions, the advocacy on behalf of the animals that were being mistreated in our area. I often thought “I want to rescue animals like that. I want to work someplace where saving lives is always the priority.” I took what I learned from watching Pets Alive and brought it back in my volunteer work, and then to my position as Shelter Manager at Mid Hudson Animal Aid in Beacon, NY. Before long, MHAA was working with Pets Alive to do those same kinds of rescues I had admired from afar. And from there I learned to manage them on my own – and we did them.

It’s more than fair to say that even though I’m new to the organization, Pets Alive has had a place in my heart for many, many years. When I think about the vision I have for the future of Pets Alive, I think about those times when I admired the work Pets Alive was doing. That’s the organization I want us to continue to be. The one that other groups can look up to, or ask for help, or learn from. I’m so happy to be able to provide my very first official update as your Executive Director.

Since the beginning of 2015, we’ve adopted out 65 cats and 51 dogs. We’ve rescued 56 dogs and 92 cats, — we’ve had a few wanda yuckrescues and adoptions that have been quite notable too. One of my favorite adoptions was Wanda, a 10-year-old senior cat with a cleft palate saved from a high kill shelter. I love this story, not because it’s such an incredible rescue but because it epitomizes what we do every day.  Wanda was a cat with very little chance to make it out alive from a shelter system where 90% of cats are killed.  Wanda’s cleft palate caused her to have some facial disfiguration and to drool. She was an older girl. She looked a little funny. She SOUNDED terrible when she breathed – like something might be very wrong with her. But our Cat Manager, Becky saw her potential when no one else did, and scooped Wanda up from a high kill facility. We took her in, made her safe, got her well and then got her what she deserved the entire time – a home. Doing things like saving Wanda makes Pets Alive what it is – the place that will try when no one else will.

WandaCat adoptions in general are doing amazing this year. The cat team has doubled their goal three months in a row and we’re so proud of them. A lot of this has to do with adding some dedicated cat staff to our team and expanding our payroll in the cat department. We’re definitely saving more cats with these new additions!

On the dog side of things, adoptions have been a little slower. Many of our current dogs have some behavioral issues and it’s taking a little longer to place these dogs in the perfect home. To showcase some of our harder to place dogs, we’ve started “The Pets Alive Daily News” on Facebook. Each night, one of our dogs tells our followers about what’s going on at the sanctuary and they also talk a little about what kind of home they’d like. This program has been very popular. The Pets Alive Daily News gets shared all over the world.


Our first “News Dog” was Peyton, who had come in as a pregnant mom found on the streets in NewPeyton news Jersey. She had her puppies in her foster home, and one by one they got adopted, leaving Peyton behind. Peyton wasn’t getting a lot of attention until we suddenly made her famous. When she got adopted, it was one of the best days in a long time. Finding the perfect home is challenging, but we won’t accept anything else. Our dog adoption team continues to get creative and works hard each day to make matches that will last a lifetime.

We’ve also done a lot of repair work in the past six months. Things that, quite frankly, couldn’t wait any longer.  One major project we did was a renovation of the laundry room. Done almost completely by volunteers and staff and funded by your generous donations  we were able to get the ENTIRE PROJECT done for just 300 dollars more than we raised.  This makes such a huge difference in the quality of life of the animals here. It means that each dog gets to snuggle in a warm blanket on cold nights . Pets Alive cares a lot about the quality of life of the dogs in our care, and although it’s not glamorous, a new laundry room can mean a lot.


We also painted our lobby and got a generous donation of a TV that shows photos and videos of adoptable animals to people who are waiting. It’s a little thing, but it’s made the sanctuary feel much more welcoming.


Financially, things remain difficult as we head further into the new year. As always, we will never compromise on the care we provide our animals and those costs add up. Right now, we’re working to expand our monthly sponsorship program. It’s very easy to sign up and your continued support is what makes saving lives possible for us. You can donate any amount you’re comfortable with and cancel your sponsorship at any time. It’s easy to sign up. Just click HERE.

I’m looking forward to all of the great things coming up for Pets Alive this year. We’ve stacked our calendar full of adoption events and fundraisers and I hope to see you all at some of them. Check out  our events by visiting our website or our Facebook events page. You can also stop by the sanctuary to find out what’s going on.

Don’t forget that volunteer orientation is every Saturday at noon. We can’t do what we do without your help!

Filed in Uncategorized by Audrey Lodato on Apr 13, 2015.  There are 1 comments.  

A Year Later – Evacuation Day

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester 


Today marks the anniversary of a time in our lives we will never forget. It was the hardest day we have had to endure in the history of Pets Alive Westchester. We had to evacuate our building and get every single animal out as soon as possible. We can still remember hearing the words from the engineer telling us, “you need to evacuate as soon as possible” and feeling a wave of disbelief run through us. Later, that wave of disbelief would touch every volunteer and supporter as well. Our world suddenly turned upside down and it suddenly became very ‘real’ how serious the structural issues of our building really were. Until we knew that our building was safe we couldn’t risk having our animals live in it or people entering it every day.


You can read the original blog we wrote: Emergency at Pets Alive Westchester

This is a blog we wrote during the time we were out of our building: Our Greatest Challenge

You Were There When We Needed You Most

The response from the community was overwhelming. Hundreds of people stepped up to help in any way they could. During the worst1932295_620587191344773_1890310929_n time in our history, YOU WERE THERE. You helped us, supported us and lifted us up when we needed it the most. A year later we are still in awe at the wonderful community that surrounds us and we feel incredibly blessed for all of our supporters and volunteers.

Back in Our Building

Now, back in our building and doing better than ever, we can look back at all we went through knowing that we can withstand any challenge that life may throw our way. We picked up where we left off on many projects such as new adoption rooms, a freshly painted lobby, new programs we have put in place such as training sessions for the public and humane education programs for schools. Our adoption rates have skyrocketed and we are better than ever! It seems as if we have this renewed spirit after all we had been through. It’s as if we now know for sure that we can get through any challenge. If we made it through that together we can do anything. The sky is the limit.

What’s Happening with the Building

closet crackingThe cost we endured financially from the evacuation was not something we anticipated or budgeted for – who would have thought something like that could happen? After months of drilling, soil testing and evaluating our property and building, the insurance company let us know that they weren’t going to cover any repairs, but eventually agreed to cover the costs of all the testing that was done.

The repairs need to begin right away now that the winter is over. This week as we mark one year from evacuating our building, we will begin to repair it. The harsh winter didn’t help with the severe freezing that occurred and the loading dock area in particular is getting worse. We are seeing movement happen throughout the building and I will tell you first hand it is nerve rattling to see. We have hired a contractor to make the building safe and they will begin working on the loading dock this week which is where the biggest issue is. We can only afford to do this one phase of repairs right now, but at least we will be able to rest assured that the area will be secure and safe.

This is money we would have used for other things but instead we have no other choice but to use it for repairs. Our needs are always great and we rely on our supporters to IMG_0261help us continue our great work of saving lives, rehabilitating when needed and finding loving homes for the animals in our care.

We rely solely on donations from supporters and do not receive any city or state funding. You are the ones that keep us going and your help is needed.

Thank you to all that help in so many ways.

Filed in Uncategorized by Erin Guilshan on Mar 13, 2015.  There are 0 comments.  

An Update on Bennett and Blizzard


benito Bennett, the cat we rescued from the ACC in Brooklyn, continues to be a bit of a medical mystery.  He has gained a little weight, but he continues to weigh less than he should. He spent a week at Oradell animal hospital in Paramus, where they were able to rule out some things like intestinal lymphoma, which is a type of intestinal cancer. Bennett was tentatively diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Disease, which means that he has a very sensitive digestive tract that is subject to inflammation.  We are continuing food trials and Bennett no longer has any diarrhea. He enjoys climbing around in the medical office and is very affectionate. Bennett would love a foster home. If you are interested in fostering Bennett, please contact Audrey


11041797_1093471640668316_5667987929674747180_nBlizzard is recovering nicely from his multiple bb wounds and his kidney and urinary tract infection. Our medical team has been working diligently to control his discomfort and keep him pain free.  His leg is on its way to healing and he is able to stand and walk well. Blizzard should be available for adoption in the next few weeks. If you are interested in adopting Blizzard, fill out an application at

Filed in Uncategorized by Audrey Lodato on Mar 07, 2015.  There are 1 comments.  

Rescuing Blizzard

By Becky Tegze, Cat Manager

blizzard5One of the more difficult parts of our job here at the Pets Alive cattery is also the most important – really knowing the cats’ personalities well enough to recognize when something is wrong. You see, cats are notorious for concealing problems – and since it’s also in their nature to sleep and laze around so much, it can be very challenging to know that something’s up with them even when you know them very well. Nevertheless, we noticed something wasn’t right with Blizzard, a new intake here at Pets Alive. Initially it seemed like he was just glad to finally be here in the warmth with some food in his belly, but no, he was unusually sluggish. So we took a closer look …


What started out as a mad dash to our vet Friday morning, thinking Blizzard had a possible urinary tract infection or a blocked urethra, turned into so much more. Blizzard was whisked into the back by our vet for an X-ray to see what was causing the blockage: stones, crystals, an infection?  What his x-rays revealed shocked us all – a broken femur healing incorrectly, BB pellets peppered his insides AND he had a previously broken sternum! Having only just come in to us here at Pets Alive, we can’t imagine what this poor boy has gone through and what kind of people he met up with to sustain such terrible injuries in his short life.

 sternum1Our number one priority was his blockage and his kidneys, the rest would have to wait, as we were in a race against time to save his life. He was immediately admitted to Monhagen Veterinary Hospital. IV antibiotics were started, as well as a catheter to empty out his bladder, which was the size of a grapefruit and in danger of rupturing. His bloodwork showed his kidney levels were off the charts – only time and a great deal of immediate medical attention could save him.

Our Saturday morning report from Monhagen Vet Hospital wasn’t good: Blizzard’s infection was so bad that the pus from his kidneyswas constantly clogging his catheter! He needed more around the clock care, so in the middle of snow storm he was transferred to Dr. Joe D’Abbraccio’s care at Orange County Animal Emergency Services, where he could receive the constant attention he needed. The most amazing thing we noticed is that through all of the examinations, poking, prodding, vetting, Blizzard’s spirit never faded. He was still sweetly seeking attention by reaching out his paw for pets and kisses, breaking into the world’s loudest purr at any time.


Blizzard is still fighting and we are fighting for him and with him. We need your help! Blizzard has already been hospitalized for 5 days, sustaining numerous blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays… The bills are mounting up and Blizzard is still not out of the woods, but he is a fighter and with your support we know he will make it through.

No milk or toilet paper needed for this Blizzard… Just your help and some TLC.

Please help us help Blizzard by making a donation to cover his medical expenses.

Filed in Uncategorized by Audrey Lodato on Feb 18, 2015.  There are 1 comments.  

Why We Need You


Some people think we’re superheroes.  I’m serious! They think we all have capes and we zoom in and save animals from certain death while simultaneously providing them with all of the medical care they need and an excellent quality of life and adopting them immediately into perfect homes. People ask us all the time how we do this.

It IS true that we do indeed accomplish all of these remarkable things on a daily basis. We aren’t super heroes, although the zooming part is true.  We do tend to run around a lot. Especially Andrea. Sometimes Juan might even wear a cape. – He’d do it if it helped a dog, anyway. But the real secret to how we accomplish all of these marvelous things is actually volunteers.

Jim with catsVolunteers are what give Pets Alive our superhero skills. They take on complex and difficult projects in a single bound. They walk dogs faster than a speeding bullet. They rewire our laundry room. They file stuff , take kittens to offsite events, promote adoptions and clean. They come in when we need them and make us smile when we are having a hard day. They are a crucial part of the Pets Alive family.  They help us save lives.

While we have many great volunteers at Pets Alive, we could always use more. Right now, we are looking for some volunteers to do a few specific things.

Vol with ShayOur mornings are rough in the kennel and the cattery. Animals do tend to make a mess and most of our mornings are spent cleaning up after them. We could always use some help with this. We would love it if we could get some volunteers to come and clean on a set schedule every week. Just giving us an hour or two in the morning one day a week would directly contribute to our ability to save lives.

Fund raising is also always a challenge. If you are good at video production, we could really use your help right now. We want to tell many stories and video is a great way to do that. We have two great volunteers already who are great at this. I’d love to have an army!

vol with rexxOur improving adoptability team works with dogs to help them overcome their issues and get placed into homes. Each dog needs someone to work with him or her throughout the week.  Improving adoptability is held at 11:30 on Saturday mornings. Why not come pick a dog and commit to them? A few hours every week will make a huge difference for that dog. When that dog gets adopted, you’ll help another dog too because you’ll be freeing up a kennel. Interested in learning more? Contact Robin at

Do you fix things? Yes? Great. We have a lot that’s broken. Many of our buildings need repair work and if you’re handy, we need you! We’ll provide the materials if you do the project.

Can you foster? If you can help a dog or cat that has just come in, you can make a space for us to save another animal. We need fosters most of all right now. If you are interested please contact to learn more!

Please come by and consider being a superhero yourself. Our orientation is held every Saturday at noon. You don’t need an appointment to attend. Just come by. We’ll be so happy to see you that we might even give you a cape!

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

Filed in Uncategorized by Jenessa Cutler on Nov 06, 2014.  There are 2 comments.  

Audrey Lodato Joins the Pets Alive Family

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for your continued support!



Become a monthly sponsor today!

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


Filed in Uncategorized by Jenessa Cutler on Oct 22, 2014.  There are 2 comments.  

$5 Friday- Ivan’s Story


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

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

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


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

Three Months of Love

Erin Guilshan, Executive Director, Pets Alive Westchester

sam2It was a very rainy day when Sammy, a little black Chihuahua arrived at Pets Alive Westchester by someone who found him at the nearby SAM’s Club parking lot (hence his very creative name). It was obvious he had been neglected by his owners. This old boy’s nails were growing into his paw pads, he had a large tumor just above his tail and he was severely overweight. We brought him right to the veterinarian to get him examined.

An echo-cardiogram showed that he had a level 4 heart murmur (you can only get up to a level 5) and he also had laryngeal paralysis (which prohibits the ability to breath and can interfere with eating). Unable to put him under anesthesia due to his heart condition we could not remove the tumor that was under his tail. Just a few days later it ruptured and was painlessly removed by the vet. We had him on medication to try to keep any infection from spreading through his body and continued with the medications for his heart and for the fluid surrounding it. Suspecting he may have Cushing’s Disease as well, which is too much cortisol being release from his glands, would only do more harm to his heart.

There are times when animals come to us in pretty bad shape like Sammy. For some animals we rely on Hospice Fosters to give them the home and love that they have been in need of for so long. Putting them in a kennel is not an option. They deserve in an environment that will enable them to enjoy their senior years. Sam came home with me to live the remainder of his life. In the few months that we had him as a part of our lives we saw him thrive and enjoy it to the fullest. This was a gift for us too and our dog Crockett (seen to the right with Sammy). Crockett and Sammy became quick buddies. Sam would follow him around our house and occasionally we’d find them laying next to each other. Sammy was enjoying a good life with his new family.


After losing 12 lbs. his little legs still had a little trouble holding up his body weight but he would wobble around and even tried to run for his food when it was dinner time. Occasionally toppling over and like a turtle on his shell, his legs would wiggle to try to find ground again. I’d pick him up and get  him upright and he would continue on his path to where he was going. He didn’t let anything hold him back. It seemed that he even enjoyed walking around as he continued to lose weight. 

His Cushing’s Disease test did come back positive. Although, this was another ailment that he had on top of his other medical conditions, this was treatable and we would be starting him on medication as soon as possible to give him the best quality of life we could for this senior boy.

Everyone at Pets Alive Westchester loved this little guy. He was cared for both at home and at PAW. Sammy and I drove home from our day there. He loved riding in the car. He was in his doggie bed sitting next to me as I dove. He would close his eyes, lift his head with the sun shining down on his face and he would smile. He was such a sweet little guy. I was so happy to help him find happiness and contentment in life. He was loved and he knew it.


That night though he suddenly began to show signs of distress. Struggling to breathe we rushed him to the emergency veterinary hospital. His heart was quite enlarged, he also had fluid on the right side of it. He received treatment throughout the night. The next day wasn’t any better. Barely able to breathe and in heart failure we had to make the decision to end his suffering. He had enough suffering during his years of neglect. We were glad we could give him the best 3 months he may have ever had.

It was time to let him go, to be free of this struggle he was enduring. Alone with Sam I rocked him in my arms as he laid his head on my chest. I told him how much we all loved him and what a good boy he was over and over. Gently stroking him as I cradled this wonderful boy, with my lips kissing the back of his head, he passed away without any pain. The tears rolled from my eyes and the pain at the moment was difficult, but I knew it was the last gift I could give to him. Thinking about what a great life we gave him the past three months and how much happiness he brought to our lives made me smile through the tears.

samThere will always be other Sammy’s out there that need someone to love them at the end stage of life which is why we developed a Hospice Foster program. As animals approach their senior years they are in need of the love and warmth of a home. To have an animal live the remainder of their days in a shelter environment is no way to leave this earth. If you would like to give this gift to an animal and be part of our Hospice Foster program please contact

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


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

Pets Alive Announces New Future in Puerto Rico

We are excited to announce that we will be seeking out new partnerships in Puerto Rico in order to better serve the island’s abandoned, neglected, abused and mistreated dog population.


We have been on the ground in Puerto Rico for just over two years and we are very proud of our achievements we have had in that time. We have rescued over 550 dogs since January 2012 and have provided low cost spay/neuter to hundreds of families in the Utuado area. At this time we have come to the conclusion that the costs associated with having a brick and mortar location in Puerto Rico is impacting the funds available to save the lives of more animals in need.

Pets Alive will be closing the Puerto Rico location in order to begin seeking partnerships with existing rescues on the island. We are so thankful to all of our amazing supporters who have helped to make a huge difference in the lives of so many satos as well as the community and we feel confident that we will be able to take this impact to the next level by collaborating with other groups.

Prbrown pupsWe recognize that Pets Alive can provide valuable resources to the many rescue groups that have emerged on the island as high intake centers at our Middletown and Elmsford, NY locations. Together we can all work towards ending the inhumane treatment of satos and provide a safe haven for all while conserving the limited funds available.

“Two years ago Rob and I, along with The Sidewalk Angels Foundation and Pets Alive committed to the Puerto Rican pups. These partnerships have the ability to greatly increase the impact that we can provide and the number of satos we will be able to rescue. We along with the entire Pets Alive organization are excited to recommit to the community in this way and save even more lives,” said Marisol Thomas, Co-founder and President of Sidewalk Angels Foundation and Pets Alive Board Member.


We look forward to embarking on this new future in Puerto Rico and to continue our mission of improving the lives of companion animals everywhere.  Thank you all so much for your continued support!



Filed in Uncategorized by Jenessa Cutler on Jul 26, 2014.  There are 12 comments.