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Pets Alive Westchester – A Year to Remember

By Erin Guilshan, Executive Director
Pets Alive Westchester


As we close out the last chapter of 2014, we reflect upon the year with both joy and gratitude. We saved hundreds of lives and adopted nearly 700 pets into kittiesloving homes this past year.  If it wasn’t for all of the support that people like you give to us, we could never have done this. We save animals everywhere by any means possible, including those that need medical care.  We have a soft spot for those animals that need us the most like the ones that are put on kill lists because no one wants to treat their medical conditions.  We get in animals with broken bones, ones that required surgeries, and those with chronic medical conditions that sometimes just need proper medication, nourishment and love in order to be healthy again. A little TLC goes a long way.

There are times when animals have come to us so severely neglected that although we can’t undo all that has happened to them in the past, we are able to give them a better future.


princess fiona before and afterPRINCESS FIONA – Escapes the Kill List for a Second Chance
She is a wonderful senior Shih Tzu that was just moments from her deadline when we pulled her from the NYCACC Kill List. Instead of treating her, they were going to euthanize her. She has Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism. Both are treatable. She had lost most of her hair on her body from the diseases she carries, but if she was treated, it would have grown back. Her quality of life would have improved. Some of what she needed was so simple like a bath and to be groomed. These are all things that we are giving to her and we know there is someone out there who will love this sweet girl for the rest of her life. We are able to see through the disaster that she had become because of neglect. We see in her a beautiful girl who will be healthy and will have someone to love very soon. In a matter of a day, this is the the change that was made just to her appearance alone. Imagine what a week, two weeks, a month will bring.

Minnie is a 16 week old puppy that underwent what is called recto-vaginal reconstructive surgery so that a separation could be made between her vagina and rectum as well as the construction of an anus. She had no anus and her rectum was connected to her vagina and that’s how she was passing feces. She had her surgery and we are happy to report she is doing wonderfully! Minnie’s pre-op and surgery was $3,000 – without this surgery she would not have survived much longer – we had to act quickly. We are happy to report she is doing wonderfully! She was adopted by a loving family where she will live a long and healthy life.


He arrived to us as a puppy with a seveLucky Before & Afterre case of Demodex (a form of non-contagious mange) that was left untreated. All he needed was treatment and some time to recover. His coat is now a beautiful one as you can see in his picture. It’s hard to believe this is the same dog. Over time the changes have been stunning. He was taken in by this amazing family when he needed them the most and he never left. A little TLC and a chance changed his life.


roxy and rex 2TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE
One of the stories that captured our hearts in 2014 was one about two dogs that were tied up to one of our fences at Pets Alive Westchester. They were left with a note telling us their names were Roxy & Rex and that they were 3 year old siblings. They stole our hearts instantly and quickly became favorite dogs for both volunteers and staff. Roxy & Rex were two huge American Bulldog mixes that got so much attention. Rex loved getting all the attention having his back scratched and belly rubbed while he would grunt and make talking noises for more. Roxy was a sweetheart that was always close-by her brother’s side. We knew that Rex felt a protective spirt toward his sister and they had to be adopted together. They were a bonded pair that we would not separate. This made it harder to adopt them as many people are not looking for two huge dogs. But their time did come and a wonderful couple eventually adopted them and has been giving them a life they could have only dreamed of. Roxy’s and Rex’s mom and dad even bought a new home so that they could adopt them. They had been looking at homes, but pushed it even faster so they could adopt them both as soon as they laid eyes on them. Its heartwarming things that happenroxy and rex like this that give us the incentive to always remember why we do what we do. Why we make sacrifices in our own lives. Why we go the extra mile. So that pets like Roxy and Rex have a chance at a better life.


One word has stuck with us through this year and that word is RESILIANCE. We found out something that we had always suspected to be true of us – that we could get through anything together. We certainly had our fair share of “storms” this past year that may have left us a little battered, but not broken.  What we found was that although these challenges were not easy to get through, we could get through them together. What we do at PAW is not a 9-5 job. We come in early. We leave late. We work from home. When we aren’t working you can bet we are thinking about an animal. What one person may call a job we call a lifestyle that can bring great joy as well as heartbreak. There are a certain breed of people that can do this day in and day out – it’s those that do feel the emotional aspects of our business that do it well. Those that are closed off in order to protect their own hearts need to know it’s time to leave animal welfare. Closing your heart is not the answer to help these poor souls that need us the most. Peoples hearts need to be kept open and available to give and receive the goodness that comes from saving these precious lives.  People often say to us, “I don’t know how you do it”. They don’t realize that we cry too at times. That our hearts break as well. We are not shut off from the pain and the suffering we’ve seen. Just the opposite. We understand the pain and suffering that happens is all too real and we want to fix them all. Take care of them all. Save them all.

January 1st 2014 didn’t start off as we had planned. We started the year off with our heat breaking during the coldest winter in our history. With the Polar Vortex looming around NY with beyond freezing temperatures, the heat suddenly stopped working. As it turned out, the oil lines throughout the building were not supporting the furnaces and we needed new lines installed. We all took turns staying overnight for weeks to prime the furnaces and make sure the heat stayed on 24 hours a day until it was fixed. Once it was in working order again, we were incredibly relieved (and exhausted).

constructionsWhile we were getting our heat fixed, we were also under construction. A new roof, insulation and renovated kennels were all happening at once. Being down two of our four kennels we had to be careful on how many new dogs we took in as we had limited space to put them. We are always rescuing animals in need and not being able to do as much as we were used to was very difficult.

By the beginning of March the kennels were ready and the roof was complete. The dogs had moved into the new, spacious kennels with stainless steel fencing that would see us though many years to come.

Marisol & Rob Thomas’ foundation, Sidewalk Angels, funded these projects and without them, we would never have been able to do all of this. We will be forever grateful for all they do for the Pets Alive organization. Their love of animals and those in need is inspiring.

Seeing the dogs in their new runs was by far one of the happiest days of our lives. We waited so long for this day to come that it almost seemed like it wouldn’t actually arrive. We had been making so many great improvements to Pets Alive Westchester and we were feeling on top of the world when the dogs moved into the new kennels. One of the staff members said to me the day they moved, “Now we can go back to normal and rescue more dogs”. This was always on the forefront of everyone’s minds. When we could do more rescuing. Being able to do this full throttle again was such a relief.

new kennels1

I know it might sound silly, but I swear the dogs were smiling as we walked by them in their new dog runs. Maybe they were smiling because we were so happy twiggyand they picked up on our energy and were just living off of those good vibes, but either way we were ALL smiling – including our dogs! For that moment and for days ahead there was an unstoppable feeling of new hope that generated throughout Pets Alive Westchester, the staff and the volunteers. We were better than ever and we were all living off of the natural high of rescuing animals in need, having our dogs in wonderful new kennels and having hope for better days ahead. The love we had for our “home away from home” shined through everyone and it seemed to be a contagious feeling to anyone who walked through our doors.

We felt unstoppable and had many great ideas and plans that we were moving forward with day by day and week by week. A new medical exam room that was donated was about to be put in the quarantine section of our kennels for our dogs. A new cat intake room was just created with brand new donated cages that would prevent disease from spreading and keep our cats in a spacious and clean environment while they were in there. We were developing a new adoption area, creating new spaces for our cats and bunnies as well as a store for new adopters to purchase items from. The new ideas of how to improve and what to do next were unlimited and we were doing them all. The needs had been so great for so long, and the time had come to make the necessary changes. We just kept chipping away at the next project and kept on going with what seemed to be an unlimited amount of energy, creativity and projects. The hard work and dedication from the PAW staff has been so impressive. The staff inspires each other, motivates each other and instills a sense of pride in all that they do. Pride for making PAW what it should. No matter what the task at hand has been, no matter how large of an obstacle that seemed to be in our way, we found a way to make it happen.

We were at the top of our game.


And our hearts broke.

1888538_620140018056157_2058908690_nThroughout all that we had been through we never for a moment would think that we would ever have to leave our building and find homes and other resources for our animals. But it happened.

It still has an impact on me to even write about this. It was by far one of the most difficult times in our lives. Remember, this IS our life. The animals are one of the biggest and most important parts of our lives.

That day, evacuating our animals out of the building tore our hearts apart. Where there was once hope, pride and joy was replaced with extreme sadness, concern and devastation. There was not one set of eyes for me to look into that didn’t look hollow or weren’t bloodshot from the tears. The words that couldn’t be spoken because there were just no words to express the deep sadness and disbelief was deafening. It all seemed so surreal that day for all of us and to this day we are still recovering from this on many fronts, both emotionally as well as financially. Read more about this in the blog we wrote called Our Greatest Challenge.

You can also see us evacuating our building in this article and video news clip.

Thankfully our animals are back in our building and we have been in full swing of saving lives and adopting them into wonderfulevac homes since July.

During that time, despite having no building, we were still able to save 100 animals and adopt them into loving homes. With or without a building, we never gave up and we never stopped rescuing.

To improve the lives of companion animals everywhere by any means possible, including rescue, adoption, advocacy, collaboration, intervention and education. This is our mission statement that we stand by and live by. This is who we are and this is what we do.


Since coming back to our building our dogs have been loving the improved dog kennels. The lives that are being saved are more than ever before in our history and we are back in full throttle saving lives, rehabilitating and making a difference for the animals in our care.

We could not have gotten through all we did without you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

2015 is going to be an exciting year with some great things to come. We have repairs that will need to be done to our building and two kennels that still need to be renovated. There is still so much that has to be done in order for our pets to have the best home until they find a real home. Stay tuned and continue to support these wonderful animals. They need you.

Donate now to help us to continue our mission, to save more lives, give medical care when needed, feed and care for animals. You are all they have.

Filed in Animal Rescue, No-kill, Updates, Why we do this by Erin Guilshan on Dec 31, 2014.  There are 1 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.  

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

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Slideshow generated with Smilebox


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.  

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 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 Sibley on Mar 14, 2014.  There are 0 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.  

Kerry Clair, Pets Alive executive director, & board president, retires

34064_414715539733_416463_nSo this is my swan song.

Today, I have officially resigned from Pets Alive.
I will be here for the next few weeks or a few months, to train a replacement and work for a smooth transition.

I love this organization and all we have done with it in the six years I’ve been at the helm.
It’s been a rush of emotions, trials, tribulations, successes, and failures but I know that I leave Pets Alvie in capable hands – hands that will continue the great work we’ve been doing for so many years.

Thank you all for all these great years.
As you can imagine this is a very stressful job and it takes it toll…and I am looking very forward to retirement.

I’ve been blessed to work with an amazing organization and an amazing group of people!
Thank you all for the wonderful support!
I go into my retirement knowing that we did great things here and have saved thousands upon thousands of lives…but not only that, we were able to teach other groups to do the same.

Kerry Clair

Filed in Updates by kerry on Aug 10, 2013.  There are 12 comments.  

Jen’s Latest Update – Pets Alive Westchester

End of Year Update
It’s so hard to believe that the year is coming to an end. We have seen our ups and downs, some really great moments and some rough times. Through it all YOU have all continued to stand by our side. YOU have supported our mission, YOU have loved all of our animals, YOU have allowed us to rescue more animals than ever!

When we were asked to assist a no-kill rescue in Arkansas when they were closing their doors, we did not hesitate to commit to each and every dog. When we found out that 30 of the 132 dogs located there had tested positive for heartworm, we still held to our commitment and treated each one at our Elmsford facility with a 100% success rate. We could not have saved them all without YOU!

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Updates by kerry on Jan 07, 2013.  There are 3 comments.  

Pets Alive – Hurricane Sandy Update

Thank you all for your calls of concern and postings on our Facebook and Twitter sites.
All of our locations made it through the storm ok, with only minimal damage. There was some power loss, but that was restored within 36 hours. We were so very fortunate and we are counting our blessings as we watch so much devastation across the region.

To prepare for the storm, we moved all our animals inside (dogs, horses, pigs, feral cats), barracaded at-risk windows, moved the horses to a safe indoor barn (thank you Silent Farm) and battened down our hatches.

We thank our staff – with all our hearts – for staying overnight on location, for getting to work, for showing how much you all care about our animals.

But just because we were not seriously impacted does not mean that we can rest easy. Animals all over the East Coast are in trouble and in need. (Thank you to all the rescue workers who are ALSO helping animals!)

Since Hurricane Sandy, animals have only flowed to New York City Animal Care & Control (AC&C) in one direction: in. Their Staten Island shelter was evacuated and the animals transferred to the already full Brooklyn and Manhattan locations. With many staff unable to make it to work, they closed to the public for several days, and their computer and phone systems remain down. Still animals continued to come in. Their Field Services department brought in a steady stream of animals rescued from bad situations in the storm and animals coming in from people who had no place to take them and nowhere to go.

AC&C had suspended their daily euthanasia during the crisis but once their computer systems come back the nightly euthanasia list will be reinstated and the two remaining shelters are full to bursting. AC&C staff reached out to us today on their personal cell phones to ask us if we could take in as many animals as possible.

This is a difficult time for us. Donations are down and we are preparing for the winter, when heating our large Westchester facility can cost as much as $10,000 per month and utility costs at our Middletown location as much as $6,500 a month. This is a scary time to be taking on MORE for either of our locations. But we simply cannot turn down a request for assistance in times so desperate and extraordinary.

Today we will take in approximately 30-40 cats and kittens from AC&C including two pregnant moms, and we are exploring the possibility of taking more animals in the days to come. We need your help. We need kitten food and baby food (pureed meats without onion or garlic), but most of all we need your donations – we are sure to have many medical needs and necessary treatments, and we will need additional staff hours to care for the youngest and most vulnerable kittens. We want to help, and we want to expand our help – but we need you. Please consider joining us and helping us pull as many as we can to safety.

Times are desperate and we all need to lean on each other right now.
We hope that all of you are ok, and if there is anything we can do to help YOU or YOUR animals – please reach out to us!

Additionally, we have TWO generators at Pets Alive that we do not need since our power has been restored. If you know of ANY rescue or shelter that is still without power, please let us know and we will do our best to get a generator to them, to borrow until their power comes back up.

Thank you all for your support.

ANYTHING you can donate at this time would be helpful to us and to so many animals in need.

Pets Alive
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 Animal Rescue, Updates by kerry on Nov 02, 2012.  There are 0 comments.  

Jen’s Latest Update – Pets Alive Westchester

Sanctuary Animal Updates

Wow has it really been over four months since my last update? There has been so much excitement and success at Pets Alive Westchester in that time! We’ve collaborated on two mass rescues saving hundreds of animals. First there was the Itty Bitty Kitty Rescue where Pets Alive saved 108 cats and kittens (rescued from death at the NYCACC), in just two weeks! Next we were contacted by the ASPCA to assist in a shelter rescue they were working on in Baton Rouge, LA. The county shelter was overflowing and facing euthanasia of hundreds of dogs. Pets Alive did not hesitate and committed to 80 puppies and young dogs. In just a few weeks nearly all of those sweet pups were in loving homes, when the ASPCA called again we immediately said yes to 89 more! Because of all of you, and your amazing support, we have been incredibly successful in placing nearly ALL of these mass rescue animals – and still placing many of our legacy animals in forever homes as well!

Intakes and Adoptions:

In May, our total intakes were 128 animals (dogs, cats and rabbits) and total adoptions were 73. In June our total intakes were 56 and total adoptions were 73. In July our total intakes were 53 and total adoptions were 78. In August our total intakes were 150 and adoptions were at 118. In September our total intakes were 49 and adoptions numbered 116! That’s a total of 458 lives saved in five months! That alone is cause for celebration – we are so proud of our staff, volunteers, and all of our supporters for being a part of such an amazing achievement. Thank you! Thank you for sharing our tweets and Facebook posts. Thank you for spending your days off onsite at the adoption center walking and socializing all of our amazing animals. Thank you for believing in us in every endeavor, in every rescue, in every precious life we save. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Updates by kerry on Oct 03, 2012.  There are 2 comments.