Archives for Why we do this category

Joy Sarnelli Carson – Superhero

joyken1Everyone should now be aware about some of the internal changes at Pets Alive.  Joy and Ken Carson (pictured on the right) will be leaving Pets Alive Westchester. Joy, the Executive Director and Ken, the Shelter & Facilities Manager move on to kick off Pets Alive Puerto Rico.  Jenessa Taylor, formerly the Executive Administrator and Shelter Manager here at Pets Alive Middletown is stepping up to take over the reins at PAW (Pets Alive Westchester).

Jenessa is great, and she will do wonderfully.  I know she has to be nervous right now.  Westchester is a massive facility. Two to three times the size of Pets Alive Middletown in capacity for animals and staff and budget. It’s a lot to take on and I know that Jen has to be nervous about this.  I know I would be.  :)  But at least for Jen a lot of the most difficult work there has been done. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Why we do this by kerry on Jan 04, 2012.  There are 2 comments.  

“Dear Cam….”

We recently received a letter in the mail. It was addressed to one of the dogs here.

Most of you know him.
Our Cam.

If you don’t know the story of Cam you can read my blogs about him here:

1st blog:
2nd blog:
3rd blog:

We talk about him a lot and he is really special to the staff here and to the volunteers. He has been a catalyst for many changes here and many policies and he is just an all around great guy. I love him. If he hadn’t bitten my husband, he’d be living at my house now. Sigh. Oh well. :)

Anyway, as you know Cam is definitely one of our favorites. Staff love to dress him up for …well…I was going to say for Halloween, but then, that’s not true. They dress him up for any occasion, or any non occasion and they paint his toenails, and he gets boxes in the mail specifically for him (he LOVES to play with basketballs and they will show up now and again in the mail for him). So it wasn’t really a surprise to see a letter come in addressed to him…but ah…the contents. The contents were. I was going to summarize it but I think it might be best to let you read it yourself.

jakeyDear Cam,

Woof! |
My name is Jake.
I’m a 1½ year old border collie.

You don’t know me, but you helped save my life, and I want to tell you about how you did that and send you something to say thank you.

After my forever family adopted me in April they quickly realized that I was really, really scared of like, everything. Somebody in my past did bad things to me and I was especially terrified of strangers and people I didn’t trust… but instead of running away I would try to protect myself… humans call it fear aggression, I called it self defense in a world that hurt me too many times.

One night my family was crying so hard because they had been given the option to bring me back to the shelter, where I would have been put to sleep. They loved me so much but people said that keeping me meant lots of scary risks and no guarantees. That night, one of my humans found your profile on the Pets Alive website. She started crying again when she read about you, because you were just like me and your story really touched her. Knowing that your friends at Pets Alive were able to save you and win over your trust made her believe that maybe I could be saved too. She told the rest of our family about you, and Cam, you were a glimmer of hope on the darkest night of our lives.

You made them believe in me!! I guess it’s kind of obvious what they decided to do, since you know, I am typing this… well, sort of… I’m helping.  They promised me that success was the only solution and that they were going to learn how to help me become unbroken, no matter what.

My family says that I have completely changed their lives- that I’ve taught them how to love more than they ever thought was possible… that I’ve made them stronger and taught them so many things about life and love and never giving up. It’s been a lot of hard work for all of us, and we still have lots of work left to do, but I have learned how to trust my family completely and I’ve made so many new friends. And oh my goodness I LOVE life! I’m so happy now and I let my friends pet me and hug me and play with me and I’m so full of love that sometimes I give kisses! I even let them dress me up (shhhh don’t tell anybody, but I totally love it- I hear you like dressing up too! ). And I LOVE playing with basketballs, just like you! Basketballs are THE BEST TOYS EVER! The best.

Cam, you helped save my life and now I get to experience all of these wonderful things! I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so brave and not giving up. You are one of my heroes. I’m so glad that you have such wonderful friends in your life and I hope that one day you’ll find the perfect forever home! Dogs like us are really special and have so much love to give to the people who understand us, and we have so many things to teach the world. We help make the world a better place through the lives we touch and ultimately change. You changed my life from miles and miles away without even knowing it- that’s pretty special!

You and your family at Pets Alive inspired my family to never give up on me and I hope you all have a very merry Christmas/ happy holiday. I wanted to send you some treats but I didn’t know if they’d make it over the border (I hear there’s dogs with good noses that work there), and I was gonna send you a Kong, but they’re kinda hard to mail. So instead I’m sending you a Petsmart gift card, and the next time one of your friends is at Petsmart, they can use it to buy you a Kong (or something else super fun) and some of your favourite treats as a Christmas and a thank you present from me and my family- because you totally deserve it!!

Sending you happy tail wags and kisses!
And my family sends you lots of love!
Your friend,

Filed in Featured Letters, Why we do this by kerry on Dec 27, 2010.  There are 14 comments.  

Four Heroes

So I’m here in Washington, DC at the No-Kill Conference put on by The No-Kill Advocacy group, and I’m listening and talking to mostly like-minded people. I, of course, have an overwhelming feeling of pride and feel fortunate that you all have given us the resources to be where we are at this point in time.

Oreo’s Law is a huge topic of conversation here, and we’ve learned a lot from it. “The Movement.” I didn’t realize I was part of the movement until Paul Berry used those words at Pets Alive in 2007, which seems so far in the past when I look at it now.

It’s never really been a “movement” to me. I’ve always seen it as a simple recognition of our moral responsibility toward companion animals. We have a moral obligation to each and every one, and we should not allow anything to get in the way of that. Pets Alive has been successful because that is the overriding tenet that controls everything we do.

There were four people speaking here today that really connected with me personally. Really touched me deeply and really helped me to understand that this is truly a movement in the purest sense. It’s a shift in ideas, in foundations, in manners of thinking and acting. And that’s what we’re witnessing.

We don’t have to kill adoptable animals. That is something that all of us respect, understand, and appreciate. Even the ASPCA, which has put itself out there as the kill shelter poster organization because of their words and actions, pays lip service to the idea that killing should be a last resort.

We all believe this. It is part of our core and flows logically from the stuff inside of us we call our morality. There can be no moral equivalence for death, which is a nice way of saying we don’t throw around the phrases “fate worse than death” or “better off dead.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in No-kill, Why we do this by Admnistrator on Aug 01, 2010.  There are 9 comments.  

Some Days

Ah…another Sunday.  Here I am on this glorious day, sitting at my picnic table on my back deck.  I can hear the birds chirping as I sip my fresh iced tea.  I am surrounded by five of my dogs lounging at my feet.  Tyson is actually UNDER my chair, looking up at me every so often.

I am, of course, working.

There are still fifteen things on my to-do list, and I am finishing up the first one.  Sigh.

Some days are tough.  Lately it seems we’ve had a string of some days though.  We don’t talk much about the emails we get and the tribulations we go through, but I’d like to give you a taste.  Some days are very difficult.  The emails never stop.  Story after story about dogs, cats, goats, donkeys, turtles, roosters — any animal you can think of pretty much.  They are all innocent of course, and we start every day knowing we can’t save all of them and knowing that means death for some of them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Why we do this by Admnistrator on Apr 14, 2010.  There are 3 comments.  

The power of you

Gray day today here at Pets Alive.  We’re working on something way cool (sorry…can’t tell you right now), and hopefully it will pan out.

I was going to call this brief blog The Power of Pets Alive. but it really isn’t about us —  it’s about you.  We have a certain number of spots set aside here for “lifers” — those dogs that will take a long time to be adopted.  For whatever reason, be it breed, or temperament or just the fact that they are black dogs (black dogs take the longest to get adopted).

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Why we do this by Admnistrator on Sep 18, 2009.  There are 3 comments.  

Degrees of Special

Hi everyone.  Matt here.  Yes, I am still alive.  Yes, I still work here.  Yes, I know you haven’t heard from me.  Yes, I am, as Kerry says, the other director.  I don’t tweet or twit or whatever else it’s called.  I work.  Although I have been called a twit and much worse.  Now that that’s out of the way…

More than a thousand dogs pass through our ramshackle little slice of heaven every year.  Every single one is special.  We have found that there are degrees of special.  I love every dog I meet here.  But some stand out.  Some of the dogs we meet stay with us, leaving their indelible mark on our hearts.  It is an intensely personal thing.

We pull them from other shelters.  We gently take them from their crates and get them into their temporary homes, either in the kennel or in the warm weather outside in the dog area.  We examine them carefully and lovingly.  We pet them.  We wash them.  We brush them.  We kiss them and tell them we love them and they’re safe now.  Then, when we’re just getting used to them, playing with them, noting their eccentricities and likes and dislikes and pouring out our hearts with love so they feel comfortable, happy and cared for, as they return that love with their own affection, they leave us to go to their forever homes.  Every single one leaves a mark on our hearts.  Some leave much, much more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Why we do this by Admnistrator on Aug 16, 2009.  There are 4 comments.  


precious1.jpgPrecious will be arriving at Pets Alive on the 23rd.

This is such a touching story and so many special people reached out to try to help this poor assiduous soul. I wanted to share her story with you and to introduce you to a very special rescue person named Anita.  Anita is the one writing almost all the below.  She takes very badly damaged dogs into her home and works with them before sending them on to rescue.  We have taken many dogs from her in the past.  Unlike many rescue people, Anita is still so kind and so courteous and so very compassionate.  She isn’t pushy and she doesn’t play the “guilt card”.  She never lies to you about a dog.  She is brutally honest about all their issues and what she has done to try to help them.  Many rescue people are NOT like that.  I am not beating up on rescue folk.  God knows that their hearts and souls are so damaged and so wounded that all they can often think about is how to save that next dog and if someone would just give this dog a chance…and it consumes them and it keeps them awake at night.  So I am NOT beating up on them, but most have been doing it for so many years that they become jaded and weary and willing to do anything to save the animal.  I do not sit in judgment of them. I applaud all their efforts and I grieve with them over their failures.  Yet once in a while you meet someone different.  Someone that has not become bitter and someone who can still tell you about a dog with feeling and emotion and passion and deep love and understanding.  My hat is off to this very special woman.  Anita …..thank you for what you do and for who you are.  We look very forward to meeting Precious and finding her a person to love her  and give her a chance.  Thanks for loving her and caring for her and seeing past her wounds and her damage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Why we do this by kerry on May 17, 2009.  There are 7 comments.  

Two emails

Hi everyone.  Matt here.  Hope your winter is going well.  It’s been a rough day here at Pets Alive.  Kingfish died earlier today and there’s a pallor of sadness that has cast itself across the face of Pets Alive.  I can hear the click-clacking of Kerry’s fingers on the keyboard across from me and the almost comedic yet melodious snoring of Scrumpy is floating by from somewhere off-camera.

Have I ever mentioned to all of you that we get hate mail?

Whenever I start a new business there is always someone who thinks they are doing me a favor by pointing out to me where I’m going to fail.  I’ve been tremendously successful, and they have been -well- wrong.  But that doesn’t stop them from trying.  I used to be tremendously offended by these people, but now I basically just laugh.  There is something very close here in the rescue business.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Why we do this by Admnistrator on Feb 25, 2009.  There are 14 comments.  

Remembering Aileen Hurley

Aileen HurleyAileen Hurley was a very special woman. She was an NYPD detective. She loved animals. She was smart, friendly, vibrant, fun, had a terrific husband and many wonderful friends. Aileen died in October of 2007.

We were visited several months ago by a group of Aileen’s friends. They wanted to organize a walk in honor of Aileen with the proceeds going to Pets Alive. A lot of people come in and out of our office in any given week, and they are all special. But I sensed something extra special with this group.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Tributes, Why we do this by Admnistrator on Sep 11, 2008.  There are 4 comments.  

The Meaning of Life

The headline is an eye-catcher, isn’t it? Bet I could get just about anyone to click on the headline with that promise. Today, August 14, is my birthday. Birthdays are interesting days for me — if life is a carousel, where we sit on our horses and go round and round, birthdays are the brass ring dispenser we pass by each time around. I always pause and reflect on what has happened in my life and where I think things are headed. There is no question that I have led a charmed life — but that’s another story.

Pets Alive is all about life — the lives of animals who are always innocent — and about death, ever-present in the emails and calls we get asking us to save those innocent lives. Sometimes the juxtiposition of life and death is so amazing as to drop the meaning of life into your lap, which was my birthday present today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed in Animal Rescue, Why we do this by Admnistrator on Aug 15, 2008.  There are 8 comments.