In August 2016, PetSmart Charities celebrated Daisy, a Fox Terrier-Fox Hound mix adopted from Louis’ Legacy in Staten Island, New York, as the 7 millionth pet to be adopted through its in-store adoption program since 1994.
Now two-and-a-half years old, Daisy has acclimated well to life with the McKenzie family, including Sabrina, a nine-year-old Great Dane mix. Pet Parent Angela McKenzie said she is full of energy, just like her boys, now ages 5 and 7.
“She’s very much like one of our children now,” said Angela. “The boys love her because she loves to play ball and fetch. Each day brings a new surprise. She’s certainly keeping us on our toes!”
This July, the McKenzie family will relocate from Staten Island to Portsmouth, Virginia where Angela and her husband, Brad, have been reassigned by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Leaving a place of comfort and familiarity can be stressful and, for young families, a move can trigger anxiety surrounding a new city, home and routine for children. But a 2014 study that examined the benefits of pets for Military families found that “animal ownership was linked to a host of positive outcomes in all kids, whether they had a parent deployed or not.” In fact, “children who had formed bonds with companion animals were more confident and had stronger relationships with their families and peers.”
Angela confidently credits her family’s dogs for being the reason why she’s not worried about her kids making the transition to a new place.
“The girls offer a lot of stability for the kids. The dogs give them the support and the structure that they know and love. They can come home and know the dogs will be there no matter what.”
One of the ways Daisy adds consistency is by waking them up in the morning with hugs and kisses before they start their day. She even sneaks into Angela’s room for nighttime cuddles.
“She’s a precious little dog. We’re happy to have her as part of our family.”
Partner Spotlight: Soldier's Best Friend - YouTube
PetSmart Charities is honored to partner with Soldier's Best Friend, an Arizona-based non-profit organization that has paired veterans and service animals since 2011. With the help of PetSmart Charities Grants, Soldier's Best Friend is able to save two lives at once, with zero costs to veterans. Meet Mike & Louie and see how they have changed each others lives for the better.
Project Active Duty with PetSmart Charities and AZ Humane Society - YouTube
When Doug Locke headed for deployment in August 2015, he and his family where heartbroken at the thought of leaving behind their beloved pet Layla. They turned to the Arizona Humane Society for help. Through the Arizona Humane Society Project Active Duty program, Layla was matched with a local foster family who provided the pup with love and care during the length of Locke's deployment. The Locke family reunited with Layla in November 2016 and the emotional experience was captured in the video below. We’re so proud to partner with AHS Project Active Duty to make moments like this possible.
Heath Greenlee has always been a cat person. His family frequently adopted cats when he was a child and he carried this on throughout his adulthood. But there was one in particular that left a significant impact on his life.
In August 2013, he took in a cat named Felix, a black cat his brother often found wandering aimlessly around his neighborhood in Watauga, Texas. It seemed Felix had fallen on hard times – just like Heath.
“I was going through a very emotional time in my life,” said Greenlee. “Felix brought me such joy and was a blessing to have in the house. Instead of rescuing him, Felix rescued me! We had a very special bond.”
Going through a significant life change, Heath valued his relationship with Felix whom he confided in often and sought comfort from.
“Pets don’t judge you,” said Greenlee. “They accept you, don’t criticize and, when all else fails, pets are always there for you.”
As time passed, Heath fell in love and married Sandra, pet parent to a Scottish Corgi named Batman. The unconditional
love within the home grew exponentially and, together, Heath and Felix embarked on a new beginning.
In March 2018, Heath received a phone call from his wife that he would never forget - Felix had suddenly passed away at 5 years old. His heart broke.
“I could hardly believe my best fur friend was gone. I was completely devastated about saying goodbye.”
Weeks later following his loss, Heath found it in his heart to visit the City of Fort Worth Animal Care & Control-operated PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center at the Hulen PetSmart. He wanted to adopt a black cat in loving memory of his dear friend, Felix.
One particular cat caught Heath’s attention, as it was laying on its side looking straight at him.
“He reached out with his paws and we immediately touched fingers. He got up and start purring and rubbing up against the cage. This little guy reached out and chose me, filling the emptiness present when Felix died.”
Heath took the cat – whom he named Zeus – home to his wife and Batman where he immediately made himself at home with his family.
Adopting Zeus was a new beginning for the whole family, including Zeus. His affectionate hugs and playful demeanor have been a welcome addition to his family.
“Every pet deserves an opportunity for a good life and they want to be happy just like we do. They just want a good home and I’m so happy we could provide one for Felix and, now, Zeus. Had I not opened my heart to adopting a pet, I would have passed up the opportunity to adopt a great cat. He’s only been with us for a short time but we can’t imagine life without him.”
Zeus is the 8 millionth pet adopted through the PetSmart Charities in-store adoption program at PetSmart since 1994. PetSmart Charities would like to thank its nearly 4,000 animal welfare partners and pet parents everywhere who helped the organization reach this incredible milestone. Together, we’re helping more pets find their lifelong, loving homes.
Frederick Walker had always wanted a dog and when he was ready to take on pet parenthood, he looked to the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to find a new four-legged family member. It was there that he first met Wook, a one-year-old German Shepard-Lab mix, and it was love at first sight.
“I saw Wook and she immediately ran into my arms and I knew she was the one.”
When she joined the family, Wook quickly became a staple in the household, waiting anxiously for Frederick to greet Frederick when he returned from home each evening and growing close to his newborn son.
“She was very careful around him and was nice to see them growing up together,” said Frederick. “When he was learning to crawl, she would get down on the ground and crawl with him. Both are my babies.”
In the fall of 2017, Frederick, a member of the Marines, received orders for overseas deployment and was in desperate need of finding a good home for Wook while he was away. As the date of his departure grew near, some friends recommended Dogs on Deployment, an organization that “[gives] Military members peace of mind concerning their pets during their service commitments by providing them with the ability to find people and resources able to help them.”
“I heard great things about the organization and how they help Servicemen find a place for their pets while they’re away. They made everything very easy, expedited the whole process and found a home for Wook very quickly.”
Although he was not able to meet Dandi in person before he was deployed, Frederick put his full trust into the organization to find a safe place for his companion while he served his country.
Wook was placed in a loving home with Dandi Armstrong, a local pet parent who wanted to give back by helping Servicemen and women in need. Wook found her place in Dandi’s family within a matter of weeks, enjoying the companionship of Dandi’s two other dogs.
On April 17, Frederick was reunited with Wook at his local PetSmart store.
“When I saw her for the first time, she didn’t even hesitate and ran into my arms. That’s exactly how it was when I first met her.”
Dandi said, “Being at the reunion was the best part of the boarding experience. Seeing Wook’s reaction to her dad – a happy dog’s total contentment in being with her human again – was the rewarding part of the process.”
Over the past three years, Dogs on Deployment has been nominated by Jennifer La Plant, a PetSmart district leader in Southern California, to receive $15,000 in grants from PetSmart Charities. By supporting organizations like this one, PetSmart Charities is providing much needed assistance for pet parents in transition.
“Supporting Dogs on Deployment is how I can give back to those serving our country by providing peace of mind when they get deployed that a fellow pet lover, often a complete stranger will step in to foster their pets while serving our country,” said Jennifer. “Getting to witness first-hand the reunion of Wook and Sergeant Frederick was so special, you could see Wook’s joy having his dad back home safe. It reminded me just how powerful our mission is and the impact each of us can have every day to bring pets and pet parents closer together.”
Without organizations like Dogs on Deployment, Wook’s fate is unknown.
“I’m very thankful that there are programs like this one that help Servicemen out. I don’t know what I have done without them.”
After serving 4 years as a Corporal in the Marines, Madrid faced unforceen challenges upon his return home. His own family pet, Gunny, became so much more than a four-legged friend -- as a certified service animal, Gunny became a pillar of support for the entire family.
Soldier's Best Friend: Madrid & Gunny - YouTube
"When I was introduced to having a service animal it was a different day, it gave me a different outlook on life."
-Madrid, Marine Veteran
At PetSmart Charities, we believe in the healing power of the human-animal bond. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Soldier's Best Friend, an Arizona-based nonprofit organization that provides U.S. military veterans living with combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with Service or Therapeutic Companion Dogs, most of which are rescued from local shelters. The veteran and dog train together to build a trusting relationship that saves two lives at once and inspires countless others.
Three adopters share their stories and hope to inspire yours
Sydney always knew she wanted a four-legged friend of her very own. But, as a busy college student and athlete, she planned on waiting until after college graduation before taking on the big responsibility. As her graduation day approached, Sydney's mom, Suzi, took her on a surprise trip to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay where Sydney fell in love with Henry the minute she laid eyes on him. The a sweet chocolate lab mix was just a puppy at the time and proved to be the companion Sydney had always wanted. But, she never expected he'd become the emotional support pet she didn't know she needed. A year-and-a-half prior to Henry's adoption, Sydney's dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Though Sydney coped with this tough time with the help of family and friends, Henry came into her life and brought a new sense of purpose. Henry's unconditional love gave Sydney a new perspective on life, making it easier for her to look at the world in a more positive light.
This little guy, Cudi, was adopted at our February National Adoption Weekend. His parents said it was love at first sight. He was the perfect combination of cuddly and playful - they knew he was the one. They have always been dog lovers and they knew adoption was the right move for them. We can tell Cudi is going to be so loved in his forever home!
These two special needs kitties, Pip & Squeak, have found forever homes! At a very young age, Squeak had to have both of his eyes removed, while Pip lost one. After the surgeries, Pip quickly learned how to be Squeak's eyes for her. She helped guide her to the litter box, helped her eat, and even play. She was her protector. They have been through a lot together, and it is so special to see them staying together in their loving, forever home.
We know there are many worthy charities requesting your support daily. It’s impossible to support every cause, and we’re grateful for the donors who invest in PetSmart Charities’ mission of bringing people and pets together.
Here are a few reasons why our supporters choose PetSmart Charities:
We’re accountable to our donors
Donors trust us to use donations wisely. More than 90 cents of every $1 spent goes directly to help pets in need. For the 15th year in a row, PetSmart Charities earned 4 stars from Charity Navigator. That’s their highest ranking! What’s more, we’re in the top 1% of all charities ranked.
Our donors are passionate about our cause. Pet homelessness is a huge problem. About 6 million pets end up in U.S. shelters every year. At PetSmart Charities, we believe that there’s a solution: get pets adopted, prevent unplanned litters and reduce pet homelessness by supporting organizations that keep pets and families together.
Because we are strong believers in the human-animal bond, in 2016 we changed our mission to include bringing pets and people together. So, not only we fund local animal welfare groups that provide adoption and spay/neuter programs in communities throughout North America — we also grant funds to organizations that provide animal-assisted therapy to those in need.
They can help save pets’ lives
Because there are so many homeless pets, donors are happy to see that together, we save a lot of lives — more than 1,400 per day in the United States. Through our adoption centers and sponsored events, PetSmart Charities facilitates more than 550,000 adoptions every year. We’ve found homes for more than 7.5 million pets to date.
Our donors also tell us that they appreciate our local impact and our support for communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. PetSmart Charities provide grants that help improve communities by helping pets and the people who love them. We also support emergency relief efforts across North America, including over $4 million committed specifically to relief efforts in 2017.
We distributed more than $55 million in the U.S. and Canada in 2017 alone — which makes us the leading funder of animal welfare in North America.
We can’t do it without you
Our donors know that finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets is a team effort. It’s thanks to generous donors that we can continue to make an impact for pets in need. As little as $25 saves a life through our adoption program.
Donate online today, and spread the word about the change we’re making together in communities across North America.
Visit a PetSmart Store near you and donate at the checkout register, every $1 counts.
Adopt your new best friend from your local shelter or a PetSmart Charities Everyday Adoption Center near you.
Every year, the third Monday in January is dubbed Blue Monday — the most depressing day of the year. To beat the blues, I have a rather upbeat confession to make...a reflection on something that makes me joyously happy.
Walking my dogs is one of the most rewarding things that I do in my life.
It puts a smile on my face every time I see them get joyously happy as we get ready for our walk. While the holidays are a wonderful season to spend time with our friends and families exchanging good cheer, once the holidays are over, the sense of “back to reality” can be a bit tough.
What is Blue Monday?
After the holidays, the added stress of additional bills, a sense of loneliness now that our loved ones have gone back to their day-to-day lives and the realization that we have to get back to taking care of our bodies creeps up on us all at once. When all of the fun and excitement have come to an end and we face the realities of our everyday lives, that’s when Blue Monday kicks in.
Your Pet Can Help
It was recently published that the two greatest threats to well-being in the United States are obesity and loneliness. A study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that high BMI accounted for over 4.0 million deaths globally. The good news is that being a pet parent can help with both of these.
There is a tremendous amount of research that highlights the health benefits of being a pet parent. The benefits range from improved cardiovascular health to an overall improvement in quality of life. Dogs, in particular, are very good at giving us an incentive to get outside and walk. How can you turn down those hopeful eyes looking at you and the leash? I can’t resist those looks of hope (and the occasional bark), they get me up and outside every day.
Lean on your Four-Legged Friend
Loneliness is a serious issue in today’s society. An AARP study found that the rate of loneliness in this country is around 45 percent. Our busy and disconnected lifestyles can often leave us feeling isolated and lacking purpose. Studies on the impact of animals on our self-worth have shown that they are a wonderful antidote to loneliness. A cat cuddling on your lap, purring at the gentle stroking is a bond that makes us feel good. The wagging tail of a dog as you come home from a bad day at work makes you realize that there is love in your life.
I have met more people while out walking my dogs than any other way. How many friendships have been started by a simple “wow, your dog is really cute!”? Animals bring us together and make us feel like we belong. They unite us and help us get through tough times. They can always put a smile on our face. Who hasn’t watched cat videos and laughed out loud?
Animals have a powerful influence on us, they make the world a better place and on days like Blue Monday they can get us off the couch and outside to enjoy the sunshine and some exercise. If you aren’t a pet parent already, then I recommend you consider it. There are so many great relationships waiting for you!
Read and watch the stories that helped shape a year of life-saving work, thanks to you.
Thousands of homeless pets found forever homes. Millions of dollars granted to animal welfare organizations. Truck-loads of pet food distributed to pets in need. A look back at the biggest impact stories of 2017, none of which could have happened without your help.
Our friends at PetSmart donated more than 60 million pet meals through The Buy A Bag, Give A Meal program.