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2013-05-01 / Columnists

Pets pets pets

Grants can transfuse lifeblood into animal rescue efforts and, at times, intertwine groups. On that note, Last Hope Animal Rescue, Inc. in Wantagh would like to send a double “thank you” to the Petco Foundation.

First, for the wonderful $12,000 grant the Petco Foundation gave Last Hope to transport desperate dogs (mainly hounds that would be euthanized) from our rescue partners at Daviess County Animal Control in Owensboro, Kentucky; and then, for the generous $15,000 grant they just awarded our rescue partners at Summers County Humane Society (also known as ACWP) in Hinton, West Virginia to help purchase a new transport van (Mutt Mobile) which will move dogs to the North East, but also will assist in spay/neutering locally owned dogs and cats in Summers County.

Humane groups across the country are parallel universes; yet, contrary to geometry class, these parallel worlds can intersect. Last Hope’s connection to needy shelters in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia, where their discarded dogs don’t stand a chance but are quickly adopted here, may be long distance; but our missions to rescue innocent dogs and cats are mutual. Generous grants, like these two from the Petco Foundation, strengthen the ties between remote rescue collaborations.

Bryce would like to thank the Petco Foundation for helping his West Virginia rescue purchase a new transport van. Bryce would like to thank the Petco Foundation for helping his West Virginia rescue purchase a new transport van. For instance, Last Hope is already a Charitable Partner of the Petco Foundation because we keep cats at satellite adoption centers within the Syosset and Wantagh Petco; while ACWP is in a WV county without a Petco retail store, which ACWP feared would make them less eligible for a grant. However, many Last Hope transport dogs, including those from ACWP, are showcased at weekend adoption events at our satellite cat adoption center in the Wantagh Petco which is near the Last Hope Adoption Center.

Daviess County Animal Control (KY) - The Petco Foundation grant will help Last Hope with transport and veterinary costs of adoptable Kentucky dogs. In rural states, Beagles and other hounds are routinely abandoned, starved or even shot when not deemed worthwhile hunting dogs. Daviess County’s shelter currently has a staff of five, including some prison inmates, handling more than 5,000 animals a year. With the help of shelters like Last Hope on Long Island, Daviess has dramatically been able to improve adoptions and lower the number of animals put to sleep. In 2008, 90 percent of the dogs and cats at this Kentucky shelter were euthanized. Now the figure is much lower, less than 10 percent.

“In 2009, Daviess County approached us about saving a Coonhound named Valentine they had nursed back to health,” said Linda Stuurman, president of Last Hope Animal Rescue. “This was the beginning of our commitment to take several Daviess dogs a month. In 2011, we rescued 40 dogs from this shelter, and 65 more in 2012. Our Petco Foundation grant will enable Last Hope to rescue more Kentucky dogs and also restore their health before finding them loving homes. We can continue to make a difference for dogs at home, plus dogs from faraway.”

Daviess tries to get medical procedures like spay/ neutering and even heartworm treatment done before putting the dogs on the transport but their funds and staff are minimal. After a recent Beagle batch arrived, “Aaron” was rushed to the emergency hospital for a near-fatal parasite infestation and “Dustin” needed a damaged eye removed. Many females, like a current favorite named “Amelia,” have had multiple litters. After a spay on LI, her breeding machine days are over. If all goes well, Amelia will be going to a loving home. reliable van is essential for the lifesaving work they do. Unlike Daviess and most sending Appalachian-area facilities, ACWP does not have a municipal shelter, just an animal control officer who must euthanize right away so ACWP fosters as many pets as they can. ACWP only has several foster homes, including a girls’ boarding school, spread far apart, so Beth Vuolo, ACWP executive director, and four other drivers share the shuffling plus the NE transporting. The vet clinics are 25 to 50 miles away, and plenty of unseasoned passenger pets get carsick. The current van has over 200,000 miles and a cracked manifold since ACWP averages 5,000 miles a month.

Last year, ACWP transported over 300 vetted and behaviorally assessed dogs to NE rescues (more than 2,000 since 2001). Trust me; Beth is very meticulous and thorough. These pups, such as our “Bryce,” a Border Collie mix who is now a companion to a disabled LI veteran, are truly treasures.

In addition, Beth does outreach throughout Summers County. In 2012, their undependable Mutt Mobile facilitated the spay/neuter of over 250 cats and 350 dogs belonging to WV residents because ACWP provided pick-up and delivery. ACWP also offered a spay voucher without transportation but since only one-third of these certificates were redeemed, the plan is to start driving voucher clients’ pets too. Education is essential. Beth reasoned with a woman who thought she had to wait for a cat to be pregnant before spaying her. In the long term, improving quality of life and curtailing unwanted litters will reduce the number of pets abused, abandoned and neglected. Beth’s husband is originally from Lindenhurst, proving parallel rescue universes really are small, sometimes intersecting, worlds.

The Petco Foundation has served as a voice for companion animals across the country since 1999.

Today, with more than 8,000 local animal-welfare partners across the country, the foundation donates approximately $15 million a year to make a difference in the lives of millions of animals. The organization is funded through donations raised during fundraisers conducted in Petco’s more than 1,200 stores across the country, as well as from Petco associates, vendors and corporate contributions. In 2012, the Petco Foundation surpassed $100 million in funds raised for companion animals since the organization was created. To learn more, visit

Closer to home, at Babylon Town Shelter (631- 643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon, “Wanda” #13-233, a Shepherd/Rottie stray, was terrified by the barking in the kennel but relaxed as soon as she was taken into the yard and realized the staff and volunteers were her friends. “Jake” #13-148, the office Pit crew, is Mr. Perfecto. His microchip reveals he is six years young.

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