SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Petco Foundation, in partnership with Halo, Purely for Pets, announced the winners of its third annual "Holiday Wishes" campaign which helps dedicated animal welfare organizations succeed in their mission to save pets' lives. This year marked the first time the campaign was open to the public and pet adopters were invited to nominate the animal welfare organization where they adopted their pet by submitting their personal adoption story online at petco.com/holidaywishes.
More than 3,000 stories were submitted and the Petco Foundation increased this year's total grant amount to $750,000 to award 53 winning stories, up from $500,000 in 2014. The animal welfare organizations referenced in the stories as the adopting organizations will receive grants ranging from $5,000 - $100,000 to celebrate their lifesaving work. Halo, Purely for Pets and partner Freekibble.com will also provide each of the top five winning shelters with 10,000 bowls of Halo natural pet food, and $500 worth of food for the adopters who nominated the organization. In addition, adopters whose stories were awarded the $25,000 grants will receive $250 worth of Halo food.
"This year's Holiday Wishes campaign celebrates the love between pets and their adopters. The stories perfectly illustrate how love can truly make a difference, not only in the life of a pet, but in the lives of their adopters as well," said Susanne Kogut, Executive Director of the Petco Foundation. "We're thrilled to celebrate those individuals and families who open their homes and hearts to shelter pets as well as the animal welfare organizations who work tirelessly to help them find each other."
While the stories submitted range from humorous, to poetic prose and even a few lifesaving narratives, all of them celebrated how these adopted pets have changed and enriched the nominators' lives.
"Halo is proud to partner with the Petco Foundation and support the incredible work they do helping shelters and rescues make a difference in their communities and facilitating lifelong relationships between people and pets," said Halo CEO Steve Marton.
Following are a few of the winning "Holiday Wishes" campaign submissions:
Brindy: Disability and Community Service Dog
Linda Hibbard's story titled, "Brindy: Disability and Community Service Dog," was selected as the top story and earned the Nevada Humane Society in Reno, Nevada the grand prize of $100,000. When Linda was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she researched getting a service dog to support her but was told the wait would be about two to four years. She decided to take matters into her own hands, finding Brindy at the Nevada Humane Society and training her to become a service dog. Brindy is Linda's constant companion and has truly enhanced her everyday life by helping her continue her daily activities. Since her adoption Brindy has also become a member of Dog Scouts of America and regularly partakes in community service activities including being a Christmas bell ringer for the Salvation Army, helping collect money from passersby.
Blessed by Buzz
In "Blessed by Buzz," nominator Carolyn Honish explains how she adopted Buzz at the Central Texas Dachshund Rescue in Austin, Texas. Carolyn is a deaf education teacher and began bringing Buzz to the classroom as he is also deaf. Since joining Carolyn in her classroom, Buzz has become a pet therapy dog who can respond to 50 words or phrases in sign language. Most importantly he has touched the lives of countless students by assisting them during class and being a great companion. Carolyn's story helped the Central Texas Dachshund Rescue win a $25,000 grant.
We Got Married Because of a Rescue-Cat
New Yorker Astrid Hanenkamp shared how a cat played matchmaker in "We Got Married Because of a Rescue-Cat," earning the Anjellicle Cats Rescue a $10,000 grant. Astrid was a volunteer at the rescue organization and during an adoption event she noticed Shaun getting close to Bennie, one of the strays rescued by the shelter. Shaun went on to adopt Bennie and Astrid stayed in touch with him. They eventually started dating and got married this past September!
Supporters can see a full list of winning organizations at petco.com/holidaywishes and can read the winning adoption stories in the coming weeks by following along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the campaign hashtag, #HolidayWishes2015.
The 53 "Holiday Wishes" grant recipients include:
Grand Prize $100,000 Winner:
- Nevada Humane Society – Reno, Nevada
Second Place $50,000 Winners:
- Gateway Pet Guardians – St, Louis, Missouri
- Jasper Animal Rescue Mission – Bluffton, South Carolina
- Last Chance Animal Sanctuary – Sarasota, Florida
- Northwoods Humane Society – Wyoming, Minnesota
Third Place $25,000 Winners:
- Central Texas Dachshund Rescue – Austin, Texas
- Cleveland Animal Protective League – Cleveland, Ohio
- Fresno Bully Rescue – Fresno, California
- Jacksonville Humane Society – Jacksonville, Florida
- Mid Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue – Mt. Airy, Maryland
- Pound Pets Inc. – Granite City, Illinois
- Stray Hearts Animal Shelter – Taos, New Mexico
- Toledo's PETbull Project – Toledo, Ohio
Fourth Place $10,000 Winners:
- Adore-A-Bull – Cincinnati, Ohio
- Angels Among Us Pet Rescue – Alpharetta, Georgia
- Anjellicle Cats Rescue – New York, New York
- Max's Pet Connection – Umatilla, Florida
- Parma Animal Shelter – Parma, Ohio
- Richmond, SPCA – Richmond, Virginia
- Spotty Dog Rescue – Waterbury, Connecticut
- Tony La Russa Animal Rescue Foundation ARF – Walnut Creek, California
- Wee Companions Small Animal Adoption – San Diego, California
- Willamette Humane Society – Salem, Oregon
Fifth Place $5,000 Winners:
- A Forever Home Rescue Foundation – Chantilly, Virginia
- All Herding Breed Dog Rescue of Illinois – Joliet, Illinois
- Bunny World Foundation – Los Angeles, California
- Arizona Beagle Rescue – Phoenix, Arizona
- Boxer Luv Rescue – Phoenix, Arizona
- CAWS – Salt Lake City, Utah
- Central Oklahoma Humane Society – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- DC Area Weimaraner Rescue – Front Royal, Virginia
- DFW Pug Rescue – Dallas, Texas
- Dogs Deserve Better – Smithfield, Virginia
- Fetch a Cure Pen Pals – Richmond, Virginia
- Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter – Alameda, California
- Fur Babies Rescue & Referral Inc. – Valley Stream, New York
- Great Pyrenees Association of Southern California Rescue Inc. – Devore, California
- Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary – Washburn, Missouri
- Honor Animal Rescue – Bradenton, Florida
- Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association – Charleston, West Virginia
- Lapcats – Elk Grove, California
- Maryland SPCA – Baltimore, Maryland
- Mostly Muttz Rescue – Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania
- Multiple Breed Rescue – Elryia, Ohio
- Placer County SPCA – Roseville, California
- Pibbles and More Animal Rescue – Binghamton, New York
- R Mighty Mutts – New York, New York
- Red Hook Dog Rescue, Inc. – Brooklyn, New York
- Silicon Valley Pet Project – San Jose, California
- The Last Resort Rescue – Westwood, New Jersey
- Two by Two Rescue – Birmingham, Alabama
- Valiant Animal Rescue + Relief – Charleston, South Carolina
- Wild Blue Animal Rescue & Sanctuary – Colorado Springs, Colorado
About Petco Foundation
At the Petco Foundation, we believe that every animal deserves to live its best life. Since 1999, we've invested more than $135 million in lifesaving animal welfare work to make that happen. With our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners, we inspire and empower communities to make a difference by investing in adoption and medical care programs, spay/neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. Through our Think Adoption First program, we partner with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the country to increase pet adoptions. So far, we've helped more than 4.2 million pets find their new loving families, and we're just getting started. Visit petcofoundation.org to learn more about how you can get involved. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.
About Halo, Purely for Pets
For more than 25 years, Halo, Purely for Pets® has created holistic pet products of uncompromising quality. Halo believes nutrition is the single most important factor in the quality of a pet's life. When you choose Halo, we feed it forward, donating over 1.5 million meals to shelter pets annually, in partnership with Freekibble.com. Ellen DeGeneres – a long time Halo customer – became part-owner in 2008. In 2010, Halo donated 1 million meals to shelter pets for the U.S. Postal Service Adopt a Shelter Pet Stamp Program. Halo now sponsors the acclaimed PBS series "Shelter Me," the Olate Dogs Rescue Tour 2014-15, LoveAnimals.org, and many more animal rescue efforts. Halo's natural dog food, natural cat food, treats, supplements and grooming products are available at Petco, Unleashed by Petco, and other fine pet specialty and natural food stores. Learn more www.halopets.com.
SOURCE Petco Foundation