The Petco Foundation, in partnership with Petco, reveals the 52 stories that have earned their animal welfare organizations a grant investment through the fifth annual Holiday Wishes campaign. This year, the Petco Foundation will deliver a total of $765,000 in grant awards during Holiday Wishes celebrations from now until December 20—including one $100,000 grand prize, and a series of finalist awards ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to support the tremendous lifesaving efforts carried out by these deserving organizations year-round.
Thousands of adopters from across the United States shared personal accounts of how their adopted pets changed their lives giving the animal welfare organizations they adopted from the chance to receive a Holiday Wishes grant. The adopters with the winning stories will each receive a Petco gift card of up to $1,000.
“Every year these touching Holiday Wishes stories fill our hearts with joy. Each story perfectly illustrates how a pet’s love changes everything—whether it is simply making one’s routine much more enjoyable by sharing it with a pet or a more of a life changing or lifesaving impact of a pet in one’s life,” said Susanne Kogut, executive director of the Petco Foundation. “That’s why at the Petco Foundation we’re thrilled to celebrate that love with the individuals and families who share their experiences with us as well as reward the animal welfare organizations who work so hard year-round to save lives.”
While the stories range from inspiring to humorous, and even a few lifesaving narratives, each celebrates how these adopted pets positively changed and enriched the adopters’ lives. Here are a few of the finalist “Holiday Wishes” campaign submissions:
- Adopted Dog Helps Retiree Find New Purpose: Nominator Jim Case was restless after retiring from his job as a firefighter until he adopted Grace from the Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County in Florida. “Rescue work is in my blood… [I missed] serving the people in my community,” Case said. He knew that Grace was smart, well-behaved and could be perfect for search and rescue. Now Case and Grace provide rescue services to local, state and federal law enforcement. They are ready 24 hours a day, and they couldn’t be happier or more fulfilled.
- Adventure Cat Never Stops Exploring: Kim Randolph’s story began with the adoption of Ruger, a “pistol of a kitten,” whose confidence and curiosity was exhilarating for Randolph and her 70-pound German shepherd, Zoey. Randolph began creating new ways to keep Ruger entertained, which included harness training. Ruger caught on quickly and soon joined Randolph on hikes and even kayaking trips! With Ruger, Randolph has a greater appreciation for stepping away from the stress of everyday life. Ruger’s love of adventure inspired her to “explore just a little bit more.”
- Chihuahua’s Health Struggle Uplifts a Doctor in Need of Inspiration: Julia Morley was a resident physician struggling to find inspiration when she visited Humane Animal Rescue in Pennsylvania to meet a lab mix. Instead, she fell in love with Lu-Seal, a 16-pound Chihuahua who needed to lose half of her body weight. Julia made Lu-Seal’s health her life’s mission and chronicled the journey on social media. As 10-foot struggles turned into mile-long jaunts, Lu-Seal’s followers grew and so did Morley’s confidence. Now at her goal weight of eight pounds, Lu-Seal inspires thousands of followers daily and helped Morley find the confidence and companionship she needed to overcome her hardest year of residency.
The Petco Foundation invites all animal lovers to play a role in making Holiday Wishes come true. From now until December 20, 2017, fans can read all finalist stories and vote for their favorites to win the “People’s Choice Award” at petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes. The five organizations with the most votes will receive additional funding ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to support their lifesaving work. Results of the “People’s Choice Award” will be revealed before Christmas.