BPF Helps National Mill Dog Give Hope to the Seemingly Hopeless

If you’ve seen a puppy mill, it’s hard to imagine a happily ever after, but  National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) of Colorado Springs has saved thousands of dogs from the horrific conditions of puppy mills, giving them a second chance at life in loving homes.   The focus of their most recent initiative is even more defined:  aiding the dogs that are suffering the most.


In order to support the efforts of NMDR to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home discarded breeding dogs, BISSELL Pet Foundation recently awarded $8,000 in grant funding to help with the specialized veterinary care required for serious untreated illnesses and injuries resulting from a lifetime of being caged and bred without any regular attention.  NMDR is giving dogs who had been forsaken an opportunity to finally feel good and be loved for the remainder of their lives.   Their rescue wasn’t the end of their story; rather it was the beginning of a longer journey to a happy ending.

For example, this grant helped Boots, a nine-year-old Bichon, with extremely serious conditions requiring emergency treatment.  Boots was rescued from a Midwest puppy mill and was found to be urinating pure blood as a result of untreated kidney stones.  No one knows how long he had endured the severe pain associated with that condition, but NMDR was able to arrange for his surgery and watched over him through his recovery.  Now with loving foster family, Boots looks forward to a new life in his forever home.


Bosky before

Other at-risk pets helped by the BPF grant are Chad and Bosky.  Chad, a six-year-old poodle, suffered from heartworm and received lengthy, expensive treatment to get back to health.  NMDR gave him needed love and care during this uncomfortable time and he is now joyful in his forever home. Bosky, a six-year-old Maltese, had limited vision and great pain from his untreated dry eyes.  Dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca, causes decreased tear production resulting in dry, itchy, crusty eyes. For a dog with loving owners, this would be treated with drops to avoid pain and scarring.  However, for a neglected dog like Bosky, surgery was required to reverse the exacerbated condition.  Thanks to NMDR’s commitment, Bosky was helped and later adopted by a loving couple in Texas.

Bosky after

Bosky after

Thank you National Mill Dog Rescue for helping these deserving dogs, and so many others, start a happy and healthy new chapter.  BPF is proud to be your partner and appreciates your dedication to the well-being of every pet!

Partnerships Make a Difference–Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance Lends a Hand

BISSELL Pet Foundation’s partner network has grown to over 2200 partners and together we are making a world of difference for pets.  We love to see our partners collaborating with other organizations, just like Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance’s “Community Help Fund”.  Recently, Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance (SSNA) received a $10,000 grant from BPF to support its Community Help Fund–a spay/neuter assistance program that partners with other nonprofits serving low- income families.  This program allows social service organizations and other animal welfare groups to direct pet owners to SSNA for free or low-cost spay neuter procedures.  This is an incredible help to pet owners who face economic challenges and are struggling to keep their pet. Dogs and cats are more likely to stay in homes if spayed/neutered and vaccinated, and of course, they won’t have unwanted litters that will further burden the owner.  In fact, some public housing and rental units require proof of spay/neuter to ensure that their housing will not be overrun with homeless pets.  This fund provides an important emotional boost for many who struggle in life.  To date, the grant has provided spay/neuter for 117 pets in the immediate area, creating a huge reduction in the future homeless pet population, as well as reducing intake and euthanasia at local animal controls.


An example of the SSNA Community Help Fund’s impact can be seen with Jasper, an unaltered, male cat.  Jasper wandered to a resident’s house a few months ago, and she fed him regularly, but noticed problems with his ears and an abscessed bite wound.  While she was able to provide food for Jasper, this resident was not able to afford veterinary care for Jasper and made the decision to take him to the local animal control in hopes that they could help.  Fortunately, the resident stopped at SSNA on the way to ask for directions—what a lucky situation for Jasper!  SSNA let the resident know that the local animal control was overwhelmed with cats and Jasper could face euthanasia.  SSNA was able to neuter Jasper with the BPF Community Help Fund and the resident was thrilled to be able to keep Jasper as a forever friend.

SSNA has also been able to provide much-needed help to neighboring Greenbrier Animal Control (GAC).  Some of you know GAC from “Save Our Shelters” where BPF Founder, Cathy Bissell, aided the facility with “Save Our Shelters” host, Rocky Kanaka.  GAC is doing its best to save lives, but it needs support.  SSNA has directed $2000 of the BPF Community Help Fund to assist GAC and so far, they have provided free spay/neuter for 31 GAC dogs and cats, expecting to serve 16 more pets in the near future.  What an amazing example of how partnerships are saving lives!  Thank you Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance for partnering to make a difference!

With a Little Help from Friends: Pet Community Center Is a Friend to Pets and Their Owners

The popular Beatles song about getting by with a little help from friends is exactly what is happening in Nashville, TN, thanks to Pet Community Center (PCC). Animal welfare is really a two-way street with people helping animals and in return, animals helping people.  Pet Community Center recently used a $7,500 grant from BISSELL Pet Foundation to provide free spay/neuter to a targeted economic population in an effort to fulfill their mission of strengthening the human-animal bond and ending pet overpopulation.  Ronald and his cats Cornell and Grey are a perfect example of their work.

This story starts with Ronald, a caring individual noticing an at-risk cat.  Ronald is a legally blind, senior citizen who had been a lifelong dog owner.  With recent deterioration of his vision and hearing, he was forced to give up dog ownership; however, he remained an animal lover.  Ronald has some peripheral vision and with it, he encountered a cat eating from a dumpster near his apartment.  He told that cat, “It would be in your best interest if you came to live with me. I’ll leave my door open and you come inside if you’d like to stay.”  Sure enough, the female cat, later named Cornell, came inside Ronald’s apartment and never left.

Cornell and Ronald became close companions, with Cornell giving Ronald much-appreciated friendship in return for the room and board. Soon, Ronald noticed that she was spending a great deal of time in his closet. He didn’t realize that Cornell had given birth to three kittens until several weeks later when he saw the shadow of a kitten in his peripheral vision. Ronald’s friend helped him contact Pet Community Center for assistance.
With help from the targeted spay/neuter program made possible by BPF, Ronald was able to get Cornell and three female kittens spayed for free. A PCC volunteer even provided transportation to the clinic. Ronald was relieved not to worry about future litters and was happy to have all of his cats vaccinated as well. PCC also connected Ronald with a local rescue that helped him find homes for two of the kittens, but he kept one kitten, Grey, to be a buddy for Cornell. The companionship of these cats is very important to Ronald and it’s clear that the feeling is mutualRonald-and-GreyBy targeting programs to the most at-risk pets, Pet Community Center successfully reduced pet homelessness in Nashville by 40% since starting their programs in 2011. They are well on our way to making Nashville a city that can save all healthy and treatable shelter pets and are planning to reach areas outside of Nashville in the future.

All it takes is a little help from friends to take in a homeless pet, to get help for a pet owner in need and to receive a lifetime of love and affection in return from a pet.  BPF is glad to have Pet Community Center as a partner and friend.

Designer Puppy Stores? Make Sure Your Community Says No!

Puppies.  Who can resist them?  If you didn’t know better, imagine how easily you could be fooled into thinking the adorable, little fur balls in that high-end, neighborhood store really were from a responsible breeder.  They look so cute and perfect, and they are extremely expensive, so they must be okay, right? Wrong.  Puppy stores are profit centers that purchase puppies from commercial breeding facilities operating purely for financial gain.  These facilities have created demand for “designer” dogs, mixing breeds to get an end result that is “desirable” to the human population, without concern for breeding standards, genetic problems, humane treatment or the fact that there are already more dogs in rescues and shelters than homes to take them.  Commercial breeders are in it for profit, not for the health and safety of the pet, and designer puppy stores are their pipeline to consumers.

Recently, we were shocked when such a store, The Barking Boutique, tried to open in BPF’s own backyard.  West Michigan is well-versed in animal welfare with dozens of rescues and shelters doing the life-saving work on the front lines every day.  In fact, the store had recently been turned away from another West Michigan community before getting a lease in Grand Rapids.  In a matter of days, thousands of community members took action against the store’s presence by signing an online petition and complaining on the mall’s Facebook page. While we were not involved in organizing the community effort against The Barking Boutique, we are pleased that Woodland Mall listened to the Grand Rapids community and canceled the store’s lease after only four days in business.


So the store would close, but what about the puppies?   BISSELL Pet Foundation was made aware that the puppies that weren’t sold would be shipped out of state. BPF’s founder, Cathy Bissell, had serious concern for the puppies who had already suffered the plight of being born in a commercial breeding facility and shipped across the country to Michigan from places as far as Oklahoma at only a few weeks of age.  Therefore, BISSELL Pet Foundation arranged for the undercover purchase of six of the puppies.

No questions were asked at the time of purchase about the customers’ homes, experience with pets or other questions that a responsible breeder or shelter would ask. With each sale of a puppy, the store owner presented a “pet adoption certificate’; don’t be confused, purchasing at a puppy store is not adoption.  Pet adoption is the process of taking guardianship and responsibility for a pet that a previous owner abandoned or released to a shelter or rescue. .  And be warned that a high price tag does not mean a healthy dog. All six of these puppies were underweight and have health issues.  They are currently being fostered by experienced pet owners while veterinarians continue to evaluate their health.  The puppies will be available for adoption through a local rescue organization once they have veterinary clearance.


BISSELL Pet Foundation hopes you will choose adoption first when adding a pet to your family and we urge families not to buy from a pet store unless they are selling pets from shelters and rescues.  Please don’t let your community allow the perpetuation of a bad business practice that allows people to profit while pets suffer.

A TILT page has been started to raise funds for the puppies’ medical bills. Please consider making a donation to BISSELL Pet Foundation.

BISSELL Pet Foundation TILT Page

See Something, Do Something: More States Make Laws to Save Dogs from Hot Cars

Summer is here—it’s a great time to take your dog to a pet-friendly beach or on your family vacation, but as pets hit the road, they are sometimes left in hot cars leading to suffering and even death. We have all faced the temptation to do a quick errand with our pet in the car thinking it will “just be a minute”.  But the truth is, that minute can quickly lead to ten if the checkout line is long or you run into your old next-door neighbor—but ten minutes might be all it takes, and depending on your state, it may be illegal to leave your dog at all.

This summer, Wisconsin joins a growing list of states where good Samaritans can rescue a pet from a car without facing civil liability.  “Hot car” laws already are in effect in Tennessee and Florida, will take effect in Ohio in August, and are under consideration in California, New York and Massachusetts.

So, what does that mean for you when you see a dog trapped in a parked car on a sizzling summer day?  In the states with “hot car” laws, concerned bystanders are allowed to break a window open to free the pet only if you have good reason to believe the pet is in danger; you have checked that the car is locked and there are no other means of entry; you call 911 or local law enforcement to let them know what you are about to do; and finally, you have to wait for the police or owner to arrive before leaving the scene.

Dog in Car

Although the list is growing, most of us don’t live in a state with “hot car” laws, so then what?  If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. Have the owner paged in the nearest buildings, or call local humane authorities or police. Have someone keep an eye on the dog and don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved.

Every year dogs, and cats, suffer brain damage or even die from heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes.  On a pleasant, 78-degree summer day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 100-120 degrees in just minutes.  On hotter days, the temperatures in cars soar even more quickly.  Recent studies show that cracking the windows makes little difference.

In addition to the “hot car” laws, approximately 20 states have passed laws making it illegal to leave a pet unattended in a car when conditions make it likely for physical injury or death to occur.  This is serious business and our nation’s lawmakers are responding with appropriate measures.  We can also take this issue seriously by leaving our pets at home, even if they think they want to come with us, and by looking out for pets in dangerous situations.  Let’s make it a safe summer for pets!