Calgary Humane Society and BPF Provide Needed Aid for Pets and their Owners during Fort McMurray Wildfire

In times of crisis, our partners consistently step up to save pets from dangerous natural disasters.  For approximately three months, the 2016 Fort McMurray fire in Alberta, Canada raged out of control, destroying more than 2000 homes and buildings and forcing an unprecedented evacuation.  Thousands of people were forced to escape, many unable to return to their homes, leaving thousands of pets in peril.  Neighboring Calgary Humane Society (CHS) made itself available to help in any way possible and used a $10,000 BISSELL Pet Foundation grant to provide emergency boarding and care for hundreds of pets until they could be reunited with their owners.

Pet owners were desperate and sad. Many evacuees could not return to their homes from work to get their family pets.  They had to hope and pray for the best that they might be reunited one day. Even the Fort McMurray SPCA had to be evacuated, leaving the nearby Alberta SPCA overwhelmed and in need of support.  Fortunately, CHS became involved, acting as much more than a shelter.

Marty Pants

Marty Pants

Marty Pants and his owner are grateful to be reunited by CHS.  Marty’s owner had been at work and attempted to return to retrieve her beloved cat, but the fires prevented her from driving into her neighborhood.  As a result, she tried to enter on foot to rescue Marty, but the police stopped her.  They attempted to escort her to her car, but it had been engulfed in smoke and was unable to be located.  Now without a home, car or cat, she was forced to go to a shelter knowing that Marty was in grave danger. Her prayers were answered as Marty later made his way to CHS where he was receiving loving care as he returned to health.  CHS kept Marty while his owner pieced her life back together to find a place for them to live.  Marty’s owner visited daily in the serenity room, giving cuddles and spending time that allowed them both to heal.



Buddy and Trigger

Many other owners and pets helped by CHS weren’t separated, but the evacuation left the pet owners unable to keep their pets with them for a short period of time.  CHS welcomed these pets into their boarding facilities with kindness and affection.  Pets like Buddy, TrIgger and Sophie were greeted with kisses and hugs and even placed with foster families, sometimes for months, while the pet owners regrouped and relocated.



In this time of unimaginable trauma, CHS provided exceptional care and comfort to both humans and pets.  They went outside of the scope of their normal work to ease the suffering of all involved.  CHS set a remarkable example and BISSELL Pet Foundation is so proud to support them.

KC Pet Project spreads the Christmas in July spirit!

When Kansas City Pet Project received $1000 from BISSELL Pet Foundation’s “Christmas in July”, they decided to make it Christmas in July for over 40 cats in need! KC Pet Project used the funds to support a ‘Pick Your Price’ promotion during their “Love is Special” cat adoption event which took place at 8 locations over several weeks. The event focused on harder-to-place cats including FIV/FeLV positive cats, special needs cats and senior cats. The event highlighted pets that had been with KC Pet Project for an extended time to show the general public that these struggling cats deserve homes just as much as healthy cats and kittens. Every day a different cat was featured on KC Pet Project’s Facebook page displaying their beautiful markings, sweet faces and describing their loving and playful personalities. These cats are irresistible and have so much love to give!

Cat-Special-flyer-web Cloudy is the face of “Love is Special”. Thirteen-year-old Cloudy was surrendered to KC Pet Project when her owner’s health prevented her continued care. Cloudy immediately started showing stress when she arrived at the shelter, which is not uncommon for older surrendered cats. The staff worked hard and spent a great deal of time over many months to boost Cloudy’s confidence and make her feel loved. She eventually became a free roamer in the adoptable cat room, although still preferring to keep mostly to herself. During “Love is Special”, KC Pet Project chose Cloudy’s picture for all the promotional materials. She was a perfect example of the type of cat that needed a special home. Soon after, a man and his son found easy-going Cloudy and immediately fell in love with her. Cloudy is now happily placed in her forever home.



The BISSELL Pet Foundation grant helped with needed medical care for the cats in the event. Some required diabetes medicine, antibiotics, spay/neuter surgery, and more to help prepare them for adoption. The funding also helped to underwrite the normal adoption fees. During the “Pick Your Price” event, most families paid a lower amount than the standard adoption fee of $50 for adult cats. The BPF grant allowed families to set aside money for other needs that their new family member might require.
KC Pet Project knows that the best place for pets is in a loving home. They do everything possible to shorten a pet’s stay in the shelter and to find homes for pets who need a little extra attention. Everyone who opens their hearts to adoption receives so much in return, but those who take on a special needs pet find that the reward can be even greater. We encourage you to seek out the dog or cat in the shelter that others might overlook. KC Pet Project showed their community how truly special those pets are and we are glad to help them make a difference.

Congratulations to our 2016 “Christmas in July” Partner Winners!

Beaver County Humane Society
Humane Society of Pulaski County
Living Free Animal Sanctuary
Missing Bella Inc.
Pets In Need of Greater Cincinnati
Rusty’s Angel Sanctuary
Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance

Is a pet your property or a sentient being with feelings?

Most pet owners don’t have too much trouble answering that question.  We love our pets and consider them family members.  In fact, a recent USA Today study revealed that almost 70% of people talk to their pets, carrying on conversations like they are people.  While we may “own” our pets, we consider ourselves caregivers, even giving our pets better care than some other family members! We comfort our pets when they are stressed from a thunderstorm, we perceive their smiles when they are happy to see us, and we know they experience the pain of arthritis in older age.  So, if pet owners are aware of this, why has it taken so long for animal sentience to become clear in the eyes of the law?

Under the law, dogs and cats aren’t much different than your kitchen table or your car—they are considered property.  However, the law doesn’t care if you cut up your table for firewood or let your car run out of gas so it can no longer run.  But does the law care about how we treat our pets?  Recently, a revolutionary court case made an important ruling in favor of pets.

In June of 2016, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled in favor of a dog named Juno, declaring that while animals can be legally considered property, they are still “sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, stress and fear.”  Juno had been lawfully seized on probably cause of criminal neglect—specifically starvation and abuse.  As part of the seizure and subsequent routine examination, Juno’s blood was drawn. However, his owner declared that the blood draw was an illegal search with no warrant.  Her legal team tried to prove that authorities would need a separate warrant to “look inside” her pet, just like you would need a warrant to look in a purse.  The Oregon Supreme Court rejected this idea, asserting that testing a legally-seized pet’s blood is like examining a child who is suspected to have been abused—both are appropriate and within the law.



This ruling has important implications for animal welfare activists in Oregon who will no longer have to go through the process of obtaining an additional, separate warrant for a veterinarian to provide care and testing to a lawfully seized pet.  And possibly more importantly, it prevents animal abusers, like Juno’s owner, from suppressing evidence of criminal neglect. In fact, Juno’s owner was convicted.

Thank you Oregon for this important ruling…but what about everywhere else?  We hope Oregon’s stance will result in a greater trend of both states and nations recognizing animal sentience. France, New Zealand and Quebec have recently changed their ideas about animals as property.  We think it’s time for the rest of the world to do the same.

Here’s Something to Bark About– BISSELL Blocktail Party Grants Set a New Record!

This year’s record-breaking attendance and fundraising at BISSELL Blocktail Party resulted in grants awarded to 19 West Michigan area animal welfare organizations.  A total of 15,110 pets will be impacted thanks to the “Best Dog-Gone Party in Town”!

Blocktail 2

BISSELL Blocktail Party 2016 grant recipients include:

  • Al-Van Humane Society: $19,875  (Emergency Veterinary Care, Adoption Preparation, Senior and Special Needs Pet Adoption and Microchipping)
  • Barry County Animal Shelter: $10,000 (Trap-Neuter-Return Program)
  • Cannonsville Critters: $2100 (Spay/Neuter)
  • Carol’s Ferals: $6000 (Spay/Neuter)
  • Crash’s Landing & Big Sid’s Sanctuary: $10,195 (Spay/Neuter, Vaccinations and Microchipping)
  • C-SNIP: $54,500 (Spay/Neuter)
  • Harbor Humane Society: $42,190 (Spay/Neuter, Microchipping and Adoption)
  • Humane Society of West Michigan: $45,000 (Adoption Support)
  • Ionia County Animal Shelter: $15,000 (Fee-Waived Cat Adoptions)
  • Kelley’s Heart-to-Heart Adoption Center: $5600 (Spay/Neuter and Microchipping)
  • Kent County Animal Shelter: $28,000 (Adoption)
  • McCloud’s Lake Haven: $14,850 (Spay/Neuter and Senior Dog Adoption)
  • Pay it Forward Outreach: $14,650 (Low-Cost Vaccines)
  • Pets In Need West Michigan: $10,000 (Dental and Veterinary Care)
  • Pound Buddies Animal Shelter & Adoption Center: $22,485 (Spay/Neuter and Microchipping)
  • Reuben’s Room Cat Rescue: $4600 (Spay/Neuter)
  • Safe Haven Humane Society: $6000 (Spay/Neuter)
  • Vicky’s Pet Connection: $20,000 (Spay/Neuter and Adoption)
  • West Michigan Spay and Neuter Clinic Inc: $23,980 (Spay/Neuter and Microchipping)

Blocktail 1

All 19 grants will help pets find forever homes by providing needed care to make them adoptable or by encouraging pet adoption. We are so grateful to our supporters for giving a second chance to thousands of homeless pets in West Michigan.  Thank you BISSELL Blocktail Party attendees, friends and donors for your part in these incredible results!

Introducing Tails and Trails Woof Walk –Grab your pup and let’s go!

Lace up your running shoes and grab your pup for the 1st BISSELL Pet Foundation Tails and Trails Woof Walk on Saturday, August 20 at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids!  BISSELL Pet Foundation is teaming up with Grand Rapids Dog Adventures and Grumpy Pups to bring you the ideal fun run/walk and you won’t want to miss it!  You can join other dog lovers to enjoy the beautiful and dog friendly John Ball Zoo trail, stick around for a beer and snacks, and support pets in shelters and rescues through BISSELL Pet Foundation.  All this and your pooch will receive a BISSELL Pet Foundation leash for participating. Everyone will be barking about this event!


This fun run/walk won’t be timed, so furry friends don’t need to train for a personal best. There will be puppy pools along the way where dogs can cool off, allowing time to stop and check out the scenery.  The post-race festivities will be just as much fun as the action on the course with treats for pups and their owners. Brewery Vivant, Yesterdog, Furniture City Creamery and Stir It Up all will be on hand for food and beverage– and thanks to these great vendors for donating a portion of their event sales to BPF.  We plan to make Tails and Trails Woof Walk an annual event, so don’t miss out on the first one!


Tickets for Tails and Trails Woof Walk are available online at now until August 19th. The cost for each dynamic duo of one runner and one dog is $30 in advance and $40 if purchased at the event. Additional dogs can join you at the cost of $10 per pet. (Good luck with that!)  Runners without dogs pay the same ticket price. Every pup will receive a BISSELL Pet Foundation leash as a commemorative gift for participating. The first 100 tickets purchased will be automatically registered to win a brand new BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser.   All funds raised will go directly to BISSELL Pet Foundation to help save more pets in shelters and rescues.

Invite your friends, both furry and human!  You won’t want to miss this pawsome event!!

Saturday, August 20, 2016
Registration begins at 5:00 PM
Event 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

John Ball Zoo
1300 West Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49504