For the next month, 54 shelters and rescue groups across the country will be receiving handsome checks totaling $750,000 from the Petco Foundation, as part of their annual Holiday Wishes campaign.
The organizations receiving these nice checks were nominated by folks who adopted animals from them, and then submitted moving stories — which you can read here; bring tissues — about how these pets have wonderfully changed their lives.
The groups will each get from $5,000 to $100,000, with the exact amounts to be announced upon distribution.
And there’s more dough to come. Folks — like you! — can still vote on the first-ever Holiday Wishes campaign People’s Choice Award.
The five Holiday Wishes winners to garner the most votes will will be granted an extra bunch of money — between $5,000 and $25,000 apiece. Voting is open until Dec. 31, with the winners to be announced in January.
More than 5,000 Holiday Wishes campaign submissions came in this year — up from 3,000 in 2015.
They’re a really good bunch. Don’t miss the a lovely story about a cat’s lifelong friendship with a little boy, involving Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit.
Or the puppy adopted from Fur Babies Rescue and Referral, who goes on help a woman recover from near-death. Then we’ve got an Ohio House Rabbit Rescue bunny who cheers up her mom while she undergoes treatment for cancer.
You definitely want to read about Miracle Molly, a pit bull who was hit by a train in Baltimore. She lost a leg but gained a loving family when she was adopted by the Amtrak police officer who rescued her and his girlfriend, after being nursed back to health by BARCS, Baltimore’s city shelter.
And do not miss Sugar Mama, a dog who was rescued out of fighting. The nonprofit Pit Sisters placed Sugar Mama into their TAILS program, through which inmates train dogs — and she is now being adopted by her trainer, Jason Bertrand, the person who nominated Pit Sisters to this Petco Foundation campaign.
Sugar Mama and Bertrand are due to get out, together, on Christmas Eve. And even before then, “the Department of Corrections is giving him a special furlough so that he and Sugar Mama can attend our check presentation from Petco,” said Pit Sisters founder Jen Deane.
Really, we could go on forever (or at least 54-er) — the submissions are all that good.
“We were amazed by the wonderful stories shared by adopters during this year’s Holiday Wishes campaign. Each story perfectly illustrates how a pet’s love changes everything — ranging from a small update to one’s personal routine or a larger impact on your sense of perspective,” said Susanne Kogut, executive director of the Petco Foundation, said in a statement.
“That’s why at the Petco Foundation we’re thrilled to celebrate that love with the individuals and families who shared their experiences with us as well as the animal welfare organizations who work so hard year-round to save lives.”
The organizations are, of course, finding it thrilling, too.
“We are beyond excited,” said Jennifer Brause, executive director for BARCS, Baltimore’s city shelter. “Molly’s holiday wishes have certainly come true and we are truly honored that her story will help other animals at BARCS too.”
“We are grateful to be a recipient and hope the more people who know about TAILS, the more lives we can save,” said Deane.
And, just to repeat: There’s still a lot of bones up for grabs, to help these worthy organizations carry on their important, animal-saving work!
Voting’s for the People’s Choice Award is open until Dec. 31 — here’s where to do it.