Petco Foundation grants $10K to rescue group

By: Sherri Kolade | C&G Newspapers | Published December 22, 2017

 Karina Weber, 5, of Howell, feels her cat Jack-Jack’s tail during a charity check presentation Dec. 20 at the Farmington Hills Petco.

Karina Weber, 5, of Howell, feels her cat Jack-Jack’s tail during a charity check presentation Dec. 20 at the Farmington Hills Petco.

Photo by Sean Work

 Paws for Life Cat Care Coordinator Santa Burger, left, pets Lauren Weber’s cat, Jack-Jack, at the check presentation.

Paws for Life Cat Care Coordinator Santa Burger, left, pets Lauren Weber’s cat, Jack-Jack, at the check presentation.

Photo by Sean Work

FARMINGTON HILLS/TROY — Christmas may be over, but Paws for Life Rescue and Adoption in Troy is still cherishing a $10,000 gift donated to help the nonprofit animal welfare organization spread more cheer to Fido and friends.

On Dec. 20 at Petco, 29335 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills, Paws for Life representatives received the $10,000 grant from Petco officials through the Petco Foundation’s 2017 Holiday Wishes campaign. The campaign granted more than $765,000 to animal welfare organizations nationwide this holiday season, according to a press release.

Howell resident Lauren Weber, who helped initiate the monetary donation, attended the event with her roughly 10-month-old kitten, Jack-Jack — whom she adopted from Paws for Life.

Weber submitted an essay — that won out of 3,400 others — to the foundation about how Jack-Jack changed her life.

Weber wrote that her 5-year-old daughter, Karina, has a sensory processing disorder, and it can be hard for her during seasonal and holiday changes — especially when school is out, because her daily routine is interrupted. Weber said in the letter that weighted blankets, occupational therapy appointments and other calming techniques did not work.

“(They) just weren’t reaching my little lady, and I felt helpless,” Weber wrote in the letter. 

She said her daughter needs consistency and structure in her routine, and to lose that during this past summer break was a challenge.

 Weber said at the store while holding Jack-Jack — who maintained a calm and curious disposition throughout the event — that Karina was having a lot of behavioral issues and mood issues due to those changes.

That is where Jack-Jack, a Siamese mix, came in to save the day, Weber said.

“We decided to kind of shake things up and introduce a pet to the family — this is our first family pet, and he definitely brought a new dynamic to our summer,” she said.

Weber, who adopted the kitten in June, said that Jack-Jack immediately took to the family.

“We just kind of fell in love with this one,” she said of the family cat. “He was a good mix of playful and cuddly, and he fell right asleep on my lap, so that was kind of our sign.”

Weber said Karina takes care of Jack-Jack, and he cuddles and plays with her in return. 

“They just formed a very special bond,” she said.

During the event, Karina held a Garfield cat toy and played with Jack-Jack.

Petco District Leader Joseph Haddad said at the event that the Petco Foundation believes in animal rights.

“We believe that every animal deserves to live its best life,” he said, adding that since 1999, Petco has invested more than $200 million in lifesaving animal welfare work. Petco also has 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 and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives,” he said. The foundation’s Think Adoption First program, in partnership with Petco stores and animal welfare organizations across the United States, helps to increase pet adoptions. 

“So far, we’ve helped more than 5.5 million pets find their new loving families, and we’re just getting started,” he said.

Courtney Protz-Sanders, executive director and founder of Paws for Life, said after the check presentation that the donation will be beneficial to the animals they serve — and have been serving since 2007.

“We don’t have any paid staff, and we don’t receive any government support — $10,000 goes a very long way for us,” she said, adding that every penny donated goes directly to the animals in their care. “So this will allow us to save even more animals than we thought we could. … It is a great holiday gift.”

Protz-Sanders added that Paws for Life still has available for adoption Jack-Jack’s mother, Grace.

Grace has been at Paws for Life for around 10 months and has FIV, an immune deficiency disease. The cat, who is not contagious to dogs or people, would typically not pass anything to other cats unless through a very deep bite wound.

“Which is very unusual unless you have outdoor cats that are fighting over territory,” Protz-Sanders said, adding that fighting and biting would be out of character for an indoor housecat like Grace. “You’re not going to see that. ... She is friendly, nurturing — she loves kittens.” 

To read the winning essay, go to www.petcofoundation.org/love-story/playful-kitten-helps-little-girl-find-summer-love.

For more information on Grace or Paws for Life, go to www.adoptapet.com/paws-for-life-rescue.