Local rescues need support during the holiday season, throughout the year

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 14, 2012

ROSEVILLE — Local animal rescues save the lives of hundreds of unwanted and discarded pets each year, but for many the costs of caring for these animals far outweighs the revenue that’s brought in from adoptions.

The Roseville branch of Petco is stepping up to help them, though, with adoption events, fundraisers and more this month.  

Steve Grawn, the store manager, said they support local rescues because local rescues support animals in need, and at their store, animals are top priority.

“The animals come first at Petco,” said Grawn, a St. Clair Shores resident. “We don’t sell dogs or cats for just that reason. There are too many homeless dogs and cats around, and we like to find good homes for them through adopting them out, rather than having people just come to the store and buying puppies or kitties, so we have the rescues in to do adoption events”

Every weekend, they host different rescues, giving them a chance to get the word out about what they are doing and display the dogs and cats they have available for adoption.

Melanie Wittner, the founder of A Hopeful Heart Animal Rescue in Roseville, has adoption events at the store every Saturday. During the events, she passes out information and talks to customers about adoption and fostering opportunities.

“They provide us with so much,” Wittner said. “We average about five or six adoptions a week, and a big part of that is because of Petco.”

“They offer coupon books and supplies to people when they adopt from a local shelter through the store, and they have fundraisers to support us,” she said, mentioning two fundraisers happening in December. “Pet photos with Santa and the Tree of Hope fundraisers are going on right now.”

Photos with the big man in red are $8.95 and the fundraiser benefits the Petco Foundation, which divvies up proceeds and disburses them among local animal rescues across the country. The Roseville location offers pet photos with Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekend up to Dec. 22.

“You can donate any amount in the Tree of Hope Fundraiser, but for $10, they give you a 2013 calendar with more than $350 worth of coupons in it,” Wittner said. “They run the fundraiser through December, and at the end, they take all the money that was made and divide it among the in-store rescues. That means I get a big part of it.”

And she said the money always helps; just last week, she took more than two dozen rescue dogs to the vet to be spayed or neutered and have their shots. This was an expense she had to pay out of pocket. If she is able to adopt the dogs out, some of it will be recovered, but for the most part, most rescue animals cost more to operate than they bring in through adoption fees. So they are always in need of the extra funding.

“We go get them, take them to the vet, get them completely vetted up, and then we temperament test and put them up for adoption,” said Diane Davis, founder of Paws and Claws Rescue in Hazel Park.

Davis was at the store Dec. 8 for the weekly adoption event, passing out samples and talking about the four dogs she brought with her.

She knows the personality of each, explaining which ones get along well with other animals or children, and which are happiest with just adult human companions.

“This is Jazzy,” she said, introducing a 7-month-old German shepherd mix to a prospective adopter. “When we got her, she was a mess. She was emaciated and submissively urinating out of fear, but as you can see, she’s not there anymore. She is very well-behaved and very friendly now.”

She knows the backstory, or as much of it as she can find out, and the personalities of all her animals. And she, like Wittner, cares for a lot more than just what’s on display at the adoption events.

“We have at least 12-25 at any one time,” Davis said. “A puppy is adopted out with an adoption fee of $175. Adults are $275 and that covers all medical. At $175, the new owner has to have them spayed or neutered by the time they are five months.”

The adoption fees help, but they don’t even cover the full cost of medical workups for many of these animals, let alone the cost of caring for and feeding them. But the store helps with that, too. They host donation drives throughout the year for food and supplies, and they help customers who want to donate get in contact with local rescues when they aren’t having a drive.

“When we do the fundraisers there, people will come in and bring us dog food and cat food and cat litter,” Wittner said. “It is so nice because it really helps. We take in so many older dogs that have oftentimes been through so much and require so much care that the donations allow us to use what money we have to get them to the vet, instead of spending it on food or supplies.”

“Any amount of money, or any supplies or food you want to donate, it is always welcome. We will always need it and accept it and be thankful for it.”

To contact A Hopeful Heart Animal Rescue, call (586) 260-0650 or visit http://ahopeful heart.webs.com. To contact Paws and Claws Rescue, call (248) 787-7000 or visit www.paws-n-clawsrescue.com. To contact Petco, call (586) 294-0519.