Parts of Maryland and Washington, D.C., experienced severe hardships when the economy took a downswing, leaving many people struggling to make ends meet. That caused many families to face the difficult decision of what to do with pets they couldn’t afford.
Luckily, Sunshine’s Friends Cat and Dog Rescue has been able to help. That’s why Brian Eury, District Lead with PetSmart in the area, chose the organization to receive a PetSmart Charities grant.
“They are a rescue group for abandoned community cats and dogs, and they also rehabilitate sick and injured animals in the community,” says Eury.
Keeping Pets With Their Families
But Sunshine’s Friends goes beyond just rescuing abandoned or stray animals; they work to keep the animals with their families, despite economic challenges.
According to Keith Burnham, a director with Sunshine’s Friends Cat and Dog Rescue, the all-volunteer organization started the “Hope 4 Paws” program.
“It’s designed to help pay some of the vet bills for people whose income is at or below the “very low” income limits set by HUD for public housing assistance for the Baltimore region,” says Burnham. “The program has assisted hundreds of people that now do not have to surrender or euthanize a beloved member of their family.”
By keeping animals with their families, the organization can help prevent unnecessary euthanizations and abandoned animals.
Hope 4 Paws
The PetSmart Charities grant will be used to fund the Hope 4 Paws program, which makes a significant impact in the community.
One example is Emma, an elderly woman living in a subsidized housing community in the outskirts of Baltimore. After a stroke, she could no longer walk or care for her beloved dog. She considered taking her dog to the shelter, but she knew the animal would likely be euthanized due to her age and poor health.
Luckily, she connected with Sunshine’s Friends and surrendered the dog to the organization. Through her time at Sunshine’s Friends, the dog got much-needed medical care. After six months, she’s a playful, healthy dog and is nearly ready to go to a new home. That’s the kind of miracle Sunshine’s Friends works every day.
“I can’t say enough about this group,” says Eury. “We are so happy to have them as part of the PetSmart family and to help them drive our mission. They have such big loving hearts and are a joy to work alongside.”