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Healthy Paws Foundation Made a Difference in 2020

By Christy True
January 6, 2021 • 4 min. read
Rescued dogs being unloaded

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation was born nearly 11 years ago on one guiding principle: to help pets, whether homed or not. The foundation has grown each year along with the pet insurance business and has now distributed a total of over $1.37 million since the foundation started, helping 370 animal welfare charities.

In 2020, the foundation arm of the company helped homeless pets to the tune of $391,945, the largest amount in a single year to date.

With a focus on small, underfunded no-kill shelters and rescues, the foundation helped 90 nonprofits across the U.S. save more animals, covering costs for medical care, food, transportation, or operating expenses. COVID-19 created more need than ever, as charities had to shelve fundraising events and more people sought help because of economic hardship.

To these small organizations – sometimes they are operated by one or two people – even a small grant can make such a difference. Many rescues are struggling just to stay afloat.

“Oh my goodness!!! Thank you!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We have been so worried about being able to stay open through these hard times. This is a terrific blessing!” said Robin Ackling, board president of the Bakersfield (Calif.) Pet Food Pantry, which received a $5,000 grant in December.

The foundation is funded by our Every Quote Gives Hope™ and Refer-A-Friend programs, where we set aside a donation for each person who requests a pet insurance quote or refers a new customer. None of the foundation funding comes from premiums paid by our customers.

Healthy Paws employees are key to the decision-making process for the foundation. Employees nominate and vote on a rescue each month in different states with the chosen charity receiving $2,500. A committee made up of employees across the company collectively decide on other distributions.

The foundation normally runs a Rescue Race in the fall when animal rescues compete for the top prize of $20,000, but that event was canceled this year because of challenges presented by COVID-19. Each rescue that applied to participate was granted $1,000. The rest of the funds were distributed in other ways to benefit people and pets suffering because of the pandemic.

Here are some of the giving highlights for the second half of 2020:

• In November, the foundation donated $20,000 to a flight dubbed Paws Across the Pacific, believed to be the largest pet rescue flight in history. More than 600 cats and dogs were flown from overwhelmed shelters on four of the Hawaiian Islands to the Pacific Northwest where they were quickly adopted into loving homes.

• For Giving Tuesday in December, the foundation donated $20,000 to six pet food pantries or rescues that help people who are struggling to care for their pets. We targeted charities in states with the highest unemployment rate. Those recipients were the Hawaiian Humane Society; Hearts Alive Village in Nevada; Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry in California; Maggie’s Pet Pantry in Rhode Island and Animal Care Centers of NYC.

• The foundation sponsored an “Employee Giving Tree” in December, where employees were offered the chance to select from nine rescues, which would receive about $300 for each employee “vote.” A total of $30,000 was distributed to these groups: Arkansans Assisting Homeless Animals, Cabot, Arkansas; SPCA Northern Nevada, Reno; Another Chance Animal Rescue, Southern Maine; Freckles and Tomcat Rescue, SE Montana; Homeward Bound in the Heartland, Omaha, Nebraska; Great Dog Rescue New England, Massachusetts; Second Chance Sheridan Cat Rescue, Sheridan, Wyoming, Barely Used Pets, Urbana, Ohio; and Lifeline Animal Placement and Protection, Inc., Wichita, Kansas.

• In honor of Adopt a Senior Pet Month, the foundation gave a total of $10,000; $5,000 each to two rescue groups whose efforts are focused on senior pets, one for dogs and one for cats. They were Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary in Petaluma, Calif. and PurrEver Ranch Sanctuary in Coldwater, Miss.

• To mark National Puppy Mill Awareness Day in September, the foundation donated $10,000 to the National Mill Dog Rescue, which rehabilitates and rehomes retired commercial breeding dogs.

• Also in September, the foundation gave $25,000 to rescue groups located in areas affected by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana and wildfires on the West Coast, where pets were displaced, injured, and abandoned. Those groups were: Lake Charles Pitbull Rescue; Wings of Rescue; Whisker City, Shoreline, Wash.; Northwest Dog Project, Eugene, Ore.; and Pasadena Humane, California.

• For Black Friday, Healthy Paws invited followers to take the Black Friday pledge to focus on spending time with their pets instead of shopping. For every person who took the pledge, the foundation pledged to donate $10 up to $30,000 to help homeless pets. The total was distributed amongst these rescues located in states with the highest euthanasia rates for pets: Rockwall Pets in Rockwall, Texas; Sierra Pacific Furbabies all over California; Beyond Nine Cat Rescue in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Black Dog Club in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Perry’s Promise, in Walker Co., Georgia.

• In honor of Veteran’s Day, we donated a total of $15,000 to three rescue groups ($5,000 each) that unite military veterans with shelter dogs who help them cope with depression, stress, and PTSD. They are: Rescue Dogs Rescue Soldiers SanctuaryK9s for Warriors and Pets for Patriots.

• In August, Healthy Paws ran a campaign to encourage people to go for a walk with their dogs and raise money for homeless pets at the same time just by registering their intention to walk. Some 2,289 people registered for Steps for Strays”, raising $11,445, which was donated to the Northeast Animal Shelter

Here are some ways we helped homeless pets in the first half of 2020:

If you want to support the Healthy Paws Foundation, we will make a donation for each person who requests a quote for pet insurance. Start by getting a quote.

Christy True and Tomas
By Christy True

Christy has been writing about pets for Healthy Paws for 21 dog years. She previously worked in journalism, hence her penchant for writing about offbeat animal studies and the latest viral pet trends. She has been owned by several dogs, and right now, Tomas, a Mexican street dog rescue, is staring at her because he wants a walk. Outside of work, she can usually be found sliding down a mountain near her home in Bend, Ore.

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