Lester, a once-shy and shutdown dog whose transformational story inspired a moving video from his adopter, won the Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society a grant for $100,000.
The shelter was awarded two Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes grants at a Wednesday ceremony at the Santa Fe Petco on Cerrillos Road. Actor Ali MacGraw, as well as the shelter’s Executive Director Dr. Jennifer Steketee, board president Roddey Burdine, board members and Susanne Kogut, the Petco Foundation’s executive director, were part of the check presentation.
Kogut said the two shelter adoption stories were selected from more than 5,000 stories submitted by animal adopters throughout the country. The stories, which highlighted how the adopted pets have changed and enriched the adopters’ lives, were chosen from 54 organizations from the pool of winning submissions.
The Petco Foundation plans to award some $750,000 grants to the animal welfare organizations that helped save those animals in the stories.
The Santa Fe animal shelter was nominated by Jamie Meridith and Jude Heimel, whose stories reflect the shelter’s efforts at saving animals through its behavior and transfer programs. Jamie’s dog, Lester, arrived at the shelter with a chain wrapped tightly around his neck. Two days passed before he began to warm up to the shelter’s staff and eventually to Jamie. Their story helped the shelter win the grand prize of $100,000.Jamie, a videographer, told the story in a moving video. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/Svq3nGaiQmQ .
Jude, who has significant hearing loss, met her dog, Lacey, at the shelter after Lacey had been transferred from an overcrowded partner shelter. The 20-pound spaniel mix had been slated for euthanasia but was rescued through the Santa Fe animal shelter’s transfer program. With Jude’s help and 600 hours of training, Lacey has transformed Jude’s life by serving as her service dog. Jude’s story earned the shelter a $5,000 grant.
To read all of the Holiday Wishes stories and vote for a people’s choice winner, visit www.petco.com/holidaywishes. People can still vote for their favorite stories and help rescue groups win additional funding of up to $25,000.