'Tis the Season of Giving: Pet- and Animal-Based Charities

'Tis the Season of Giving: Pet- and Animal-Based Charities

Dr. Ruth MacPete tells you how to give back to pet organizations this holiday season. MacPete, find her on Facebook or at!

The holidays are more than trees, tinsel, and presents. What if Christmas…perhaps … means a little bit more?” We all know that the holidays are about giving. They are about peace on Earth and goodwill to men. But shouldn’t the holiday spirit extend to all creatures great and small? What can you do to help animals in need this holiday season?

There are many worthy charities to consider when making a donation this year. Here are just a few of the many deserving organizations:

  • The Morris Animal Foundation is the world’s largest non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting research projects that benefit the health of all types of animals, from companion animals to wildlife and everything in between. Foundation-funded studies have led to the development of the first vaccine for feline leukemia, a new single dose contraceptive vaccine that may help control feral cat overpopulation, and promising treatments for kidney disease and asthma.
  • Best Friends Animal Society is an animal welfare organization that accepts, cares for and often re-homes older, sick and behaviorally challenged animals. In addition to caring for animals at their large sanctuary in Utah, Best Friends Animal Society has started several national outreach problems aimed at reducing the number of animals euthanized in shelters across the country and promoting pet adoptions.
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA),the Western hemisphere’s first humane organization, was set up to prevent cruelty to animals. The ASPCA has been instrumental in establishing humane laws, rescuing animals from abuse, and supporting shelters and other animal welfare organizations throughout the country.
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind started in 1942 to provide guide dogs to wounded servicemen returning from World War II without their sight. The organization has grown tremendously and has now trained and provided over 10,000 service dogs free of charge to blind or severely visually impaired individuals since its beginning.
  • The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) was initially founded in 1895 to help the American Bison survive. WCS works globally to save wildlife through global conservation, education, and science. They have conservationists around the world trying to save several amazing animals like tigers, gorillas, and elephants from extinction.

Keep in mind there are other ways to help animals besides making a monetary donation. Here are some things you can do to help animals:

  • Donate your pet’s blood to a local pet blood bank. Your pet’s donation could save another pet’s life. Check with your veterinarian for more information about where to find a pet blood bank in your area.
  • Donate any unused dog or cat food cans. Many pet stores around the country have food drives going on at this time of year. Your unused food can help feed a homeless pet.
  • Donate old pet blankets, toys, bedding, etc., to your local shelter or rescue groups.
  • Donate your time. Don’t underestimate the impact of your time. Most shelters rely on volunteers to walk their dogs, play with them, and love them. In addition to helping the shelter, you will enjoy your time bonding with these animals.
  • Become a foster pet parent. Open your home and heart to a foster animal. By taking in a foster animal, you are providing a loving environment to animal that needs extra time or care before they can be adopted into their forever home.

There are many ways you and your family can contribute in this season of giving. Whether you donate money, food, supplies, or your time, you are making a difference in the lives of animals. No contribution is too small. Just think of the impact we can make if everyone took to the spirit of giving this holiday season.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

'Tis the Season of Giving: Pet- and Animal-Based Charities - pets

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Give the gift of kindness this year by making your consumer choices compassionate ones. It’s easy! And to make it even easier, here are some handy hints to help you along the way:

Every year, millions of animals are subjected to cruel and unnecessary testing of cosmetics and household products.

Buy cruelty free! You can view a full list of companies which do not use animal testing, and buy cruelty free goods online.

Don’t buy products which are tested on animals. If it doesn’t mention this on the label, in most cases either the product or its ingredients will have been tested on animals, or will have animal-based ingredients.

A symbolic gift to charity is a thoughtful gift that gives twice—and perfect for those who already have ‘everything’!

Make a donation on behalf of your friend to charity. Animals Australia has adorable gift certificates available, or if you’d prefer to donate to a human health charity, choose one which doesn’t fund animal experimentation.

Don’t buy ‘animal’ gifts. If you’re buying a gift for a friend in the form of a donation to a poor community, avoid ‘gifts’ such as ‘chickens’ and ‘goats’. Aside from encouraging animal cruelty, this type of gift is not environmentally sustainable consuming valuable food and water resources which could otherwise be used by people.

Yes—they’re cute, and you’ll be in the kids’ good books for at least the next 6 months—but they all grow up and are a life-long responsibility. More animals are discarded after the Christmas period than any other time due to impulse buys.

Consider making a donation to, or volunteering for, an animal shelter—and help some of the thousands of loving yet unwanted animals this Christmas season.

If you’re going away for the holidays, make arrangements with a kennel, cattery or animal minder well in advance, as bookings are at a premium over this period.

Set aside a room or area where your pets can escape to on Christmas Day if they’re not used to having lots of people around.

Leo’s Corner: The little animal charity making a big difference

Andrea Levangie receives a big kiss from Leo, her beloved rottweiler whom her animal and pet charity is named for.

‘Tis the season of giving, but for one animal lover and friend to the animals, giving is a year-round endeavour.

Andrea Levangie established Leo’s Corner in 2010 as a means of raising money for animal-based charities or organizations. Leo’s Corner is affectionately named after her beloved Rottweiler Leo she had at the time (and sadly passed away earlier in 2018).

“I started selling towels and gently used water bottles that were getting thrown out at work, and in 2011 then people started giving me leashes and collars. I named it ‘Leo’s Corner’ as he and I were always set up in a corner,” says Levangie.

Gently used (and sometimes new) items, mostly pet related, are donated to Andrea and she takes great care to clean and repair them if needed. You name it, she’ll accept it – bowls, leashes, toys, books, dog clothing – and turn into much needed donations for animals. Andrea sets up Leo’s Corner at various animal related events where she designates the charity all funds raised that day will go to. It’s not just money, though, as sometimes she collects newspapers to line cages, small dog crates for animal transportation, and pet food.

Martha Fortier, Levangie’s friend and operator of Martha’s Menagerie pet boarding facility in Harrowsmith, has nothing but praise for Levangie and her efforts.

“She has helped all sorts of creatures, from turtles to horses,” Fortier said.

Recipients of those funds raised through Leo’s Corner over the years have included the Ganonoque and Kingston Humane Societies, the Lennox & Addington OSPCA, Sheba’s Haven Rescue, Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre, Friends of Willow Rescue, and the Animal Angel Rescue Foundation to name a few. In 2018 alone, she raised almost $3,500 for such charities, and since she began her work in 2010, has raised approximately $15,000 for animals in need.

“I think the entire concept of people donating gently used animal and pet items that she displays at animal- and pet-oriented events where the prospective purchaser chooses the amount they want to pay towards that day’s selected charity or charities is an incredible concept for fundraising. Andrea is certainly one of a kind,” says Levangie’s friend and fellow dog enthusiast, Jennifer Robb.

For all her efforts, Levangie does not ask for anything in return. And although her fundraising plans for 2018 are done, Leo’s Corner will be back in 2019 to continue the great work she’s been doing for almost 10 years.

Andrea Levangie and her dog, Leo, share a snuggle. Levangie run’s Leo’s Corner, a charity to support larger animal and pet welfare charities and services.

Pet food companies ‘giving bark’ this holiday season

OAK CREEK, WIS., DANIA BEACH, FLA., ST. LOUIS and LOS ANGELES — Three pet food companies — Stella & Chewy’s, Purina and Jinx — have launched donation campaigns to support animal shelters and pets in need. Chewy, a leading online pet retailer, is also pledging shelter donations.

In honor of Giving Tuesday on Dec. 1, Wisconsin-based Stella & Chewy’s announced plans to donate 3,336 bags of dry dog food to the Oregon Humane Society, equivalent to 417,000 meals and more than $250,000 worth of premium pet food. The donation will support the animal shelter through the holiday season and into 2021, Stella & Chewy’s shared.

"Stella & Chewy's is committed to supporting animal shelters and rescue organization across the country that are devoted to improving the lives of pets in need through our Journey Home Fund program," said Marie Moody, founder of Stella & Chewy's. "We're fortunate to be in a position to be able to help and we're happy to be working with the Oregon Humane Society for Giving Tuesday during this challenging year."

The Oregon Humane Society currently serves 500 pets in its care and helps an average of 11,000 pets find new homes annually. The organization has saved nearly 150 animals displaced by wildfires that have threatened the West Coast throughout 2020.

"We're so grateful for this generous gift from Stella & Chewy's, as it will make a direct positive impact on the dogs in our care, and for pet-owners in the community," said Sharon Harmon, president and chief executive officer of Oregon Humane Society. "This year has brought so many challenges but OHS has continued to help animals in need and provide essential services."

The Oregon Humane Society will also provide dog food to community members in need, including those financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the shelter’s Giving Tuesday pet food bank.

Jinx is also “giving bark” to pets in need. The premium pet food company will match every commercial kibble purchase with a donation to various animal shelters in New York and Los Angeles, pound-for-pound up to 2,000 lbs.

The company hopes to donate up to 8,000 meals for shelter dogs through this initiative, which kicked off on Dec. 1, Giving Tuesday, and will last throughout the holiday season until the end of December.

"From our inception, social responsibility has been a key element of Jinx's DNA,” said Terri Rockovich, chief executive officer and co-founder of Jinx. “We know that clean nutrition powers everything great dogs do and believe that every dog should have access to quality options that help them thrive, so we've donated to shelter partners from the start. Now, especially since all of the founders have rescue dogs, as do most of our team members, this holiday season seemed like the perfect time to bring our customers into our giving back experience and make an even bigger impact to local shelters."

Jinx customers will be able to select where the company will send donations by selecting a shelter partner during the online checkout process. After checkout, customers can track Jinx’s donation goal progress. Shelter partners include Labelle Foundation and West LA Animal Shelters in Los Angeles, and Bideawee and Animal Haven in New York.

Purina, a division of Nestlé, is providing $400,000 to several pet-focused organizations, including Petfinder Foundation, Red Rover, Greater Good Charities, CARE (Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity) and Take the Lead. They are inviting pet parents to join by making donations of their own in the spirit of Giving Tuesday.

"Our nonprofit partners have risen to the many challenges that we've faced this year, from the pandemic taking away fundraising opportunities to a rising tide of need among the pets and pet owners they serve. We want to say thank you, and we are here for you," said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Purina. "And we hope others with the means to support will consider giving to these amazing organizations as well."

On Giving Tuesday only, Chewy will match up to $2 million worth of pet food and supplies purchased by its customers and donate them to animal welfare organizations and shelters in the United States. The retailer has partnered with Greater Good Charities to distribute the donations to various shelters and organizations in need.

“At Chewy, our goal is to make the world a better place for pets and the communities that serve them, and this is especially important now given the challenges so many are facing across the country,” said Mita Malhotra, vice president of healthcare and shelters at Chewy. “We wish to give back to this community of animal shelters and rescues in need, not only through our own donations but by also enabling the participation of millions of pet parents who want to contribute to the shelter and rescue community.”

Chewy customers can also donate products to a shelter of their choice year-round directly through the online retailer's Wish List feature.

Press Releases

ST. LOUIS , Nov. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- While Thanksgiving traditions may look a bit different this year, the spirit of giving during the season is more important than ever with so many individuals and organizations struggling to make ends meet. That's why Purina has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to five pet nonprofits this holiday season in addition to millions of dollars in pet food and litter donations and financial support provided throughout the year.

"Our nonprofit partners have risen to the many challenges that we've faced this year, from the pandemic taking away fundraising opportunities to a rising tide of need among the pets and pet owners they serve. We want to say thank you, and we are here for you," said Nina Leigh Krueger , President of Purina. "And we hope others with the means to support will consider giving to these amazing organizations as well."

According to a recent Purina survey, more than 90% of US consumers surveyed said they are planning to make a charitable contribution to one or more nonprofits this holiday season, and more than one third plan to give more to nonprofits this holiday season compared to 2019. Nearly 60% of consumers are considering giving to animal shelters and pet organizations this holiday season, and Purina hopes to draw attention to its nonprofit partners in this season of giving.

Guided by the belief that pets and people are better together, Purina has chosen five nonprofit partners to spotlight this year, each with a unique mission to help pets find loving homes, serve the needs of pets owners in crisis and break down systemic barriers that will help more pets find their perfect match.

Supported organizations include:

  • RedRover, Purina's Purple Leash Project partner, helps temporarily shelter animals rescued from disasters or neglect, domestic violence survivors seeking safety with their pets, animals with life-threatening illnesses, and uses innovative solutions to prevent animal cruelty and neglect.
  • Petfinder Foundation provides financial support to animal shelters and rescue groups nationwide so that they can ensure their adoptable pets are happy, healthy and ready for their forever homes.
  • Greater Good Charities is devoted to improving the health and well-being of people, pets, and the planet. From providing care and feeding of rescued animals in shelters to promoting literacy and education for children—Greater Good Charities is fully committed to making the world a better place for all.
  • CARE works to address organizational and personal biases within animal welfare with a focus on bringing diverse voices to animal welfare while advocating for a more inclusive path to pet adoption.
  • Take the Lead provides services, support and care for people in the sport of purebred dogs who suffer the devastation of life-threatening or terminal illness. In addition, the organization offers an emergency fund program for those needing assistance for unforeseen disasters and recently added a COVID-19 program, which distributed health insurance aid to members of the sport during this national emergency.

This week, leading into the Thanksgiving holiday, Purina is highlighting each of the organizations on its social media channels to drive awareness of their unique missions and encourage fellow pet lovers to give and get involved as well. Follow along at to see how these organizations are making a positive impact for pets across the country.

"In a year full of so much uncertainty, Purina's generosity is such a welcome gift," said RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth . "We can now help more people and pets who are in dire need – providing safe nights from abuse, shelter from disasters, financial assistance for emergency veterinary care, and more."

In the midst of the challenges that have impacted so many families, Purina also encourages fellow pet lovers to not lose sight of the role that pets have played in our lives this year. In an effort to put a spotlight on its nonprofit partners and applaud the pets who have made our "new normal" feel more normal, Purina will be running a new 60-second ad during the National Dog Show on NBC on Thanksgiving Day titled "Giving with Gratitude." The spot features a poem written by a Purina employee and video clips of Purina employees with their own pets are interspersed throughout.

"Every family has been impacted by the pandemic, including our Purina family," said Krueger. "One constant source of comfort has been our pets doing what they do best loving us, making us laugh and being by our sides. The bond that we share with our pets is worth celebrating every season."

About Purina
Nestlé Purina PetCare creates richer lives for pets and the people who love them. Founded in 1894, Purina has helped dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives by offering scientifically based nutritional innovations. Purina manufactures some of the world's most trusted and popular pet care products, including Purina ONE, Pro Plan, Fancy Feast and Tidy Cats. Our more than 8,000 U.S. associates take pride in our trusted pet food, treat and litter brands that feed 49 million dogs and 66 million cats every year. More than 500 Purina scientists, veterinarians, and pet care experts ensure our commitment to unsurpassed quality and nutrition.

Purina promotes responsible pet care through our scientific research, our products and our support for pet-related organizations. Over the past five years, Purina has contributed more than $150 million towards organizations that bring, and keep, people and pets together, as well as those that help our communities and environment thrive.

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