Earlier this year we received amazing news. Pets for Patriots was selected by a group of eight VCA veterinary hospitals across New York City to be the recipient of their Pennies for Pets charitable campaign.
The retail round up program encourages clinic clients to make small donations when paying their bills. It lasted from April through the end of June. It is managed through VCA Charities and the VCA national leadership team, but the fundraising effort is local to each practice.
The eight hospitals that comprised VCA’s Northeast Region 6 are a competitive group; merely asking for spare change just would not do. Each hospital felt called upon to try to out-raise the others.
In total, VCA Northeast Region 6 raised $5,916, enough to fully fund 23 life-saving, veteran-pet adoptions. There is even a little left over to help our veterans experiencing short-term financial hardship.
Staten Island leads the pack
New Yorkers unfairly call Staten Island the “forgotten borough,” in part because it does not have a subway connecting it to Manhattan. Simply put: it is not easy to get there. But once you are there you will be impressed with the warmth and authenticity of its residents.
One such person is Teresa Giacalone, hospital manager at VCA Staten Island Animal Hospital. This is a woman who took the Pennies for Pets competition seriously. Very seriously.
Teresa rallied her staff to ensure that Staten Island Animal Hospital raised the most of any of the eight participating hospitals. We hear she was as tenacious as a Chihuahua with a chew toy.
Our director drove to Staten Island Animal Hospital to thank Teresa and her team on the day of the ‘big check’ presentation. Everyone was incredibly kind. We met Ringo the tutu-wearing hospital mascot and an adorable ferret who joined in the festivities, too.
Wait, there’s more
That Pets for Patriots was chosen for this honor was a complete surprise. After all, at the time we did not have a program in the New York city area, nor had we been pursuing one actively.
But the success of the campaign changed our minds. We saw firsthand the people who spent months raising money for us – cent by cent – and their passion for our mission. We worked with regional VCA leadership to invite all eight of their member hospitals to join our veterinary partner program.
At the same time we started recruiting shelter/rescue partners that would serve New York City residents. As of this writing we are proud to welcome Mighty Mutts and Ollie’s Place. As we continue to grow in the community we will add partners who share our goal of giving veterans a new pet friend, and shelter animals hope and a home.