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We’re making Holiday Wishes come true, in partnership with Petco!

Throughout September, pet parents across the country submitted stories about how their adopted pet changed their lives, and in doing so, gave deserving animal welfare organizations the opportunity to receive a grant from the Petco Foundation!

More than 5,000 stories were submitted and throughout the holiday season, we presented the 54 winning organizations with a grant between $5,000 up to $100,000. On top of that, we asked our followers to vote for their favorite story in our People’s Choice bonus round. By voting, they gave the organization the chance to win one of five People’s Choice Awards. The five most voted for stories won: one $25,000 award, two $10,000 awards, and two $5,000 awards!

Check Presentation

Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society
$100,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Jamie Merideth
Story title: “Just a Girl and Her Dog” Find Joy in Just Being Together
Wide open spaces give these best friends the pathway to healing 
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Angel Ridge Animal Rescue
$50,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Leo Kennedy
Story title: Small Dog Steals the Heart of Big Dog Lover
Man changes his mind on what he considers to be a “real” dog
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Arizona Humane Society
$50,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Bruce Cardwell
Story title:Fostering Helps Man Overcome Tragedy
You know she’s the one when you let her break all the rules
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East Bay Rabbit Rescue
$50,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Crystal Pelayo
Story title: All He Wanted for Christmas was a Big White Bunny
Child finds friendship and creative voice, thanks to new furry friend
Read More

Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan
$50,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Jessica McCormick
Story title: Unlikely Service Dog Is a Natural at Alerting Owner
Local shelter finds and trains perfect dog to help woman with health challenges
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Austin Humane Society
$25,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Thomas Swafford
Story title: Hammie plays hard to get until she finds the right family to love
Frisbee-Loving Dog Seeks Adopter with Time to Throw
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Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit
$25,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Stephanie O'Dell
Story title: A Boy and His Cat are Best Friends from Birth
Forget about what people tell you about cats, this mom says, my cat loves the baby
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Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston
$25,000 grant winner
People's Choice Winnner $10,000 People's Choice Winner

Submitted by: Katherine Scardasis
Story title: Dog Gives Young Boy Special Gift of Friendship 
Petting Lexi makes therapy bearable for medically-fragile child
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Indian Summers Border Collie Rescue
$25,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Jacqueline Adams
Story title: Border Collie Helps “Mom” Out of Her Rut
The tables are turned when a dog shares his story about how to help his mom enjoy the day
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Operation Paws for Homes
$25,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Henry (George) Norris
Story title: Dog Honors Memory of Fallen Officer by Making Everyone Smile
Officer shares new puppy with others and ends up filling the hole in his own heart
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Spay and Save
$25,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Arnold Richter
Story title: Dog’s Quirky Nature Teaches Family the Value of Acceptance
New family, new name gives dog second chance at forever home
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Town Cats of Morgan Hill
$25,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Betty Wenker
Story title: Bottle-Feeding Kittens Helps Woman Cope with Grief
After year of tragedies, woman finds purpose in fostering kittens and finding them homes
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White Paws German Shepherd Rescue
$25,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Amber and Nic Marzahl
Story title: Shelter Dog Brings New Life to Soldier Living with PTSD
Desperate couple turns to adoption to find and train the perfect service dog
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Fur Babies Rescue and Referral Inc.
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Sheryl Leventhal
Story title: Adopted Puppy Turns Out to be the Best Medicine for Recovering Patient
After a lengthy recovery, woman pays it forward by training puppy as therapy dog
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Helpers 4 Shelters
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Christina Wang
Story title: Country Pup's New Life in the Big City
Easy-going dog shows couple there are better ways to spend the weekends
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Homeward Bound Schnauzer Rescue
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Michael Copper
Story title: Adopted Dog Brings Family Closer Together
Dad’s experience with adopted dog gets him thinking more about his time teaching his kids about the world
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Little Traverse Bay Humane Society
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Cory Evans
Story title: Soldier Feels at Home with Kitten’s Calming Presence
Unexpected addition to the family turns out to be what one man needed
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Mohawk Hudson Humane Society
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Amber Pitcher
Story title: Shelter Dog Inspires Mountain Journey
Woman finds dog who gives her courage to fulfill her dreams 
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Plaquemines Animal Welfare (PAWS)
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Chris Beebe
Story title: Shy Dog Shows His True Spirit to New Family
Inspired by one dog’s nature, volunteer goes all in to become leader of animal shelter
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Rotts of Friends Animal Rescue
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Jessica Bishop
Story title: Pit Bull’s Love Helps Soldier Adjust to Life After War
Soldier finds renewed “sense of purpose and joy” after adding pit bull joins family
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Sav-R-Cats International, Inc.
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Kristine Larsen
Story title: Kitten helps co-pilot four-month adventure across the U.S.
Cross-Country Trip Takes Couple from Sadness to Joy
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Town Cats of Morgan Hill
$10,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Patty Guthrie
Story title: Foster Kitten’s Gentle Nature Leads to Pet Therapy Work
Therapy cat touches the hearts of all those he visits every month
Read More

Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Inc
$5,000 grant winner
People's Choice Winnner $5,000 People's Choice Winner

Submitted by: Romily Bernard
Story title: Rescue Dog Knows How to Comfort Sick Baby Girl
Mom says adopted dog’s presence soothed infant when she was at her sickest
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Animal Protective Association of MO
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Kim Brown
Story title: Minnie Teaches Family About Kindness to All Animals
Laying hen adopted from shelter enjoys the best of both worlds
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Ashley Valley Community Cats
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Chelsea Frankovich
Story title: Couple Finds New Passion After Cat Adoption
Newfound love of felines leads family to adopt, foster,and help local shelter with a new rescue facility
Read More

Baja Dog Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Kathryn Flores
Story title: Adopted Woman Opens Her Heart for Pit Bull Mix
“Sweet, goofy girl” reminds foreign born adopted woman that everyone is worthy of love.
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BARCS - The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter
$5,000 grant winner
People's Choice Winnner $25,000 People's Choice Winner

Submitted by: Claire Giambi
Story title: Pit Bull’s Unexpected Gift to Couple Who Gave Her A Chance
“Miracle Molly” makes an emotional connection (and finds new home) with the officer who saved her
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CatPAWS (Helen Sanders Cat Protection and Welfare Society)
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Joanne Gobbi
Story title: Adopted Cat Helps Woman Out of Her Shell
Walking cat on a leash gets people talking in retirement community
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Central Oklahoma Humane Society
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Dana McCrory
Story title: After Stroke, Aussie Mix Creates Brighter Future for Former Jet Pilot
Adopted dog introduces her own special brand of physical therapy to move things along
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Cowley County Humane Society
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Brenda Falkenberg
Story title: Shelter Dog Becomes Seizure Alert Dog for Pageant Queen
Pair to travel across U.S. educating people about service dogs and epilepsy awareness
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CSM Stray Foundation
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Christopher Williams
Story title: Through Love and Loss, Man Finds Comfort in Friendship with Cat
When given an ultimatum between girlfriend and cat, man sticks up for cat
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Denison Animal Welfare Group
$5,000 grant winner
People's Choice Winnner $5,000 People's Choice Winner

Submitted by: Heather Keener
Story title: Mom’s Instant Connection with Dog Turns Out to Be Gift for the Entire Family
Dog’s antics and gentle nature brings laughter and love into home during difficult time
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Detroit Bully Corps
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Suzanne Williams
Story title: Dog Opens World for Young Girl in Wheelchair
Young girl with Lou Gehrig’s disease wants “misunderstood” breed in her life
Read More

DMK Rehoming
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Dorane Subjack
Story title: Newly Adopted Dog Goes from Kennel to Show Ring
Self-described cat lady teaches dog to dance and creates new world for both of them
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English Springer Rescue America, Inc.
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Janet Boetsch
Story title: Dog Brings Hope and Happiness Back to Couple’s Lives
From morning 'til night, Springer Spaniel keeps life busy with fun and games and antics
Read More

Forever Home Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Lindsey Getz
Story title: New Kitten Helps Family Dog Overcome Separation Anxiety
Self-described dog people say they never knew a kitten could bring so much joy to their home
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Foster Dogs, Inc.
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Sarah Feoli
Story title: Pit Bull Rescued from Fighting Ring Becomes Cover Girl for Chocolate Bar
Woman turns love of dogs and chocolate into a nonprofit candy company that helps rescue groups
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Hickory Hill K-9 Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Kristin Donaldson
Story title: Adoption Makes Holiday Wishes Come True!
Kids use guilt, bargaining, and even a PowerPoint presentation to convince parents they need a dog
Read More

Humane Society of the White Mountain
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Terry Bankert
Story title: Once a Shelter Dog, Priya Brings Joy During Hospital Visits
Former shelter dog provides comfort to family and therapy to the patients she visits
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Humane Society of Utah
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Guinnevere Shuster
Story title: Three Times the Charm for This Shelter Dog
Photogenic dog convinces photographer to change careers
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Independent Animal Rescue Inc.
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Katherine Abernethy
Story title: Dumpster Kitten Has Calming Effect on Little Girl
Rescue and foster care leads to a happy pairing between kitten and special needs child
Read More

Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Bonnie Cable
Story title: Dixie, "The Girlfriend", Teaches Man to Smile Again
Ten years after tragedy, family still suffers from loss until Dixie comes along
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Kanawha Charleston Humane Association
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Melissa Rhodes
Story title: Shaking Off the Past, Woman Finds Way to Create New Family to Love
Homelessness gives woman unique perspective on the lives of homeless cats and dogs
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Lynchburg Humane Society
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Sarah Catherine Straw
Story title: Puppy Always There for Woman During Difficult Times
Having a best friend helps Sarah work to overcome her struggles
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Needy Paws Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Misty Veltman
Story title: After Divorce, Kids Look to Make Things Whole Again
Adopted dog gives unconditional love to three sisters who needed a big hug
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Ohio House Rabbit Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Brenda Bennett
Story title: Rabbit Enters Woman’s Life Right When She Needed Him
Rabbit becomes much-needed companion for cancer patient
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Paws and Prayers Pet Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Julie Weese
Story title: Pit Bull Provides Comfort to Veteran Living with PTSD
Kind dog loves people, kittens, baby chicks and sheep, proving a loving home makes a difference
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Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Carie Broecker
Story title: Dog Inspires New Rescue Group to Help Seniors and Terminally Ill
In this community, people no longer have to worry about what will happen to their pets
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Pit Road K9 Rescue and Sanctuary
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Pam Phillips
Story title: Adopter Trains Abandoned Puppy in Search and Rescue Work
Amazing partnership provides rewarding life for woman and her first dog
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Pit Sisters
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Jason Bertrand
Story title: Former Fighting Dog Brings Happiness to Man Behind Bars
Dog’s happy nature teaches former prisoner how to transition back into society
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Ruff House Rescue
$5,000 grant winner
People's Choice Winnner $10,000 People's Choice Winner

Submitted by: Curtis Weiss
Story title: Adopted Dog Helps Man Overcome Health Issues
Three months, three pairs of sneakers and 20 pounds later, adopter’s life is changed by very active dog
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Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Jude Heimel
Story title: Lacey, the Service Dog, Offers Freedom to Woman with Hearing Loss
Dog alerts mom to the sounds around them and offers the best antidote for loneliness
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The Gulf Coast Humane Society
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: Brock Marie Moore
Story title: Adopted Dog Helps Woman Overcome Night Terrors
Athletic pup gives woman reason to play during the day and rest well at night
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The Humane Society of St. Lucie County
$5,000 grant winner
Submitted by: David Lynch
Story title: Adopter Can’t Imagine Life Without His Troublemaker
In return, he dedicates his life to animal welfare work
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