A large part of the work of the Petco Foundation entails enabling rescues and shelters of all sizes to continue to enhance what they are already doing. In support of our partners, we have granted a fleet of over 45 adoption, transport, animal control and spay/neuter vans, trucks and trailers. With the help of the thousands of groups saving and improving animal's lives, far more work can be done than if we tried to personally staff vehicles ourselves. When there is a need anywhere in the country, the vans and trucks are already in place. Especially with gas prices today, it is wonderful not to have to drive long distances to get a transport van into a battered area.
Vehicles that we grant serve a variety of purposes depending on the needs of the organization requesting it:
Thirteen vans have been donated through the Petco Foundation for rescue transport. We recently closed out a request for proposals for organizations that provide transportation services to all areas of the country. We haven't chosen which proposals will be approved, but are fairly certain we will be expanding our fleet of available vehicles for long distance transport. Here are a couple of the important roles played by organizations who do rescue transport:
We have funded three fully equipped spay/neuter vans, and have provided equipment and upgrades for about 2 dozen additional spay/neuter vehicles. Petco Foundation believes that one of the keys to lowering the number of unwanted pets in shelters and rescues is to lower the number of unwanted pets over all. A key way to achieve this is through the use of a variety of spay/neuter programs.
While many of our spay neuter grants provide voucher programs to help defray the costs of low or no cost spay and neuters, sometimes that extra step is needed to provide assistance to lower income neighborhoods. Perhaps a family can't drive their pet to a clinic on the other side of town. Or perhaps they are not motivated enough to take that time.
Spay and neuter vans provide the ability to create spay and neuter clinics in any neighborhood at any time. Additionally, these vans can be used as a general medical clinic to help provide much needed basic medical care to animals that might not otherwise receive it. By providing these services, the partners that operate these vans can ensure both that no unwanted litters are born and that, perhaps, no animals are surrendered to shelters for lack of ability to provide basic medical care.
A goal of the Petco Foundation is to keep existing pets with their families and to keep additional pets out of shelters. A single van, depending on both the size of the van and the size of the animals, can spay/neuter anywhere from 25 - 100 cats or dogs in a given day, eliminating the potential 500 pets that those animals could produce through unexpected/unwanted litters in a year.
Spay and neuter vans can also be used to help curb the cat over-population problem in areas with large feral cat communities. Through an organized effort, cats can be trapped, spayed/neutered and vaccinated nearby and then returned to their community, with little upset to their daily lives and with very little time lost in transporting them to outlying hospitals or clinics.
An example of one of our spay/neuter wagons that we are very proud of is the Gusmobile, operating out of PAWS Chicago. The GusMobile is a stand-alone, self-contained mobile surgical unit equipped with: Three surgical tables with supporting oxygen and anesthesia machines that enable up to 65 surgeries a day, an exam table that includes dog and cat scales, and self-supported water, heat, air conditioning and refrigeration which ensures a controlled surgical environment We have partnered with PAWS Chicago to help provide free and low-cost spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations and distribute humane education in the neighborhoods where the largest number of stray animals originate.
A large number of adoptions happen at Petco stores every weekend by their many qualified Adoption Partners. Petco Foundation helps to expand this reach through the eight adoption vans that we are able to grant. Adoption vans can provide several advantages to these regular adoption events:
Some groups, such as the Prince William SPCA are able to multi-task their granted vehicles so that they can serve as adoption vans on some days and spay/neuter vans on others. They truly are meeting the overpopulation problem at both ends.
Vehicles are just one of the many ways that your dollars are put to work to help solve the problem of orphaned pets in our country. Our ability to grant our partners' requests for these vehicles would not be at all possible without your generous donations, both in the stores and online. Thank you!
And the next time you see a van or truck out there doing valuable animal welfare work in your community, pat yourselves on the back because there is a likelihood that your donations helped to make that work possible - whether or not you see the familiar Petco Foundation logo on the outside.