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Petco Foundation Vehicle Grant Program

Our Fleet of Vehicles

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:

Rescue Transport

Rescue Transport
Rescue Transport

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:

  • Shelter Reallocation: Often there are areas of the country that may have far too many of a particular breed of dog, while other areas of the country don't have any of that breed. While this may not seem a huge issue, consider this; if you are a person who would like a Chihuahua, but you live in a northeastern state where you don't see this breed in shelters, you might consider buying from a breeder because you would assume that the overpopulation problem isn't an issue. However there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Chihuahuas sitting unadopted in California shelters. If a rescue transport organization can pull some of the many Chihuahuas that are living their lives (and deaths) in California shelters and transport them to shelters in the northeast, these same people who might have purchased a dog previously, might end up adopting a dog and saving a life instead.

    A significant recent transport vehicle grant last year was to National Mill Dog Rescue. Volunteers with this organization travel to multiple states over several days and rescue between 50-150 dogs each trip. Obviously, the areas where a specific puppy mill exists will be inundated with the breeds being sold. Getting these mistreated beings far away from the location of their abuse and into areas where they will be appreciated is vital.

  • Disaster Preparedness: The other scenario where rescue transport is vital is in times of disaster. During hurricanes or floods or fires or any other natural disaster, many pets are left behind as the family flees. Often the local shelter or humane society is destroyed in the disaster as well and these pets, as they are collected from the wreckage, must be transported to outlying areas. Once clean up is underway and families are returning to their homes, many of these pets need to be brought back into the area to be reclaimed by their families. Transport vehicles provide this valuable service.

Spay Neuter Vans

Spay and Neuter Vans

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.

Adoption Vans

Adoption Vans

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:

  • Transport to and from the events: While a number of our cat rescue groups have stationary adoptions inside the Petco stores, most other adoption partners need to transport their pets to and from the stores for events. Adoption vans provide this portability. Often the vans are customized for the specific needs of the species of pet that will be transported, and can be left stocked with treats, water, leashes, crates and the variety of supplies that an adoption event requires. This cuts down on the number of volunteers needed to be able to adequately showcase a group's adoptables. Currently we have 20 vehicles in service helping rescues and shelters with their day to day operations, including driving pets to adoption events, foster homes, vet appointments, as well as picking up needed supplies at their local Petco stores.

  • Mobile adoption unit: Often, the smaller Petco stores do not have large space in-store but do have an area in the parking lot that can be used to showcase adoptable pets. Also, while adoptions at Petco stores are a key component in the success of our partners, the potential adoption traffic is most often from existing pet owners who might be going into the store to purchase supplies for their pets. In order to target the population that might want a pet but doesn't have one yet, adoption vans provide the ability to hold or participate in events in other locations. Many of our adoption vans have the ability to open out a canopy to be a self enclosed adoption area. Nine of the vehicles we have donated have special adaptations to make them suitable to be stand alone adoption centers, allowing our partners to showcase their adoptables anywhere they choose.

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.