Meet Ellie: An Adorable Chihuahua Who Has Become the 300,000th
Pet Adopted at a PetSmart Store in Canada
Wednesday, June 26, 2019—BURLINGTON, ON—Meet Ellie. She’s a senior rescue pup who recently became the 300,000th pet in Canada to find a forever home through PetSmart’s in-store adoption program. Since opening its doors in Canada in 1999, PetSmart has never sold cats or dogs in its stores. Instead, the pet retailer established PetSmart Charities of Canada; a Canadian charity that partners with more than 200 local humane societies, SPCAs and rescues, to help shelter pets find adoptive homes and families. The pet that marked this milestone of 300,000 adoptions is a one-eyed Chihuahua with a rescue story for the ages.
“Blink” was the name that was first given to Ellie when a southern California shelter took her in as a stray. She was very nervous and shy, but she had clearly received some veterinary care in the past due to the stitches where her left eye used to be. The shelter thought Blink’s pet parent would soon come to claim her, but as time went on, no one appeared to be missing her. Blink’s stay at the shelter was getting longer and longer and her anxiety didn’t seem to be subsiding.
Shelters in California often struggle with a very high number of stray and homeless dogs, meaning that if dogs are not adopted quickly, or if they need more time to recover, overcrowded shelters can run out of space. Conversely, in Canada, there often aren’t enough adoptable dogs available for people wanting to give a pet the second chance they deserve.
That’s where rescues like Embrace a Discarded Animal Society come in. Leslie Fee, the founder of the organization, has been rescuing and transporting dogs from overcrowded shelters in the U.S. since 2012. Her organization, a registered Canadian charity based in Abbotsford, B.C., has received just over $100,000 in grants from PetSmart Charities of Canada to help cover the costs associated with transporting pets and providing the veterinary care they may need before being ready for adoption.
When we learn about dogs who are having trouble finding homes, or ones that are at risk due to being in an over-capacity shelter, those are the first ones we want to help, says Fee. Dogs are remarkably resilient. They just need time and space to rest, recover and learn to trust again. And that’s exactly what we offer them.
When Fee receives a call from an overcrowded shelter in California, she and her team will fire up one of their motorhomes that are equipped with air-conditioning, heaters and running water, and make the drive to California. Pets are safely and comfortably transported back to their ten-acre rescue ranch in Blaine, WA., which is right on the border of B.C.. Pets may stay at the ranch for a few weeks or a few years depending on what they have experienced, the veterinary care they require and how long it takes for them to feel healthy, happy and confident.
Blink spent just over a month at Embrace’s rescue ranch and soon she was one of the friendliest pups at the rescue. “We’d all developed such a soft spot in our hearts for her. Due to the scarring on her face and her missing eye, we think she suffered a dog bite at some point in her life. Despite that experience, she’s turned out to be so calm and trusting, she just loves to be held. That’s how we knew it was time to find Blink her forever home,” Fee concludes.
Fee first brought Blink to an adoption event at the PetSmart in White Rock, B.C. where she met Hanne Olsen—a woman whose beloved Chihuahua named Gidget had recently passed away. While Hanne was quite taken with Blink, she wasn’t sure if she was ready to adopt again so soon. She left the adoption event without Blink but found she couldn’t get the pint-sized pup out of her mind.
“When I got home, I just couldn’t stop thinking about her sweet face and what she must have gone through in her life. In a matter of moments, not only had I decided I wanted to adopt Blink, but I also knew that her name would now be Ellie—after Elle Driver from the Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill,” laughs Olsen. “She too, was missing one eye! She was also strong and resilient.”
One of Hanne’s neighbours was a volunteer with Embrace a Discarded Animal Society, so she knocked on her door and asked for Fee’s phone number. She called right away to see if Blink/Ellie was still available for adoption, and thankfully she was. After filling out an adoption application and completing a home visit, Hanne was delighted to hear that she could pick up Ellie at Embrace’s next adoption event in Abbotsford, B.C.
When Hanne arrived, she found out this was a very special adoption indeed—the 300,000th adoption that had happened in a PetSmart store in Canada. Ellie and Hanne were presented with a gift basket overflowing with everything Ellie could possibly need to settle into her new home in Canada.
"While Ellie may have been the 300,000th pet adopted in our Canadian stores, it’s important to remember that pet adoptions happen each and every day, says Alan Blundell, president of PetSmart Canada and chair of the board at PetSmart Charities of Canada. Every pet rescue from as far east as Newfoundland to as far west as Vancouver Island, paired with every Canadian that approaches a pet in need with an open heart and an open home has helped us to reach this milestone, and as we celebrate Canada Day, we are thankful to all of them."
About PetSmart Charities® of Canada
PetSmart® Charities of Canada is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across Canada, PetSmart Charities of Canada helps to find forever homes and families for more than 30,000 shelter pets each year. PetSmart Charities of Canada also provides grant funding to registered Canadian charities aligned with its mission. Each year, more than 500,000 generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities of Canada using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities of Canada efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as a leading funder of animal welfare in Canada, granting more than $19 million since its inception in 1999. PetSmart Charities of Canada is a registered Canadian charity, a member of Imagine Canada and is independent from the PetSmart business in Canada. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.ca
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