Shelter pets rise up – thanks to you!

January 29, 2010

BlizzardBuddyHeroKatVanessaI often talk about “The Bond,” the powerful connection that can form between human and animal. That bond benefits us in uncountable ways, so much so that I even wrote a book about it, “The Healing Power of Pets.”

Because I’m grateful for the amazing joy and love animals have given me throughout my life, I’ve made it part of my life’s work to pay that love back.

Apparently a whole heck of a lot of  you feel the exact same way, because according to the great folks at Kuranda Dog and Cat Beds, we’ve raised more than one hundred pets beds for Orange County Animal Services in Orlando, Florida.

OCASSandyI thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and the people at OCAS are  incredibly moved by your generosity, too.

And so are the pets — like Blizzard, Buddy and Hero, three senior pets at OCAS shown in the photo above, giving staffers Kat and Vanessa big kisses and love in appreciation for their new beds. Or Sandy, right, a puppy hanging out in her brand new bed instead of on the floor.

But that happy ending for these pets doesn’t mean the “bed-raising” is over.

OCASEmmittWhen I was at OCAS I saw a sparking clean, loving facility designed for 250 pets but filled with 800, a scenario playing out all over the country as the economy continues to fall and foreclosures and job losses to rise.

At OCAS as in many other shelters, only around one in five of the pets had beds. The rest are on concrete, without even the little bit of warmth and comfort that comes from being up off the floor.

I think of the senior dogs and cats lying on hard surfaces, becoming stiffer and more painful every day, lessening their chances of being adopted.

OCASBestFriendsI think about skinny pets, cold pets, pets lying in drafts and on wet floors, all of whom would be healthier, happier and more adoptable if this one basic comfort were available to them.

And I know that those of you who donated beds to OCAS knew that, because Kuranda tells me that many of you purchased beds for other shelters along with the ones you donated to OCAS.

When I contacted my friends and colleagues at Good Morning America, where I’ve been resident veterinarian for 13 years, and my great good friend Dr. Mehmet Oz, who graciously made me part of his new show’s core team, they wanted to help with this terrific cause, not just in Florida, but all over the country.

OCASCeliaSo we’re going to do that. We’re still working on the details, and we’ll let you know how you can continue to help homeless pets. In the meantime, visit Kuranda’s shelter donation page, find your local or favorite shelter, and donate a bed! Tell them you heard about it from Dr. Becker.

And keep reading and watching here at Pet Connection, Good Morning America and the Dr. Oz Show as we continue to help shelter pets across the country rise up, lie down, then move out — rise up from concrete floors, lie down on comfortable beds and then move out into loving forever homes!

All photos courtesy of OCAS. From the top: Sandy, a 2-month-old mixed breed dog who was found running loose; Buddy, a 10-year-old spaniel mix who was turned in with Blizzard, a husky, and Hero, an 8-year-old beagle mix, a stray; Emmit, a stray cat found already shaved; two friendly pit bull best friends that one of the kennel officers caught “spooning” after dinner one night — full bellies and a nap on a comfy bed sounds like the perfect evening! And last, Celia, a year-old female shepherd/pit mix surrendered by her owner.

Filed under: non-profits and charities,pets, connected — Dr. Marty Becker @ 5:03 am


  1. I LOVE shelter pets – I often refer to “noble shelter work.” To me, how we take care of homeless animals is an indicator of what kind of society we have, i.e., compassionate or not.

    Kurando rocks for their efforts, and they make a good bed that can be hosed off, used indoor or out. I wrote a product comparison article on beds a while back and included Kuranda. Good stuff!

    Comment by Phyllis DeGioia — January 29, 2010 @ 7:41 am

  2. This is so wonderful. Thank you Dr. Becker for letting us help these pets.

    Comment by sandrafx — January 29, 2010 @ 8:39 am

  3. This is just awesome. And we’re figuring out now how to expand to include more shelters “offically.”

    In the meantime, you can go to the site and donate from a pull-down list of shelters — dozens of them! Tell ’em Dr. Becker sent ya!

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — January 29, 2010 @ 8:40 am

  4. That top photo had me blubbering like a baby… bravo, Dr. Becker!

    Comment by Christie Keith — January 29, 2010 @ 8:44 am

  5. Dr. Becker, This is inspiring. It moved me so much. Your WORDS and THOSE photos. Amazing.

    When I think of society’s troubles and suffering from the economy it boggled the mind: nest egg savings and stocks have crumbled, trying to explain why Santa couldn’t make enough presents this Christmas because so many kids around the world needed presents, watching neighbors pack up after their homes foreclosed. Well, do you know what wakes me up in the middle of the night? It is a message from a huge piece of my heart telling me, “While all the above is traumatic, it is the pets who are truly suffering because of the economy. They do not speak out language. They do not understand why they are taken to the shelter. They are alone and afraid and cold sleeping on cement floors. Why? They do not know.”
    As humans, we all speak, read, and realize what is happening. We may not like the WHY. But, at least we know.

    Pets have no idea why.

    Comment by ericka — January 29, 2010 @ 8:49 am

  6. I’ve decided to donate an additional bed in honor of each of McKenzie’s puppies. The first one just went to the Muscatine Humane Society, in honor of the former Blaze Orange Boy (BOB), now known as Dooley, the Big D!

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — January 29, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  7. I’m so proud of Dr. Becker and all the Pet Connection readers who have responded to this wonderful, paw-warming initiative.

    Comment by David S. Greene — January 29, 2010 @ 9:06 am

  8. Dr. Becker – you are a hero for shelter pets across the country. You’ve made a huge impact for the homeless animals here, and we are truly honored. Seeing so many pets now enjoying the beds warms our hearts. We are so grateful for everyone who has donated to make a difference for pets in need at Orange County Animal Services. To know that pets at other shelters are benefitting too is truly inspring! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Comment by Kat Kennedy — January 29, 2010 @ 9:17 am

  9. An extra good thing about this campaign is that Kuranda beds are made here in the US, so it also supports American workers.

    Comment by KateH — January 29, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  10. I’ve decided that, every January, which for me is the coldest, darkest, saddest, suckyist month of the year, I will randomly select a shelter and have a bed sent to them. It made me feel so good this year, I believe it just might be the cure for my perennial January blues.

    Comment by Rori — January 29, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  11. Wow Gina. Thanks. Our shelter here in town is a beautiful facility built mostly by Mrs. Kent of the Kent feeds family. She had a passion for animals and made sure they were well cared for. Our shelter director is a totally unsung hero. How she manages day in day out to keep things running while dealing with jon-Q disposable pet public without losing her sanity is amazing?

    Comment by Verde — January 29, 2010 @ 10:24 am

  12. “jon-Q public” is also who is donating these beds… just sayin’.

    Comment by Christie Keith — January 29, 2010 @ 10:45 am

  13. Yes yes yes! Christie’s right. I just got a little excited, that’s all. :)

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — January 29, 2010 @ 11:07 am

  14. Thank you Dr. Becker. Thank you Good Morning America. Thank you Dr. OZ. And from all the jon-Q’s – it was a pleasure to help!

    Comment by Snoopy's Friend — January 29, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  15. Another idea for helping shelter pets get these beds . . Valentine’s Day is coming up. I asked hubby to dispense with the flowers this year and donate a bed to our local shelter instead. Everyone with a blog or Facebook page could suggest this to their readers / fans.

    Comment by Cathy — January 29, 2010 @ 11:35 am

  16. Please allow me to also thank Dr. Becker and everyone who’s donated pet beds. I’ve volunteered at Orange County Animal Services for several years, my wife and I foster dogs from there, and we recently donated some of the beds to OCAS. As anyone who’s ever been through a county-run shelter knows, it isn’t always pretty. Many of these animals have had hard lives, and unfortunately many will not find homes. But seeing more and more of these beds showing up in the dog runs is extremely gratifying. The dogs (and cats!) love them! You are truly making a difference. Thanks again.

    Comment by julary — January 30, 2010 @ 4:59 am

  17. Dr. Becker, thanks for pursuing such a worthy cause. I so can’t imagine how anyone could ever let their animals go to the point where they had to wonder the streets to survive. Such a simple donation of a pet bed to make a lost animal feel love and most likely the only time in their lives.

    Comment by Joan Seda — January 30, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  18. Since I have two extra special dogs, I want to give back some of there love by providing 2 pet shelter beds for animals not ever haven had a relationship with people who love them. Thanks again Dr. Marty.

    Comment by Joan Seda — January 30, 2010 @ 9:48 pm

  19. I just sent 10 beds to the OCAS and thank you for putting this challenge together. You are simply the best Marty!

    Comment by Bill Stankey — January 31, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

  20. wow! Any tally on how many beds so far OCAS has had in less than, what, two weeks? All due to Dr. Becker stepping in. This is a great tail. Yep, tail.

    Comment by ericka — February 2, 2010 @ 12:29 pm

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