Our History
Our History
For nearly two decades, The Pet Savers Foundation has been an industry leader and innovator in the field of companion animal welfare. Operating as the development arm of The North Shore Animal League America, The Pet Savers Foundation has a history of creating mission-driven, groundbreaking programs that are piloted and then adopted by shelters nationwide.

Cooperative Advertising Initiative

The Pet Savers Foundation launched in 1992, with an innovative Cooperative Advertising program, establishing a multi-million dollar grant fund made available across a large network of shelters. In order to access these funds, shelters ran local advertising that was directly tied to the No-Kill movement, and that generated incremental shelter adoptions.

The program was instrumental in creating broad scale awareness of the No-Kill movement, and migrating many shelter participants from Kill to No-Kill policies. Major successes included a 3% annual drop in the euthanasia rate within the first 2 years of the program-astounding considering that initial program participants accounted for less than 1% of annual adoptions nationwide.

The program also significantly reduced the average adoption cost, enabling shelters to increase the number of animals they could rescue and adopt out. In aggregate, the program generated approximately 170,000 incremental adoptions and many participating shelters increased their individual adoption rates significantly (one partner, the Houston Humane Society increased adoptions 111% after becoming a Pet Savers partner).

This Co-Op Advertising program ran successfully for several years, at which time, participating shelters were given the marketing tools to create their own advertising campaigns (building on their success with our Co-Operative program).


This initiative, acquired by The Pet Savers Foundation, has grown significantly over the past 2 decades. The program began with a vision to provide rescuers and consumers with access to low-cost or free spay/neuter services, and SPAY USA has never waivered from that mission.

In 2000, The Tools for the Twenty-first Century conference, SPAY USA's first national conference, included a first-ever panel of scientists that are working on non-surgical solution to spaying or neutering animals. SPAY USA also advocated early spay/neuter practices to significantly reduce the number of animals that were turned into shelters annually. Another national conference and many regional conferences also brought together thought leaders and experts in spay/neuter practices, and several major state programs resulted from these conferences, including Spay Texas, Spay Florida and Mississippi Spay and Neuter.

SPAY USA will hold its third national conference this year, in Chicago, IL, and full conference details are available at http://spayneuterconference.org.

Over the last 17 years, SPAY USA has been expanded to shelters nationwide, and is now the premiere spay and neuter referral program and resource in the country, with a cooperating network of 1,200 veterinary practices. In 2007, over 50,000 referrals were made to individuals seeking affordable pet sterilization.

Through its efforts, SPAY USA has developed industry best practices, and continues to expand its efforts in education and advocacy. The initiative has helped prevent the potential births of millions of animals that may otherwise face destruction.


The Making It Happen national conference began in 1993, as a means to unite the industry and share best practices. In 1998, The Pet Savers Foundation broadened the industry event into CHAMP, the Conference on Homeless Animal Management and Policy. This annual, three-day event brought together hundreds of shelter managers, animal control officers, educators, medical specialists and rescuers, to share valuable industry information and insights. The CHAMP Credo being "When we work together, more lives are saved."

Through dozens of innovative workshops, conducted by nationally recognized experts, participants gained practical knowledge to improve shelter management and medical care, implement effective spay/neuter programs, conduct productive community outreach and enhance fundraising skills.

The Pet Savers Foundation built CHAMP each year, and in 2005, its last year, the conference was attended by over 600 companion welfare specialists.

Seniors for Seniors

In 1995, Pet Savers developed another innovative program that matched senior citizens with senior pets. A comprehensive program was established to encourage our large network of shelters to implement their own Senior for Seniors programs locally. A fund was established to reimburse shelters for medical care and pet-related program expenses.

Since its inception, the Seniors for Seniors program has taken hold and has been replicated by shelters across the country (in various iterations).

The Cooperative Buying Program

Understanding that shelters must continuously reduce costs to rescue an ever-increasing number of animals, The Pet Savers Foundation established a Cooperative Buying program, that enables smaller animal shelters to obtain significant cost savings on shelter equipment and supplies. Savings are realized as The Pet Savers Foundation pools all shelters as a buying consortium. Several shelter testimonials are available at (insert link). Shelters can easily join this consortium and quickly gain access to high-quality, lower-cost supplies. Several manufacturers participate in the program, and Pet Savers will bring new manufacturers into the program to continue to add value for our shelter partners.

The Cooperative Adoption Program

In 1995, Pet Savers determined that many more animals could be saved if they could be adopted off-site at high-traffic locations.

In 1996, the first Mobile Adoption unit was produced for The North Shore Animal League America. The Mobile Adoption unit, which provides comfortable, air-conditioned transport, for up to 35 animals, enables the League to rescue animals from across the country. The units also allow the League to host major, off-site adoption events to dramatically increase the number of animals that are saved each year.

In addition to using the Mobile Adoption units for League efforts, the units are offered to shelter partners and rescue groups on a Co-Operative basis - since these groups don't have their own Mobile Adoption units. This Co-OP Adoption program gives these groups the tools they need to run high-level adoption events that save even more lives annually. We have provided shelters, and organizations, with the tools necessary to create their own Mobile Adoption units.

Through the generosity of major supporters, the fleet of Mobile Adoption units has continued to grow - and seven Mobile Adoption units are in use today.

Paws to Think

A Pet Savers publication launched in 2002, has served as an effective vehicle for communication in the animal welfare community. With a circulation reaching 35,000, the publication has covered a wide range of important industry topics including; best practices for working with municipal animal care and control personnel, the latest in animal welfare legislation, tips on running an effective spay/neuter program, great fundraising ideas and so much more. This publication is in the process of being updated and will be re-launched soon.

The Mutt-i-grees Initiative - Pet Savers next groundbreaking program

This nationwide, multi-faceted humane education program will target adults and children with a forceful message that mixed breed animals are highly-desirable and that adopting a mixed breed dog from an animal shelter is the best and most responsible way to acquire a pet.

The Mutt-i-grees Initiative will shine light on thousands of "puppy mills" that engage in widespread cruelty, as they supply our nation's pet stores with a steady supply of puppies and kittens.

This initiative is expected to join millions of mixed breed pet owners, thousands of animal shelters, veterinarians, educators and teachers, corporations and others committed to dramatically improving animal welfare.

The Mutt-i-grees Initiative will launch in 2008 via an interactive website, and will also feature innovative school curriculum, targeting children Pre-K, and Grades 1-9, and developed in partnership with The School of the 21st Century at Yale.