Holiday Wishes graphicThe Petco Foundation, in partnership with Halo, Purely for Pets, recently announced the winners of its second annual Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign, designed to help the most dedicated animal welfare groups succeed in their mission to save pets’ lives – at the holidays, and year round!

ACCT Philly was named a winner in this year’s competition and awarded a $10,000 grant to support Philadelphia’s animal shelter’s lifesaving programs. ACCT Philly’s grant was awarded in celebration of Catelaya.

When Cataleya suffered a serious, gaping wound while trying to crawl under a fence, Delmar was devastated. His baby girl was hurt and he rushed to get her care. Turning to a low-cost clinic for help at a price he hoped he could afford, he lost hope. The clinic told him fixing Cateleya’s wounds would require skin grafts and cost thousands. The only option given to him was to turn his dog in to animal control if he couldn’t afford care.

cat fam aHis heart was broken. Cateleya had been with him her whole life, since she was just a tiny baby. Living with the family that raised her was all she knew… but she was seriously injured and Delmar was out of options. He made his way to Philadelphia’s animal control shelter but even as he was at the intake desk, dealing with the crushing blow of surrendering his baby, he explained one more time that the last thing he wanted to do was give up on his dog.

He came to the right place.

Serving the City of Philadelphia the Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT Philly) believes the best outcome for a dog like Cateleya is to return to the home where she is loved so dearly. But there was no guarantee that ACCT Philly could help and Delmar was on edge.

ACCT Philly staff veterinarian Hillary Herendeen, V.M.D. examined the vicious four-inch tear on Cateleya’s flank. It was large but she felt confident she could help the dog. “Using a different technique would have resulted in a less obvious scar, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to save her life and get her back to her family,” said Dr. Hillary. So she made a deal: Delmar would surrender Cateleya and the veterinary team would do its best to save his dog. If it was successful, Cateleya could return home. We even threw in a spay surgery for free.

Delmar jumped at the chance.

Cateleya’s surgery went well and for the next month, Dell supplied staff with a constant stream of adorable photos: Cateleya recuperating on the couch, Cateleya snuggling with Delmar’s son, Dillion. “Fat Cat”, as she is affectionately called, even showed up for a recheck appointment sporting a children’s sweater and doggie jacket, just to ensure she wouldn’t be tempted to nibble at her sutures.

cateleya fam3 snapshotA shelter’s job is to save lives. But that is so much more than finding new homes for pets; it’s also keeping pets and families together. The reality is if Cateleya arrived at ACCT Philly we would have tried to save her, regardless of whether there was an owner paying for the surgery, and then tried to find her a new home. Some might even say we should have found her a new home, a “better” home. But that assumes Delmar’s home is not good enough and seeing the love that Delmar has for his dog clearly proves that wrong.

Today, Cateleya is healthy, happy and loving life. When we called Delmar about this story, his joyful response said it all, “My baby’s going to be famous!” he laughed. “But seriously, anything for you guys, you saved my girl. Anything.”

ACCT Philly extends our deepest thanks to the Petco Foundation for recognizing and supporting our lifesaving work in the community. For more information on the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign or to read more about this year’s winners, visit Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the campaign hashtag #HolidayWishes2014!