Happy birthday, Betsy!

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One day, my husband was talking to a woman at a dog park who related that her daughter had several dogs. He smiled smugly and said, “My daughter has over 350,000.”

Betsy and her kitty, Cricket

Betsy, already entering data at 10 months old, gets help from her assistant, Cricket.

He was speaking of the pets on Petfinder at any given time — and stretching it a bit; they aren’t all dogs. There are cats, rabbits, pigs, reptiles, small furry creatures and more. But in fact, it did seem to us that she had taken in 350,000 or so pets, for in 1996, our daughter, Betsy, co-founded Petfinder.

When she was about 20, she told me she didn’t want to help just one pet but wanted to help a whole lot of them. Well, that’s what she did. Petfinder, so far, has facilitated over 20 million adoptions.

Perhaps I should have had an inkling that Betsy would end up working in animal welfare. When she was a teenager, her room looked like a disaster, and yet she was willing to clean cages for a woman who rescued dogs. She also wagged home stray dogs and cats, and we usually had white mice or gerbils and even snakes in the house. For a while, she daydreamed about starting a pet retirement home and even considered applying to vet school, but her master’s degree was in natural resources. So it was beyond the scope of my imagination that someday she would run the biggest animal “shelter” ever and would give homeless pets, for the first time in history, voices heard ’round the world.

“Petfinder’s success,” Betsy says, “shows that when you believe in something, you can make a difference.”

These days she’s still bringing pets home, but now it’s to her farm where she loves spending time with her family’s brood of rescued animals, many with special needs: two elderly horses, a senior goat, three cows, two dogs, a box turtle, a cat, and a flock of chickens and guineas.

Today, March 29, is Betsy’s birthday. So we wish her a very happy birthday and thank her for taking us along on this amazing experience that is Petfinder. We are very proud of the ethical, generous and caring woman she has become.

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