Meet the men who inspire us to help pets

This Father’s Day, many of you donated to the Petfinder Foundation in honor of your dads or other loved ones. We wanted to know: How did your honoree inspire you to help homeless pets? Here are just a few of your answers.

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Nino with Pele the day Pele was adopted from Southampton, PA’s WAGS Rescue and Referral.

Julie Gabriel writes of Nino deProphetis: I am Nino’s partner; we are both animal lovers. Nino is a retired high school physics teacher. He misses teaching, and the kids he taught, so much! He is also a true history buff; an interesting and knowledgeable man. He is the father of two great daughters, and step-grandpa to my four grandchildren.

I have a ShiPoo who is 5 years old, and Nino had a 14-year-old Rottie-Shepherd mix who died last May. Nino was devastated. By November, he agreed it was time to find another BIG dog. Through Petfinder, we found [Southampton, PA-based] WAGS Rescue and Referral. They were holding an adoption day at a veterinarian’s office with a couple of other rescue groups. Needless to say, it was love at first sight: Pele is a blue Pit Bull, about 10 weeks of age when we got him.

Pele and all his littermates were rescued off the back of a truck in North Carolina. The driver had been selling them as bait or fighting dogs. He had already sheared off their ears. Although they all needed major care, they were soon placed with an amazing foster mom.

Pele today is the most loving dog I have ever known. Every living thing exists only for him to kiss. Not a mean bone in his body. If it weren’t for Petfinder, we wouldn’t have found him. So it is Nino and I who should thank you!

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Kathryn adopted Vinny and Goulie from Animals in Distress in Wilton, CT, after her father passed away.

Kathryn Horvath writes of John Horvath: John was my dad. I lost him to malignant melanoma of the brain the day after Thanksgiving last year. He was all I had, being that I’m an only child, and my mom had died some years ago from MS. We had been cat people from long ago, before my mom got really sick, which was when we stopped having pets. When my dad passed, I was really lonely, and decided to adopt a cat. I found what I was looking for on your site and went for it. So I decided to give back to help the place that helped me heal a little bit.

[Kathryn adopted from Animals in Distress in Wilton, CT.] Katherine at AID suggested two cats that she’d been fostering — Goulie (the grey female) and Vinny (the tabby male). Both of them are middle-aged cats (7-ish years old). I went to AID’s shelter to meet with them. It was love at first sight! Vinny just came over for the loving. Katherine said that Goulie was very shy, but she came right up to me and kept rubbing and purring like a motor. Weirdly enough, Goulie is the spitting image of my first cat (even acts like her). The first thing she did when I let them out of their carriers was to walk over to the sofa where my dad always sat and park herself there. I think she was telling me she knew Dad was okay with me having them.

After the jump: Meet more guys who inspired readers to help homeless pets!


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Java “always had a smile on her face,” says her mom, Lisa Heirtzler.

Lisa Heirtzler writes of her dad, Carl Brandt: I made this donation in honor of our rescue dog, Java (pictured at right), whom we lost just this past Monday. Java was an important part of my dad’s life, as my parents always took care of her when we traveled.

My dad loves animals and for a number of years volunteered at ARF in Walnut Creek, CA. I thought one of the best ways to honor my dad’s special relationship with Java was to donate to Petfinder since we are both big supporters of animal rescue and adoption.

Lisa B. Schwartz writes of Barton Mix: Barton is my significant other and “Dad” to my dog and his dog. He loves animals and found his dog, Millie (the sweetest, gentlest dog I’ve ever met) on Petfinder. We do not have children so we honor each other on Mother’s and Father’s Day. When I received an email about donating to the Foundation in honor of Father’s Day, I thought, “How great!”

Lesley Darman writes of Jeff Darman: Jeff is my younger brother and he has always looked out for me. He has always had his own company which specializes in PR for the running world and was a previous president of the Road Runners Club of America. He has created races for many top corporations. Jeff is married to Patty Hillkirk, who runs her own camp for children suffering from the effects of HIV/AIDS. He loves animals, particularly cats, and has adopted many. I thought [donating] would be a nice way to honor him and help animals at the same time.

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Sammy and Billy, the Folla “Boyz”

Lois Folla writes of “the Folla Boyz”: The Folla Boyz are Perry, a Blue Tick Hound, and Wally and Marty, Beagles who loved their dad so very much. Each was an important part of our family during different times. They were loving, caring and sweet. We miss them very much. Currently we enjoy Billy Beagle, who is 8 years old, and Sammy Beagle, 9 years old (pictured at right). Billy and Sammy are our current children.


Penny Wilson writes of Criss Brown:
He is my father and a big animal lover. He has three dogs and two cats and helps me out with my two dogs sometimes.


Does someone in your life inspire you with their love of pets? Make a donation to the Petfinder Foundation in his or her honor. Want to learn more? Visit our website or sign up for our newsletter.

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