As we’ve navigated so many challenges this past year, the concept of synergy has become paramount. The reality that we are all in this together—that while the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, it intrinsically depends on each piece—has been both unavoidable and reaffirming. Community collaboration is at the heart of the Animal Aid Cares Fund, and so it seems only fitting that two of our more recent appeals would so plainly exemplify this message.
Sullivan “Sully” Keller
In September of 2019, we received a grant application from our veterinary behavior and training partner, Synergy Behavior Solutions. We started working with Synergy for our Cares Fund in 2018, as part of an expansion of the program to explicitly include financial aid for behavioral needs. For those who have navigated behavioral challenges with a companion animal, it’ll come as no surprise that these situations are just as critical, urgent, and life-altering as any medical circumstance. Whereas a number of medical conditions can be addressed in one or several veterinary visits, behavior modification is truly a lifelong endeavor, making it all the more important that guardians dedicated to helping their animals have the support they need to make it possible.
In this particular case, assistance came in the form of the skilled training team at Synergy and a grant from the Cares Fund. The grantee? Sullivan Keller, a corgi born with microphthalmia, a medical condition that results in an animal having extremely small eyes, or, as in Sully’s case, none at all. Sully is partially deaf as well, and these circumstances make the world a less predictable and at times quite challenging place for him to navigate. As a result, over time he developed reactivity, aggression, and impulse control issues. But then Sully got lucky: Through the support of his devoted parents (and furry siblings Welles and Briggs), the knowledgeable staff at Synergy, and your contributions to the Animal Aid Cares Fund, Sully made tremendous progress over the next year in training to become a more relaxed, self-assured, adventurous canine. “We are so thankful to have received the grant from Animal Aid to help fund Sullivan’s training,” his mom shared. “Synergy Behavior Solutions truly changed our lives and helped shape Sully into the happy and confident pup he is today!” Sully’s family was so inspired by their transformative experience that they even went on to “paw it forward” in order to assist another companion animal in need.
In February of this year, when fellow nonprofit MP3 Farms Pet Sanctuary needed to put the skip back in the step of one of their residents, help came in the form of a timely Synergy grant. Synergy grants were incorporated as a wing of the Cares Fund in 2015, with the aim of assisting other animal welfare organizations to help establish a stronger network of support across our community. Like all components of the Cares Fund, these grants are focused on keeping companion animals in their homes with the people they love.
MP3 is a small, rural sanctuary that takes in neglected or injured birds, dogs, and horses, commonly with extensive rehabilitation timelines. Based on our own experience with our Heartstrings program, we know that the financial cost to care for special needs animals can be daunting at times. In this case, MP3 needed a helping hand for Clyde, an injured pittie awaiting a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO) procedure and feeling pretty miserable in the meantime.
Folks familiar with these ligament tears are no doubt aware that they cost thousands of dollars to repair. In the thick of the pandemic and with several medically needy animals, MP3 was struggling to raise the money, and Clyde’s surgery had already been postponed from January to March in the hope that extra time would produce a surplus of funds. While we knew that a Synergy grant could help, the truly heartwarming twist is how supporters like you answered the call to match our donation, and with that, fully funded Clyde’s operation. Today, Clyde has two great knees, one big goofy smile, and he is literally making new strides every day at the sanctuary, all pain-free thanks to your contribution to the Cares Fund and to building a community that bands together.
We believe that synergy is demonstrated throughout each step of the Cares Fund process. It begins as soon as you choose to entrust Animal Aid with your donation for the welfare of animals throughout the community—your neighbors. It’s carried on when we share those funds among our veterinary, training, and rescue partners to assist their clients—your friends and coworkers. It comes to fruition in that very first moment that an animal is free from pain after a dental operation, or cancer-free following a tumor removal, or less fearful of loud noises and free to be themselves through positive reinforcement training, or any of the endless second chances your support of this program makes possible for the people and pets all around you.
P.S. We know from the many calls and emails we receive that the need for medical and behavioral financial assistance continues to grow in our community. If you’re able, please consider becoming a monthly donor to the Animal Aid Cares Fund to help us continue to grow this community resource.