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Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

What if you were forced to choose which pet to keep, and which pet to give up; whether to pay the electric bill or for heartworm prevention medicine?

–by Anna Cooke

A grant for $2,000 was presented to Fairy Tail Endings of Sarasota earlier this year, thanks to the BISSELL Pet Foundation (BPF). The money will be used to support the organization’s local efforts to subsidize low-cost spay/neuter services for the public. Fairy Tail Endings, Inc. is a 501(c) non-profit organization dedicated to helping financially struggling families in Sarasota and Manatee counties keep their pets. By help- ing to provide proper care through financial aid, product and service donations, education and outreach, the organization has helped more than 230 pets since incorporating in 2010. BPF has granted more than

$1.1 million in support to animal shelters and rescues in 45 states and the District of Columbia since its inception in 2011. More than 72 percent of these funds helped provide access to steriliza- tion services for the public's pets, preventing countless unwanted litters from becoming the next generation of homeless animals. Award decisions are made by the BPF Grant Review

time is spending it in the countryside with the dogs at Satchel’s Last Resort, a rescue and sanctuary in Sarasota county. Realizing that pets are often among the first casualties in a

Meet Max, one of the more than 230 pets

helped by Fairy Tail Endings. Photograph by Cully Miller.

financial crisis, Rhys created Fairy Tail Endings to help those fam- ilies struggling to keep their pets. “Pet parents already struggling to afford routine veterinary care, often feel forced to choose between surrender, euthanasia and neglect when faced with additional financial hardships or the escalating costs associated with a senior or special-needs pet,” said Rhys. “Many of these struggling pet owners have reached out for resource assis- tance. Fairy Tail Endings has taken leadership in this call to action to address this growing need, serving people within our community,” she added. It is easy to think that we

Committee, consisting of individuals who have dedicated years to animal welfare. The Committee’s experience provides a familiarity with the needs of, and an incredible passion for, the animal welfare community. BPF is strongly committed to reducing the number of pets in shelters and ensuring that funds are used to directly care for pets in need. Cathy Bissell, a devoted pet lover and animal advocate, estab-

lished BPF to address the growing problem of displaced, unwant- ed and homeless pets. The foundation provides assistance to shelter and rescue programs, while helping create awareness about pet overpopulation. “Promoting responsible pet ownership through education has

always been an important part of our mission,” said Rhys Miller, President of Fairy Tail Endings. “Before we approve veterinary care for an unaltered pet, the owner must agree to have them spayed or neutered. Once healthy, we refer these pets to several local clinics. But, sometimes our clients are unable to afford even a low-cost surgery. This grant from BISSELL Pet Foundation will enable us to fund spay and neuters for dozens of pets, protecting our investment in their long-term health and keeping unwanted offspring from ending up in shelters.” Rhys, who has been in the shelter industry for more than 13

years, is a tireless advocate for animal health and well-being. She has dedicated her free time to volunteering at local animal sanctu- aries, welfare groups and spay/neuter programs. Her idea of a good


would never give up or neglect our beloved pets. But, what if they needed care we could not afford? The Sarasota/Manatee area is suf- fering from one of the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates in Florida, as well as having one of the highest senior population numbers in the country. Rhys realized that the most common rea- sons for surrendering a pet were increasingly a reflection of the economy rather than personal convenience or even pet behavior. Several area animal shelters have responded by creating low-

cost spa/neuter/vaccine clinics and/or pet food banks. But none had programs in place to aid needy pet owners with non-routine veterinary care. “Nearly half or our non-emergency cases are referred to us

directly by these other agencies,” said Rhys. “To me, that serves as evidence of the gap in services that Fairy Tail Endings fills for our community.” U


BISSELL Homecare, Inc. has committed up to $250,000 annually in donations to the BISSELL Pet Foundation based on

pet product sales. For every BISSELL pet product sold on, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the founda- tion. Purchases made in-store may also be activated online at

To make a donation to, or for more information on Fariy Tail Endings – Visit: or email

Satchel’s Last Resort Animal Shelter & Sanctuary 8101 Coash Road, Sarasota. 941.924.5070

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