Wrinkles came in scared, thin, with barely a hair on his entire little body. Wrinkles suffered from a severe case of demodectic mange, a noncontagious mite that resides in the hair follicle of the skin. Like many of the pets that come through the doors of The Animal League, Wrinkles was treated for his condition with antibiotics and medicated baths, vaccinated and de-wormed. “Wrinkles is just one of hundreds of dogs and cats in our care that we help every day,” says Doreen Barker, The Animal League President. “His eyes were so sad…like he had given up hope—and he was only a four-month-old puppy! Pets like Wrinkles really tug at our heart strings.” But Wrinkle’s twist of fate was granted the day when Doreen received a call asking if The Animal League could assist. “Sadly, we are seeing many cases of pets in need of veterinary care and their owners waiting until the pet’s condition is severe. Then the owners feel compelled to surrender their pet because they can’t afford treatment. We know it is time for our organization to address community issues such as this proactively.”
Understanding the need for affordable veterinary services, not only for their own organization, but for the public and other rescue groups in the area, The Animal League has taken a bold step in addressing issues in our community such as pet overpopulation, affordable care, and community cats, by opening the Animal League Wellness Center at 32721 Radio Road in Leesburg. Serving the animals of Lake County and beyond, The Animal League, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) has been a pillar of the community when it comes to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing pets since 1988. This year, the organization rescued more than 1,350 pets and has had to rely on outside veterinarian support to assist with medical cases.
Support in the way of grant funding from outside agencies has been instrumental in helping The Animal League work toward opening the doors with minimal financial burden to the organization. Franklin’s Friends, a nonprofit whose mission is to fundraise for Central Florida animal welfare agencies, generously contributed $10,000 to The Animal League. “Spay/neuter is one of the three pillars of animal welfare that Franklin’s Friends strives to support.” says Dr. Monisha Seth, President. “We are thrilled to grant the funds to furnish the surgical suite at The Animal League’s new low-cost veterinary clinic so they can provide services to our community.”
Christmas also came early to the organization with word that The Animal League is also a recipient of a $55,000 grant from the Petco Foundation, a foundation that invests in adoption and medical care programs, spay and neuter services, pet cancer research, service and therapy animals, and numerous other lifesaving initiatives. “We are immensely grateful to Petco Foundation” says Barker. “This funding is a game-changer and will allow us to focus on opening the doors with minimal expenses on our end.” The Animal League has been a long-time adoption partner with the Petco Foundation and has formed strong ties with the Petco located in Clermont. In 2013, the Petco Foundation awarded the organization a grant for a mobile transport vehicle; now known as the WOof (Wings of Freedom) Bus.
What happened with Wrinkles? “His story has a fairy tale ending!” says Barker. “After spending two months receiving medical care for his skin condition in our Loos Recovery Center, a family with three little girls who saved up their allowance, came in and paid his adoption fee with all the change they had in their piggy bank. They love him to pieces and he adores them. We hope every pet that comes to our organization has this type of happy ending and we can’t wait to help more pets like Wrinkles in the future.”