Longtime Shelter Dog Helps SPCA in Briarcliff Obtain $10G Grant

The SPCA of Westchester not only helped pair dozens of dogs and cats with families looking for pets last weekend, the no-kill shelter was rewarded for its efforts in making life better for one dog in particular.

From left, Marshall Morris, co-founder of iHeartDogs, Denise Bash, representing Greater Good, and SPCA of Westchester Executive Director Shannon Laukhuf, hold an oversized $10,000 check as volunteers and Crosby, lower left, look on. Crosby, who has lived at the shelter for more than three years, helped the SPCA get recognized and be named one of three iHeartDogs’ three grant recipients this year.

Last Thursday, two days before the annual nationwide Clear the Shelters pet adoption campaign, the SPCA of Westchester received a $10,000 grant from Greater Good, a national nonprofit organization that supports people, pets and the environment, and iHeartDogs, a nationwide group whose mission is to find all dogs homes.

“I think this will go a long way in helping a lot of animals become adoptable,” said Shannon Laukhuf, executive director of the SPCA of Westchester. “We’re thrilled. We’re so honored.”

The Briarcliff Manor-based animal shelter was one of just three shelters across the United States to receive the grant, said Marshall Morris, co-founder of iHeartDogs, Shelters in Philadelphia and Los Angeles also received the grant, he said.

It caught iHeartDogs’ attention when Morris and others learned of the plight of Crosby, a brown American Staffordshire Terrier, who is the SPCA of Westchester’s longest resident. Laukhuf said Crosby has called the shelter home for more than three years, about half of his life.

Morris and Denise Bash of GreaterGood.org presented Laukhuf with an oversized version of the check last week surrounded by some of the SPCA’s more than 300 volunteers. Morris, who pledged last week to get Crosby adopted, said the SPCA submitted a grant application to become eligible for the money.

“We’ve partnered with them before and we felt that this was a great group of people, dedicated and hardworking, and we just wanted to honor them,” Morris said. “We also saw Crosby come in and we’re going to find him a home today.”

Laukhuf said the inability for Crosby to be paired with an owner was largely because of separate anxiety issues that he had developed. Crosby had been adopted as a puppy and spent about the first three years of his life with owners who would frequently travel and leave him alone for long periods of time, she said.

To counter that, it would be preferable for his new owner to work from home or have the ability to frequently accompany him, said Laukhuf.

“That’s our hope, that all of this awareness will turn into a great home for him,” Laukhuf said. “He’s an amazing dog.”

She said the money will be used to support two of the SPCA of Westchester’s programs: the Lonely Hearts Program that helps the shelter’s longer-term residents and Mend a Friend, for animals that may need special medical procedures to be returned to good health.

The SPCA of Westchester has been a local participant in the Clear the Shelters campaign each summer for the last five years, participating locally with WNBC. The organization also receives supplies donated by the Animal Rescue Site. Clear the Shelters is spearheaded nationally by NBC and Telemundo-owned stations across the country.

Since 2015, Clear the Shelters has helped more than 250,000 animals covering all types of pets find new homes.



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