Gainesville Family Wins $10,000 for Local Pet Rescue Foundation

| December 3, 2017 | 0 Comments | Community

Family: (top row L-R) Lynette, Brynlee, Carson; (bottom row) Lincoln, Dan, Zero and Millie; Forever Home Rescue Foundation Vice President Judy Kautter; volunteers Stacy King, Mary Taylor Mattox; Petco NoVa District Leader Scott Wisors; and fosters Crystal and Vickie Owens.

A Gainesville family won a $10,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to go towards rescue dogs in need.

The Loveridges won the Petco Holiday Wishes Grant for their favorite animal organization, A Forever Home Rescue Foundation, by sharing their story of how their rescue dog Zero helped their middle school son overcome bullying.

The personal essay was one of 52 chosen out of thousands of entries. As such, A Forever Home Rescue Foundation also qualifies for a $25,000 Petco’s “People’s Choice” Grant and their $100,00 national grand prize.

The $10,000 will go towards a reputable Northern Virginia Rescue organization. A Forever Home Rescue Foundation has rescued thousands of dogs from around the county. Many come directly from kill shelters and disaster relief efforts.

The story of how the family met and adopted the three-legged Jack-Terrier Mix Zero is a compelling one. Lynette was never a dog person. She suffered from animal allergies, and having four children under the age of 13, kept her pretty busy.

However, when her son Carson entered middle school and became the target of bullying, she reconsidered. Lynette witnessed Carson’s mood decline and searched for various ways to help him. While people at his school were very helpful, she started to think outside the box.

“I never wanted a dog. I didn’t like dogs, but I got in in my head that maybe we needed a dog,” she said.

She visited Petco when A Forever Home Rescue Foundation was hosting one of its foster events and decided to foster a dog for a short period to see if it was a good fit for the family.

After fostering one dog, Lynette and her husband Dan decided to look more seriously into become pet owners. They took all four kids to a fostering event at Petco in Chantilly, and the family instantly felt a connection with Zero, a five-month old orphan recovering from an amputated limb.

Zero was a rescue who overcame adversity. At three months old, he was found on the side of the highway in Florida after being hit by a car. A vet tech took him to the animal hospital where a doctor performed emergency surgery, removing one of his back legs.

The tech contacted A Forever Home Rescue Foundation and had him transported to Northern Virginia where the foundations work quickly to find the pup a good home.

When the Loveridges met Zero at The Petco in Chantilly, it was love at first sight. He playfully bit at them and looked at them with bashful eyes. They decided to take him home, and the dog instantly became one of their family, bringing boundless joy and energy into the house.

Zero definitely had a positive effect on Carson’s mood, cheering him up and helping to rebuild his confidence.

“There’s something about the dog. He’s always there for him. He’s always happy to see him,” Lynette said.

“It’s unwavering loyalty. He’ll lay next to him on the bed, just someone to talk to,” Dan said.

Carson agreed that Zero made a difference in his life when he needed him most.

“He definitely gave me a sense of who really loves me, and he’s always happy to see me,” Carson said.

The confidence spilled over into the classroom, and Carson is now doing well as an 8th grade student at Reagan Middle School.

After this experience, Lynette proudly admits she is now a dog person and cannot say enough good things about having a family dog. “I really have to eat my words,” she said.

At an award ceremony, the morning of Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Chantilly Petco, Pattie Stinson, liaison for A Forever Home Rescue Foundation, accepted the $10,000 check on the foundation’s behalf.

Stinson started the rescue with her sister Carmen Cline and her husband, Ken, after believing they could run a more organized foster organization than the ones they volunteered for in the past.

Once it gained momentum, they literally receive hundreds of requests for fostering each day, and they take as many dogs as they can. The foundation spends an average of $30,000 per month on medical bills for the pets, so they are always in need of donations.

Lynette Loveridge’s face lights up when talking about Zero.

The foundation encouraged the Loveridges to share their story with the Petco Holiday Wish Contest. Now, she encourages people to vote for Zero’s story so that FHR foundation can win the “People’s Choice” national prize of $25,000, which would go far to help dog in need of rescuing.

However, other good news may be in the works for FHR Foundation. They are in discussions with a network to produce a reality show based upon the rescue, which Stinson said would bring an incredible amount of visibility to the foundation. The immediate goal is rescue more animals and afford their medical needs.

However, they would also like a location in which to temporarily house the animals and a shelter that would provide a comfortable and active home for dogs who are not adopted. A boarding service would pay for the dogs who lived full-time at the shelter.

In the meantime, A Forever Home Rescue Foundation is seeking donations and people who are willing to foster and/or adopt their dogs.

Readers can help Zero and Forever Home Rescue Foundation win the People’s Choice $25,000 Grant by visiting The Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes Webpage, or directly via the Petco Foundation Facebook page.

Read the story of Zero in the family’s own words.

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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