ON GOING RESCUE: Our team is on the ground in Brazil helping with rescue efforts. There are thousands of animals impacted by severe flooding. Donate to help save them.

Mission Possible: Afghanistan

ONE WEEK from now, the wheels go up on the most ambitious rescue SPCA International has ever undertaken.

We were founded in 2006 with a simple mission: To advance the safety and well-being of animals.

It’s no secret that honoring this mission can fill your heart one day and break it the next.

Today, as our rescue partners around the world prepare for this monumental flight to finally take place, we are proud to share the events and spotlight the many efforts that have set the stage for animal rescue history to be made.

August 2021:

In the chaotic days before NATO forces pulled out of Afghanistan, the team at Kabul Small Animal Rescue valiantly tackled the daunting task of trying to coordinate an evacuation of the 130 cats and dogs in their care.

As the situation became more tense, a passionate plea from KSAR founder, Charlotte Maxwell-Jones, went viral and triggered a response from multiple organizations (SPCAI included). With time running out, teams worked around the clock tapping every resource at their disposal. Despite everyone’s best efforts, hopes were dashed when, at the 11th hour, dogs were released to fend for themselves on the airport property; the cats, having never made it in, were brought back to the KSAR shelter and Charlotte was escorted back to her home.

We were all devastated, but we knew that these cats and dogs were still counting on us and we refused to give up.

Fall 2021:

Throughout the fall, helped by SPCAI donations (thank you!), KSAR was able to continue supporting the ongoing care of the animals and make efforts to rescue the dogs that had been released at the airport. While that took place, we worked relentlessly with Charlotte and our longstanding partner, War Paws, to formulate a new plan to evacuate the animals. With the US CDC suspension on canine imports from over 100 countries (Afghanistan included), we knew Canada would be our best option.

November 2021:

As winter loomed, a new coalition with War Paws, Marley’s Mutts, RainCoast Dog Rescue Society and Thank DOG I Am Out (TDIAO) was formed to set up a temporary facility in Vancouver, British Columbia, that could receive almost 300 animals still in KSAR’s care. This dedicated group worked non-stop, following strict guidelines, fully documenting every animal for import and setting up a facility that meets every regulation in record time.

January 2022:

We are proud to announce that after working day and night with our partners for the last two months, the facility is ready and we have a chartered plane booked to make the journey. Experienced staff and over 200 volunteers are on standby, a full-time veterinarian is under contract, and countless adopters and rescue organizations are lining up to give these animals the safe homes they deserve.

We cannot stress enough how challenging this process has been. How thankful we are to have incredible companies like Signature Flight Support, Modu-Loc, and King of Floors in our corner – it would have been impossible to do this without your support. But most importantly, it is animal lovers like YOU, making donations big and small, that have made this a reality. THANK YOU!

Next Week:

Our work won’t stop once the plane touches down in Vancouver. Our precious cargo of cats and dogs will require round-the-clock care as they embark on the next chapter of their lives here in North America. Please contact us for more information on how to volunteer, foster or adopt.

“Happily Ever After”

Writing fairytale endings for animals was what fueled our creation in 2006, and it’s what drives SPCA International today.

We are very proud of our role in this historic rescue and how far we’ve come as an organization – as always, your support makes it all possible. Thank you!


The Inside Scoop on Swell Dog Gelato with Founder Debbie Hendrickx

Founder of Swell Gelato, Debbie Hendrickx has been donating a portion of her proceeds to SPCA International for almost 2 years now. Her incredible generosity has helped hundreds of dogs in need.

We were recently able to steal Debbie away from her extremely busy gelato production schedule to sit down for a minute to give us the inside scoop on her passion for animals and what inspired this unique set of sweet treats for dogs.

What inspired you to start Swell Gelato?

When my 18 year career in fashion retail came to an end, I considered getting into the gelato ( for humans) business as I was already a passionate gelato maker for my family.  Contemplating that idea around in my head I kept reminding myself that this was also my now or never moment to do something that involved my biggest passion in life: dogs. The idea to merge the two together came to me in the middle of a sleepless night and as soon as I thought of it, I knew that it was perfect in every way.  I have always been fond of the word Swell ( magnificent, lovely, that which is neat) so as soon as the concept of artisan gelato for dogs was born there was no question what the name of the business would be. 

What do you love most about your work?

It is hard to say which makes me happier:  seeing the dogs’ eyes bliss over when they eat a Swell Gelato or seeing the owners beam when they see how happy their dogs are. You can just feel the love these people have for their dogs. It’s this swell merry-go-round of feel good and happy – and I absolutely love it.  Nowadays, I don’t have much time to attend events, but  I am grateful for social media where people post pictures of their happy dogs eating their Swell Gelato. It’s almost just as good as witnessing it live! 

How do you choose your new flavors and recipes?

I start by focusing on a flavor dogs love and then think of a combination of ingredients that work well with that flavor. The combination has to sound delicious to me ( I am the taste tester after all.) Once I have a general idea of my concept I figure out how to make that work with dog friendly ingredients, while keeping certain fat and sugar content proportions in mind that are required for successful artisan gelato making. I try to incorporate turmeric, ginger and cinnamon wherever I can as they have such great overall benefits for dogs and humans alike. I know I got it right when the gelato makes up beautiful in my gelato machine and is equally delicious to me and my panel of dog taste testers.  

Which flavors are vegan? 

All are vegetarian but most use honey for a sweetener. The one that is 100% vegan is the Sweet Potato Molasses and it’s a favorite! 

A true labor of love, learn why Debbie is still (even with major expansion) dedicated to making each Swell Dog Gelato by hand.

Why did you decide to donate to help animals around the world through SPCA International?

I knew as soon as I started that I wanted to give back to dogs in need. In the beginning I donated to several smaller local rescues and operations, but it became really challenging for me to choose whom to fund as they all were such great causes so the donations ended up being fragmented. I knew that I could do more good by choosing one bigger organization that could put the money towards wherever it was needed most.

Where can I get Swell Gelato for my furry pal? 

You can find Swell Gelato on the East and West Coasts, while expansion throughout the rest of the country is next.

Swell Dog Gelato is widely available in grocery stores, pet supply stores and gelato shops in the following states: Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Be sure to grab your pup some Swell Gelato at a store near you! Feel good knowing you’re treating your pet, supporting a woman-owned business and helping animals around the world – all at the same time!

Grab your Compassion Bandana at Blueberry Pet & Support SPCA International

SPCA International is proud to announce our new partnership with Blueberry Pet; a brand created for pet lovers by pet lovers. Blueberry Pet offers pet accessories featuring charming designs that celebrate the partnership between animals and humans. Thanks to their love of furry friends across the globe, Blueberry Pet is dedicated to giving back a portion of their profits to the animal care community.

SPCAI and Blueberry Pet recently teamed up to create the Compassion set, featuring a specially designed pattern with a brightly colored sun, leaves, and the word “Compassion.” The set includes a bandana, a classic scrunchie and a bow scrunchie, letting you team up with your pet to spread compassion everywhere.

In an effort to bring the global community together, the set showcases the word compassion in 12 different languages including: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Malay.

The design, partly inspired by the global pandemic, aims to spread the message that homeless animals around the world deserve love and a better life. In that spirit, Blueberry Pet is donating a portion of proceeds from every Compassion set sold to SPCA International.

Together we share the same vision; to improve the welfare of street animals, educate the public on the importance of adoption, and to ultimately end animal cruelty. Simply put we could not do the work we do —day in, day out to help animals across the world — without your support! We appreciate your compassion for animals.

COVID-19: What We Know

By Meredith Ayan, Executive Director

I hope you are staying safe and healthy while we navigate the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Here at SPCA International, we are in constant communication with officials, shelter partners and rescue organizations. They are keeping us abreast of the latest developments in Asia, Europe, Latin America and here in North America.  

People all over the world are stepping up to make sure animals stay safe during this crisis. In many countries, people are restricted from moving between their homes and workplaces, so shelter staff and volunteers are living at shelters to care for animals. However, animals continue to be at risk, mostly because of food shortages.

Over the past few weeks, many shelters have contacted us for help. They are scattered across the globe, but their stories are eerily similar. Stores are closing, food shipments are delayed, people don’t know if they’ll be allowed to go out to buy more food when they need it. Everyone is hustling to make sure they can feed the animals in their care during this crisis.  

Unfortunately, animals not in the care of animal welfare groups are at extremely high risk. We have reports from our partners that dogs in China are being killed indiscriminately and pets are being abandoned on the streets of Italy due to unfounded fears. Pets are being left behind when their owners pass away unexpectedly. Animal welfare groups are doing their best to respond to each of these emergency situations and save as many animals as possible while facing an uncertain future themselves.

As this situation unfolds, we’re continuing to monitor animal welfare across the globe and step in where we can help. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have been able to earmark $100,000 for animal welfare groups affected by the COVID-19 crisis. 

We know the global COVID-19 crisis is far from over, and there are many unknowns, so we remain committed to helping animal welfare groups meet new and unique challenges as they arise.

Please, stay safe and healthy during this difficult time.

If you’d like to help us continue to provide vital support to shelters and animals around the world in this most challenging time : 

Military Rescues Affected by COVID-19

Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide has been rescuing dogs and cats befriended by U.S. military members serving overseas since 2008. We have navigated some incredibly difficult situations in unstable regions.

We’ve had to find alternate routes out of countries at war and move animals through dangerous checkpoints. However, we’ve never before been confronted with something like the current COVID-19 crisis.

As borders close and international flights are canceled, our team is bringing dogs and cats to the U.S. as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we know some will be stuck for weeks or months while we wait for travel to resume.

These animals are caught in limbo. As they waited for routine travel clearances, the situation changed drastically. Now, we don’t know when they’ll be able to travel.

Currently, 19 cats and 11 dogs are on our waiting list to travel to the U.S. Caring for them during this crisis is already proving challenging.

Nearly every location where we are caring for dogs and cats is experiencing difficulties. Here are just a few examples:

  • In Iraq, our staff had to secure a special permit for a veterinarian to travel across the city to provide vaccines to the dogs in our care.
  • In Poland, a carefully orchestrated rescue flight was canceled just two days before it was set to depart.
  • In Jordan, two cats are stuck in a boarding facility where a staff member is now living on site to care for them during the shutdown.
  • In The Philippines, several dogs and cats have been stuck since early February.

We’ll continue to provide these animals love and care while their soldiers anxiously wait for travel to resume.

Here are a few of the sweethearts whose travel plans have been put on standby:

If you’d like to help us continue to provide vital support to shelters and animals around the world in this most challenging time:

COVID-19 Safety

For up-to-date information on how to keep yourself and family safe please refer to the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control.

Please refer to the EPA list of approved cleaning products to ensure that your cleaning products can kill COVID-19 and properly disinfect surfaces. Remember to read the label and follow the approved contact time for your products.

Check out SPCA International’s disaster kit essentials to help prepare your pets for emergency situations.

Veterinary professionals should refer to the American Veterinary Medical Association for guidance during this time.

Use Petfinder.com to find a shelter in your area that you can support through adoption, fostering or food donations.

Remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm soapy water. Here are some songs that will help you time yourself.

If you would like to help us continue to provide vital support to shelters and animals around the world in this most challenging time: 

COVID-19 Crisis Felt Across the Globe

The speed and severity of the COVID-19 crisis has come as a shock to many. As schools and businesses close, daily life is affected everywhere, including animal shelters. Here at SPCA International, we continue to receive requests for help from shelter and rescue partners across the globe. Their need is critical and urgent.

Thanks to many generous SPCA International supporters, we have been able to earmark $100,000 for grants specifically for the COVID-19 crisis response. We have already authorized grants to the following organizations:

  • Plushbear (Baicheng, China) – This shelter makes their own dog kibble, so funds will help them buy the ingredients they need to feed the dogs in their care.
  • K9 Global Rescue (Jeonju, South Korea) – This organization rescues dogs from the dog meat trade and finds them adoptive homes in the U.S. They can’t transport the dogs right now, so funds will help shelter, feed and provide veterinary care until the dogs can travel to their new homes.
  • SPCA Italia (Ardea, Italy) – This rescue organization has a special permit from the Italian police to rescue the many dogs and cats that are being abandoned on the streets amid the COVID-19 crisis. Funds will help them continue rescuing and caring for animals.
  • Animal House Jamaica (Lydford, Jamaica) – This shelter relies on food donations from the surrounding hotels to feed the 200 dogs in their care. With hotel operations halted, they now have to buy kibble. Funds will support the cost of buying food to last for two months.
  • Rifugio Jill Phipps (Asti, Italy) – This refuge organization shelters animals that have been saved from slaughter, including farm animals. They are having difficulty accessing food during the COVID-19 crisis, so funds will help them act quickly to buy food when it is available.
  • Unidad Proteccion Animal in the Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) – This organization is facing food shortages and store closures. Funds will help them purchase enough food to last until normal supply chains are functioning again.
  • Vucjak Shelter (Kragujevac, Serbia) – This shelter is faced with a food shortage as EU borders close. Funds will help them buy enough food to survive this crisis.

We’ll be sending many more grants to organizations like these in the coming weeks.  If you know of a shelter affected by the COVID-19 crisis, please have them contact us.

As we all feel the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, it is important to remember to keep the furry members of our families and communities safe as well. If you are looking for ways to help, here are just a few:

  • Contact your local animal shelter to ask what they need. Many are seeking extra food donations or short-term foster care for animals.
  • Make a donation to your local animal shelter or to SPCA International and we’ll get it to a shelter in need.
  • Keep yourself and your family safe by following local recommendations. By staying healthy, you’ll be able to care for your family members and pets.

Educate yourself and verify information sources. Remember, according to the World Health Organization dogs and cats can’t spread COVID-19 to humans.

If you would like to help us continue to provide vital support to shelters and animals around the world in this most challenging time :