Bucket’s Biscuits Gives Back

Bucket was found as a pup on the side of the road by a soldier on patrol in Iraq. He brought her to base and started caring for her. He even built a dog run where she could safely play. Bucket got her name from the improvised cone she wore after being spayed in Iraq. A bucket with the bottom cut out kept her from biting her stitches.

The soldier who rescued Bucket couldn’t imagine leaving her behind and reached out to SPCA International for help transporting her to Texas. Rescued in 2015, Bucket is one of hundreds of animals rescued over the years through SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide program.

Now, years later, Bucket is the inspiration and mascot for “Bucket’s Biscuits”. Bucket’s family says she is a bit of a diva and her picky eating habits inspired these small-batch, homemade, wholesome and yummy dog treats. Bucket’s Biscuits are Bucket taste-tested and approved. Even better, 5% of proceeds are being donated to SPCA International!

Bucket’s mom tells us, “she is a dog full of personality who enriches our life in many ways. Bucket’s routine makes each day brighter. I enjoy watching her chase squirrels every morning (not well, I might add), seeing her excitedly greet me every time I return home (even if it’s only been 2 minutes apart), and sitting patiently next to me while I make my dog treats, waiting for one to drop. Life without Bucket is hard to imagine.”

Bucket’s Biscuits can be found at farmer’s markets and special events in the Virginia Beach area, but they are also available for shipping throughout the U.S.. These wholesome treats are made with whole-wheat flour, organic peanut butter, pure pumpkin, chicken broth, cinnamon, turmeric, and bacon grease.

Bucket’s family is committed to spreading the word about SPCA International because they hope to help rescue other animals for other soldiers who fall in love with a stray pup they can’t turn away from.

A huge thank you to Bucket and her family for paying it forward to other soldiers and rescued animals by supporting SPCA International.

Get your paws on Bucket’s Biscuits today!

Impact in Liberia

SPCA International exists to leverage the generosity of donors to reach some of the most at risk and in need animals in the world. Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society is a perfect example of the impact our North America supporters can have in developing countries.

In Liberia, where most people live on under $2 per day, the costs of vaccines and veterinary care for pets can be painfully out of reach, which is why funds donated through SPCA International go so far. Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society’s village-to-village veterinary program provides vaccines, wound care, food and other basic veterinary attention to ensure pets are as safe and healthy as possible. 

Animal welfare is a fairly new concept in Liberia, so the organization has paired their assistance programs with a community education approach that engages school children through “Animal Kindness Clubs”. These clubs operate in over 40 schools and create opportunities for children to discover their innate passion and love for animals, and how to care for pets.

Liberia Animal Welfare and Conservation Society has proudly been serving communities since 2000, has persevered through COVID-19. SPCA International is thrilled to count this organization as a key partner. 

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!

Lola and Champ Safe in SPCA International Care

Lola and Champ are just two of dozens of Operation Baghdad Pups: Worldwide animals who are safe in our care and awaiting transportation to the U.S. Rescuing dogs and cats for soldiers stationed overseas may seem simple, but it is a complex process that involves many caring people and lots of red tape.

These rescued pets are passed from soldiers to our in-country staff and partners to begin the vaccination and travel clearance process. From there, SPCA International navigates the many complex requirements of bringing dogs and cats from overseas into the U.S.

Champ is the three-legged pup whose soldier was unexpectedly ordered back to the U.S. in December. Thankfully, he is in our care and awaiting transportation. His original travel plans fell through, but we are exploring pet transportation company and flight volunteer options, both of which have become more complicated with COVID-19 restrictions and requirements.

Lola is the sweet little puppy that was found all alone by soldiers on patrol. As a young pup, Lola had to wait for certain vaccinations required for travel to the U.S. She’s nearly ready and her travel arrangements are being made for March.

Thank you to everyone who is supporting the rescue missions of Lola and Champ. Here at SPCA International, we are anxious to get them to the U.S. and we know you are looking forward to receiving that news too. In the meantime, rest assured, these pups and others are safe, loved and cared for as they await reunification with their soldiers.

Elena’s Incredible Recovery

Thanks to an outpouring of support from the SPCA International community, Elena has made a remarkable recovery. Donations from many generous people were rushed to Elena’s caregivers, allowing them to give her the constant care and attention she needed to survive.

Before her rescue, Elena suffered as no animal ever should. After being kept on a short chain for many months, she was thrown out to fend for herself. Always hungry, she searched the streets for food. Elena approached locals, looking for a kind gesture, and was often met with painful kicks and stones.

Then, someone horrifically set fire to Elena and her pups. Tragically, only Elena survived the attack. She was found starving, burned and barely alive. She mourned the loss of her babies and had little will to live.

Today, Elena is confident, playful and trusting. Her hair is growing back, she is healthy, and amazingly, she still loves people. Elena is ready for a new life with a family that will love and care for her in the ways that she has always deserved.

If you want to give Elena a loving home, please visit SPCA International’s adoption page.

January: Walk Your Pet Month

A commitment to pet walking seems particularly important this January as COVID-19 continues to affect our daily lives. Recognizing Walk Your Pet Month doesn’t take much, as simply taking a trip around the block will make humans and furry friends feel better.

A few things to keep in mind for winter walking

  • Know your route: A few minutes in cold weather is usually ok for people and pets, but inadvertently taking longer than planned can leave everyone cold and uncomfortable. Plan your route ahead of time so you can get home before fingers and paws start to freeze!
  • Wear proper attire: Winter gear like gloves, a hat, and an insulated coat are important for people, but pets also might need help staying warm. Consider a sweater or coat for short-haired animals. Even if your pet has plenty of fur, they may benefit from booties to keep their paws safe from ice and packed snow. 
  • Consider daylight: If you are just starting a winter walking routine, keep in mind that daylight ends early this time of year. As the sun sets, temperatures drop, meaning what begins as a pleasant stroll can quickly become a chilly, dark trek. Morning and midday walks are likely the best choice, ensuring you stay safe and get the maximum amount of vitamin D.

With short days, cold temperatures and COVID-19 restrictions, this winter might feel like a good time to stay inside, but the benefits of a daily walk with a furry pal are undeniable. Pet walking is a great way to exercise and a wonderful excuse to spend socially distanced time with a friend.

Happy walking from all of us at SPCA International. We’ll be taking our pets around the block and hope you will too!

The Longest Ride Home

Amidst COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, a loving family had to leave their dogs, Patches and Flower, behind in Malawi when they moved to Uganda. They were absolutely heartbroken, but our friends at TAWESO (Tanzania Animal Welfare Society) were able to come to their rescue.  

Tanzania lies between Malawi and Uganda, so the team from TAWESO picked up the dogs in the South of Tanzania. They traveled for three days (and 2,000 kilometers) to safely deliver the dogs to the northern border with Uganda. From there, the dogs were reunited with their delighted family.

The wonderful people at TAWESO didn’t even know the dogs’ family before volunteering to help. We are thrilled that TAWESO was able to use the truck they purchased with support from SPCA International to make this long trek across the country.

TAWESO’s mission is to keep animals safe and healthy in Tanzania, but they truly went above and beyond by sharing their resources to make sure Patches and Flower made it to their new home safely. This is an incredible example of the type of collaboration we have seen throughout the pandemic. Animal welfare groups across the globe have stepped up to help animals in any way they can.  

Patches and Flower reunited with their family!
Image courtesy of TAWESO

2020 – A Year Like No Other

As 2020 comes to a close, we are reflecting on a year that has been anything but ordinary. From raging forest fires to a devastating pandemic, challenges have abounded. Throughout all of the turmoil, our SPCA International community has offered unwavering support. 

We are immensely grateful for the generosity shown by many compassionate and caring individuals, like you, who have continued to give this year. We know how important it is to you that your donations reach the animal rescue and shelter groups that need them the most. Thank you for trusting us with your generosity.

With the support of our SPCA International community…

A special rescue flight brought 30 pandemic-stranded battle buddy pets out of the Middle East and delivered them to their soldiers’ homes in the U.S.

Thanks to $200,000 in donated funds, dozens of kangaroos, koalas and other animals were rescued from the Australian bushfires.

Hundreds of units of medicine and medical supplies were provided for hurt and suffering animals across the globe.

Over 55,000 bowls of food were poured for hungry cats and dogs and $165,000 in COVID relief funding was provided to shelters in need.

This year, animals around the world have needed our help more than ever. Thank you to everyone who made all of this incredible work possible by supporting SPCA International.

Jack the Kangaroo Returns to the Wild

Jack the kangaroo came to Bluebush Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in rough shape. He had been caught up in the Australian bushfires and his feet, tail and ears had suffered painful burns. Jack should have still been with his mother, but she was nowhere to be found.

Thanks to an outpouring of support from the SPCA International community, Jack received the best possible care and rehab. Today, Jack is thriving. He is learning to live on his own in the wild with a group of other young kangaroos.

September 27th

October 1st

A week after the gate was opened, Jack was seen exploring his surroundings on the motion camera.

November 10, 2020

Jack came for an afternoon visit.  

November 10, 2020

Battle Buddy Home at Last in Snowy Montana

Like so many other deployed U.S. soldiers, Army Officer Stephen couldn’t look away when he saw a helpless dog in need. Baby was scared and timid, but Officer Stephen earned her trust, and they became constant companions. With military regulations prohibiting Baby from traveling with him, Officer Stephen turned to SPCA International for help getting her safely to his home.

Now, Baby is bounding through the snowdrifts in Officer Stephen’s backyard and has a long, happy future ahead of her. Officer Stephen is thrilled to have Baby home with his family in Montana, thanks to the amazing support of the SPCA International community.