Holiday Heroes: Build, Climb, Fly and Work to Save Animals 😊

Greetings and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! This week, Dr. Pet Mom is taking a break from conducting interviews. I discovered some organizations that help homeless pets in different ways.

This week’s Holiday Heroes are a unique group of animal lovers. These organizations are special because they:

  • Build shelters for animals
  • Climb trees to rescue cats
  • Fly into disaster areas
  • Provide pet care for overcrowded animal shelters
  • Work to end puppy mills

I did not get a chance to interview all these special animal lovers. But Dr. Pet Mom’s pet parent community should know about their good works to help animals.

Meet this week’s Holiday Heroes!


At Rescue Rebuild, Hammers and Nails for Happy Tails is their motto. Rescue Rebuild is a shelter renovation program that recruits volunteers from all over the country to help shelters in need.

Rescue Rebuild makes animal shelters more adoption-friendly by creating spaces that are engaging and enriching for both pets and people. Renovation projects include:

  • Play yards & agility
  • Kennel installations & repairs
  • Free-roaming cat rooms & outdoor enclosures
  • Shelter makeovers

Since 2007, Rescue Rebuild has:

  • Recruited 5,000 volunteers
  • Built over 140 shelters
  • Traveled to 48 states and three countries

These Holiday Heroes build shelters in domestic violence shelters, animal shelters, and homeless and veterans housing.

If you’re in need of a renovated shelter, contact Rescue Rebuild for help.


Canopy Cat Rescue is a non-profit organization that believes that EVERY cat deserves the chance to be rescued. The founding members are cat parents who save cats stuck in trees all over Western Washington.

Since 2009, the team of cat lovers, Tom Otto and Shuan Sears, climb trees to rescue cats. They rescue cats anytime, day or night, rain or shine. The tree team rescues hundreds of cats every year and returns them to their loving families.

Canopy Cat Rescue runs on donations only. Their website has many lovely photos of rescued kitties.


Code 3 Associates is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides professional animal disaster response and resources. They also provide professional training to agencies and individuals involved in animal-related law enforcement and emergency response.

The Code 3 Associates motto is Disaster Services 24/7 and 365 days a year. Teams work to save animals in the US and Canada, and help with animal cruelty training for investigators.

During the hurricane season, Code 3 Associates sent their Big Animal Rescue Truck (BART) to North Carolina after the area was hit by Hurricane Florence, and to Houston, Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

BART is an 80-foot tractor trailer truck designed to support any agency or organization to effectively meet its disaster or emergency needs to help animals in their community.

Code 3 Associates are trained professionals in these areas:

  • Wildland fire
  • Swift water
  • Floodwater rescue
  • High and low angle rope extraction
  • Confined space rescue
  • Compromised structure rescue

Pilots N Paws Rescue Service is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves as a meeting place for volunteers to rescue, shelter and adopt animals. Volunteer pilots and plane owners also help with animal transportation.

Pilots N Paws motto: Saving the lives of innocent animals.

Pilots N Paws brings volunteers together to organize or schedule rescue flights, overnight foster or shelter care, and other related animal-saving activities.


Wings of Rescue is another stellar non-profit that serves homeless and abandoned animals. Since, 2012, the small Wings of Rescue team and volunteers around the country, fly to rescue endangered pets.

Wings of Rescue remove pets from high intake and/or high-kill shelters and flies them no-kill shelters. These safe havens foster and prepare animals for adoption into a furrever home.

Volunteers also rescued 13 pot-bellied pigs, three rabbits and one Cockatoo. They also flown in 137,996 pounds of humanitarian aid into the Bahamas. Since 2012. these wonderful people have flown over 38,000 pets to safety.

In 2019 alone, Wings of Rescue has transported 9,000 furry passengers!


Mini Cat Town is a 501(c)3 non-profit rescue run by three sisters, Thi, Thoa, and Tram Bui. The sisters have helped stray cats since childhood and specialize in fostering neonatal kittens (age 0-6 weeks).

The sisters’ motto: Creating A Safe Haven For Neonatal Kittens.

This at-risk population of kitties can be very sick. The Bui sisters foster and care for these young kittens until they thrive and are ready for adoption.

The Bui sisters partner with the San Jose Animal Care Center, The Dancing Cat in San Jose and Nine Lives in Redwood City.

Mini Cat Town also participates in the trap, neuter/spay and release (TNR) of feral cats. Feral and stray cats serve their communities by controlling rodents and pests. In turn, TNR helps to control overpopulation of cats in communities.


Second Chance Movement is a business that sells products to fund the transportation of shelter animals. They help animals move from overcrowded, high-kill shelters, to no-kill shelters where there is a high demand for pets.

Second Chance Movement works with GreaterGood.org to donate travel miles to charities that facilitate the transportation of adoptable pets.

The Second Chance motto is The Key to their Second Chance!

When you purchase a Second Chance Movement item, you are saving lives of adoptable pets who would have been euthanized if they were not rescued.

Volunteer drivers and airplane pilots donate their time and vehicles to transport pets.

Add a Second Chance Movement item to your Christmas shopping list!


Gigi’s is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that solved long standing problems in animal shelters:

  • Overcrowding
  • Limited resources to care for the animals
  • Not enough local adopters to give animals a home

Rural and underserved areas have animals shelters with too many dogs and not enough homes for them. Many dogs become sick waiting for adoption.

Some adoption centers will transfer dogs from other animal shelters and prepare them for adoption. But centers need space to bring in dogs. And dogs may be exposed to diseases from incoming dogs.

The result: empty kennels while families are looking for a dog. Families might turn to a puppy mill or pet store to buy a dog.

Gigi’s motto: Improving the lives of shelter dogs. Since 2018, this 501(c)3 non-profit helps adoptable shelter dogs find they furrever home.

The founders, George and Tina Skestos, clearly love dogs. They built a cutting-edge 15,000 square-foot dog campus in Central Ohio. It’s the first of its kind in the country.


The campus was designed to focus on four areas: high-quality medical care, efficiency, disease control and stress reduction. The founders work with national experts in dog sheltering and adoption to provide:

  • Transportation
  • Veterinary care
  • Behavioral support
  • Housing
  • Shelter processing

Gigi’s staff travel to shelter partners and adoption centers in Ohio:

  • Franklin County Dog Shelter
  • Gallia County Animal Shelter
  • Jackson County Dog Pound
  • Lawrence County Dog Pound
  • Scioto County Dog Pound
  • Columbus Humane
  • CHA Animal Shelter
  • Cleveland Animal Protective League

Gigi’s has plans to expand and serve more shelters and adoption centers. The Skestos are serious about improving the lives of shelter dogs!


All About Pets is a full service pet store that sells high-quality natural pet foods, treats and supplement.

One thing All About Pets will not sell: animals from puppy mill breeders. Store owner, Denise Rachiele only works with local reputable breeders.

Many shelters have an overpopulation of cats and dogs. Rachiele knows that people are looking to adopt puppies and kittens. She tries to ease the burden and brings in cats and dogs from the Estill County Animal Shelter and The Way Home Rescue Alliance in Kentucky.

All About Pets has joined the national trend and signed the Puppy-Friendly Pet Store Pledge from the Human Society of the United States (HSUS). The pledge ensures that puppy-friendly pet stores use the business model of animal adoption versus animal sales.

A humane business model for pet stores can save the lives of hundreds of homeless cats and dogs.

The pet store guarantees that their pets were home-raised by local responsible breeders who care for the animals. Pets are also well socialized, vaccinated, and prepared for adoption. Adoption includes a one-year health guarantee from the breeder.

All About Pets includes an in-store animal rescue called Great Escape Rescue. The non-profit organization is dedicated to finding homes for rescue animals.


In 2019, it is a federal crime to abuse or torture animals. In November 2019, President Trump signed the Preventing Animal Cruelty And Torture (PACT) Act , H.R. 724, into law.

Our pets are family members. They bring value to our lives as loyal companions, law enforcement, military and service animals.

PACT does not interfere with state animal cruelty laws and is modeled after the federal animal fighting law.

The law was introduced to the House on May 13, 2015 and you can read the full text of the law here.

Two paws up for these wonderful people dedicated to helping homeless animals. THANK YOU ALL!

Dr. Pet Mom

“As every cat owner knows, no one owns a cat.”
–Ellen Perry Berkeley

“If I could be half the person my dog is, I’d be twice the human I am.”
–Charles Yu

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