Ellen DeGeneres and Petco Foundation Give $100k to Center That Rescued Pit Bull Sammy

The Pet Rescue Center in Mission Viejo winning a $100,000 grant partly funded by the Petco Foundation would earn a “good for them” from us but not necessarily a mention on this blog. However, in this instance, the other funder shone stars in our eyes as the mystery donor is none other than Ellen DeGeneres and her pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets.


The Pet Rescue Center got the nod after judges waded through 4,500 entries, which so overwhelmed organizers that the total grant amount was bumped up from $250,000 to $500,000, which is being distributed to 33 groups the Mission Viejo facility.

Rescuing a male pit bull named Sammy is what earned the Pet Rescue Center the grand prize in the Holiday Wishes Grant Campaign, which had applicants submit each unique animal's story. In Sammy's case, he had been a “bait dog” used to lure combatants in illegal dog-fighting matches.

“When he arrived at the center, Sammy had massive scars and fresh wounds covering his body, including a 3-4 inch laceration on the bottom of his chin and significant damage to his ears,” reveals the Petco Foundation. “Once healed, and while waiting for a new home, Sammy had the chance to pay it forward to another needy puppy who was found bleeding in a shopping center parking lot and in desperate need of a blood transfusion.”

Sammy's blood type turned out to be a match for the puppy “and he proved to be the perfect patient throughout the entire process, earning him a spot in the center's hall of fame for memorable rescues,” shares the foundation.

A family looking to adopt a pet read about Sammy's story but was leery to bring him in because of his breed. But when they met him they were “amazed by his demeanor and happy-go-lucky attitude, and they decided to adopt him,” states the foundation. “Sammy now lives with his new Wheaton Terrier brother and a family that loves him dearly.”

This was just one of many amazing stories from the folks at the Pet Rescue Center, which works with shelters, veterinarians and other animal rescue groups to temporarily house dogs and cats in need, provide them veterinary services as needed and then work to find adoptive families.

The $100k grant will help continue that work, as will the other private donations the center relies on and will gladly accept from you.

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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