Author: Andrew Tonra

Kolija’s Homecoming

Kolija is seen here making his emotional return home.

Last week we shared the sad story of Kolija, the beloved pet dog at And-Hof Animals, an upstate New York farm animal sanctuary. Tragically, Kolija was shot on purpose at close range while running away from the shooter on New Year’s day.

A police investigation is ongoing and this compelling story has been covered by major news media.

Thanks to so many of you who donated–and with HEALS’ financial aid intervention–Kolija was able to have the complex, specialized leg-conserving surgery he needed. He will have a long recovery and rehab ahead, but is doing well so far and is expected to return to normal eventually.

Please consider donating to HEALS so we can help other pets like Kolija whose owners are financially struggling and would otherwise have no other choice but to euthanize their cherished companion animal. The need is great and the costs of veterinary care have risen dramatically!
Thank you once again for your generous donations to help Kolija. Large or small, your contributions make a big difference in the lives of local pets and their devoted families living right here in our own communities.

HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community.

HEALS Talks Turkey

By Joan Eve Quinn, Program Director

At holiday time, we’re especially grateful for the generous donors who enable us to provide life-saving veterinary care for pets in need all year round–and for the bounty of goodness we share on Thanksgiving. 

To help keep your companion animals safe on the impending big feast day, the experts at HEALS have compiled the following list of safety tips:  

Friends and family (and pets) love to gather in the kitchen during holiday meal prep time, but please watch out for some hidden dangers that may be lurking there: 

  • If your pet is on a special diet for medical reasons, don’t break the protocol just because it’s a holiday. If you aren’t certain whether to feed your pet certain holiday foods, consult your veterinarian first.
  • Hot foods can cause mouth and throat burns–serve your four-legged feasters at room temperature!  
  • Bite-size pieces are best for avoiding choking hazards. Fully cooked vegetables are softer and safer to swallow than raw veggies.
  • Avoid feeding your pets any foods on toothpicks or skewers! Don’t assume your pet will nibble the food off and leave the toothpick or skewer behind. 


Delicious dos
Here’s some traditional American holiday fare that’s generally safe for pets to chow down on:
–Green beans
–Sweet potato (avoid sugary preparations)
–Boneless, skinless turkey breast without seasonings. Bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract and skin contains fat, which can be hard to digest.
–Carrots and peas

Dangerous don’ts
Companion animals can’t gobble down all the foods we can. Avoid these fixin’s:
–Raisins, Xylitol and chocolate. Sweets can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets. Chocolate and sweets containing Xylitol are especially harmful. If you want to share treats with your pets, it’s best to buy treats made especially for them.
–Fatty foods such as turkey skin, butter, bacon, greasy meats, cream and other full-fat dairy products
–Raw meats
–Macadamia nuts
–Garlic and onions
–Cooked or raw bones
–Heavily seasoned, spicy or salty foods
–Raw bread dough can cause gas and possibly dangerous bloating

Talkin’ trash
We’ve all seen it: Four-legged pilgrims get a whiff of tasty treats, journey to the source and land at the rock in search of irresistible nibbles. But there’s no newfound freedom for them! Turkey pieces could be deadly. Dispose of all bones, other scraps, bags, strings, and other packaging in a well sealed garbage bag and place it in a tightly closed container.

Party hardy
Some pets are easily upset by visitors and hubbub. If your pet gets nervous around guests, put him or her in another room or in a crate with a favorite toy. You can also talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem. 

Playing tag
Even if your pet is comfortable in a full house, keep a watchful eye when people enter or leave. More pets go missing during holidays than at any other time of year. Sadly, many are never recovered. They should always have proper identification on them, especially a microchip with your up-to-date, registered information.

Just in case
Some signs of sickness include sudden behavior changes, depression, discomfort or pain, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Always keep contact information for your nearest animal emergency clinic handy. If you suspect that your pet has eaten something potentially troublesome, you can call the ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).  

Happy harvest to you!
Have a little bit of vigilance and enjoy the many blessings of the Thanksgiving holiday to the fullest. May your day of feasting go as smoothly as home-made gravy and be as sweet as pumpkin pie. Happy Thanksgiving to all! 

HEALS is one of the best animal charities to donate to. Your donation provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners BVtruly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help to pay for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email

One Week – Two Lives Saved!

Thanks to our amazing donors, we were able to play a big part in saving the lives of two cherished pets in the last week!

Sayi – a five-month-old French Bulldog suffering from a debilitating spinal cord condition, and Ruby – an English Bulldog pushing through the end of a serious bout of pneumonia. 

We’re pleased to report that both pets are recovering well. Because of you, they will spend this Thanksgiving at home with their loving families. 

Would you like to donate to help save animals? HEALS is one of the best, most effective animal charities to donate to.

Your gift provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help paying for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email us at

Four-legged Companions and July Fourth

Patriotic pet lovers often like to include their perky (but never pesky?) companion animals in July Fourth festivities. While Independence Day brings joy, and pets add to that enjoyment, please know that quite a few well-honed holiday habits can be hazardous to your furry friend’s health. Because HEALS would like all pets to be kept safe and sound, we offer the following advice: 

  • Dogs (and cats) and drinks don’t mix. While mixed drinks may enliven the spirits, never mix pets with alcohol. Keep all spiked beverages way out of their reach. If enough alcohol is consumed, pets could become intoxicated, weak, severely depressed or go into a coma. Even worse, respiratory failure and death could happen in severe cases of alcohol poisoning.
  • Light up the night but not with lighter fluid. If you must use lighter fluid, keep it far away from your pets. If ingested in high quantities, kidney damage can result. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin; it can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. In addition, certain types of matches could damage blood cells, resulting in breathing difficulty.
  • Mind Fido, felines and their food. During the holiday, it’s best to keep your companion animals  on their normal diet. Cats and dogs have very sensitive stomachs that do best on a regimented and strict menu. Any change can bring about severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Certain foods can be toxic; some of the worst culprits are onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt, macadamia nuts, and yeast dough.  
  • Forget the fireworks! Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for four-legged companions! There are so many other good ways to celebrate. For pets, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws. Unused fireworks can also pose a threat. Avoid taking pets to crowded outdoor events where fireworks will be the main attraction. Keep your furry friends safe at home in a quiet, sheltered, escape-proof area. More companion animals go missing during fireworks displays than at any other time of year as they try to escape the noise and chaos.    

“I Would Do Without Before She Does Without” – Lillian & Sadie – Another Life Saved

“I would do without before she does without.” That’s one of the first things that Lillian told us when we spoke to her yesterday about her Sadie. Unfortunately though, Lillian does not have a lot to spare these days. She lives in senior home and has limited savings to draw from after Sadie got very sick in 2021. Since then, Sadie has been on numerous medications and those costs have added up.


Sadie helped Lillian through the death of her partner, and now continues to spread joy to other residents at the Senior living home. Lillian was ready to do whatever it took to keep Sadie going—even accepting that she may go hungry at times as long as Sadie got to eat and got her medicine.


Thankfully, that didn’t have to happen. Lillian got in contact with HEALS. We were able to help Lillian get lower costs on Sadie’s monthly medications, and we’re going to pay for Sadie’s next round of bloodwork. Sadie is a “wonderful and happy dog – almost a therapy dog for some people at the home.” We are so happy to assist Lillian in this time of need and get her on a better financial trajectory.


Love is the driving force behind HEALS. We love our pets, and we would do anything for them. So would the people we are fortunate enough to help ❤️❤️

SKY UPDATE: Surgery was a Success!

Sky had her surgery this past Tuesday, and it was a success! She is now on her way towards recovery. We spoke with Sky’s mom, Rhiannon, today. She informed us that, “the surgery couldn’t have gone better. Sky is eating food, taking her medicine, and going to the bathroom on her own.” This is such wonderful news. None of it would be possible without all of your donations. Thank you all so much. We will keep you updated ask Sky continues to heal ❤

View the video here

Collaboration is Key for Saving Lives

We have had the honor or working with many dedicated animal lovers and their pets, but this case in particular was very special. Timothy and Cooper first came to our good friends at HEAL-Humanity Empathy Animal Love – Foundation with a very serious situation. Cooper was dealing with a burst tumor on his leg, and Timothy, a dedicated and loving dog dad, was running out of options.

HEAL agreed to help Timothy financially, but they were having trouble finding an animal hospital that would see Cooper soon enough. Time was running out, and Cooper’s condition was deteriorating. Our friends at HEAL decided to reach out to us to see if we could help them find a hospital to perform the surgery and cover the remaining costs. Luckily, we were able to find a great hospital with a surgeon willing to act quickly, and we chipped in what was needed to get Cooper the treatment to save his life

The stars aligned, and Cooper’s surgery was a success. He’s bouncing back much quicker than anticipated, and he is expected to make a full recovery. We’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Timothy quite a bit since the surgery and his positivity and gratitude are infectious. We are so happy for the the two of them. We actually just received word today that Cooper is headed home and has the last of his sutchers out! He’s even been “running around the backyard,” according to Timothy.

We are also feeling very encouraged having worked on this case together with HEAL. We have found that collaboration is not so common between non-profits like ourselves and HEAL, but that is a trend that we are happy to go against. With the rising cost of veterinary care, sometimes the only option to save a pet’s life may be to work together. After all, we all have the same goal at the end of the day: Keep families together.

We urge you to please donate to us today. Cases keep coming in, and it’s getting tougher and tougher to find hospitals that can take in the cases that we are trying to help. We are only able to save lives because of donations from people like you. Thank you.

Keep Your Pet Safe and Happy this Labor Day!

We hope you’re as excited as us for Labor Day weekend!  Labor Day is a fantastic long weekend to spend time outside with your friends, family, and of course — pets!  As we are all off to our destinations today, let’s not forget to take the necessary precautions to make sure that our pets are safe and comfortable during all Labor Day festivities.

The number one thing to be concerned with for any summer holiday and your pets is the heat.

When you’re outside with your pets, make sure that they ALWAYS have access to shade and fresh water. Never leave your pets unattended for long periods of time in the heat, and be sure to keep the air conditioning on throughout those extra hot days.  Also, always watch out for signs of heat stroke.  They include but are not limited to vomiting, tremors, or inability to walk.  If you notice any of these symptoms, do not wait.  Contact an emergency vet immediately.

We urge you to never leave your animal loose in your car.

Many of us will be getting into our cars for a road trip this morning.  We urge you to never leave your animal loose in your car.  The safest way to travel with your pet is with a kennel that is securely fastened with a seatbelt or seat saver.  Also, Never leave your pet alone in a hot care — even if you are parked in the shade or have your windows open.  Your car creates an oven-like effect that will make it hotter than the outside environment.

If you are attending a cookout, be weary of what you furry friend may get into.

Many of our favorites can be extremely harmful for our pets.  Alcohol, grapes, chocolate, onions, certain nuts or even dairy items can be extremely toxic to our pets (just to name a few).  Also, watch out for corn on the cob or cooked bones of any kind! Dogs are known to choke on large pieces of corn cob, and cooked bones can do severe damage to a pet that may ingest them.

Be ready for fireworks.

If you are ending your night with a display of fireworks, do your best to secure your pets somewhere quiet and safe.  It is best to be with them until the loud noises are over. Fireworks are known to cause pets to take off and run away — even if your animal may never otherwise do so.

Have fun this weekend, and keep these tips in mind! Our pets are members of our family, and it is very important to always consider their needs and best practices for these kinds of scenarios. 

Would you like to donate to help save animals? HEALS is one of the best, most effective animal charities to donate to. Your gift provides financial help for pets in need of life-saving veterinary care–when their owners truly can’t afford it–right here in your own community. If you need help paying for dog or cat veterinary care, contact us at 914-996-0001 or email us at

Alyne and Miyuki – Another HEALS Success Story!

Miyuki is a seven-month-old Pomeranian that means the absolute world to her mom, Alyne. Unfortunately, Miyuki broke her femur while playing at home recently. The break was so severe that surgery was required to ensure a full recovery. With veterinary bills and the cost of surgery mounting up, the situation wasn’t looking too hopeful for Miyuki. Thankfully, we connected with the two of them and were able to help out with some of the bills.

Miyuki, Alyne’s emotional support animal, is such a young and playful dog, full of energy and love. It means a lot to us to be able to help her get the care she needs to live her life to the fullest.  

We spoke with Alyne and she has reported that the operation went as planned and Miyuki is already at home and back to her normal self. Though the healing process will take some time, Miyuki is expected to make a full recovery, and the two can enjoy each other’s company in the meantime. 

Miyuki and Alyne have a very special bond. Miyuki has helped Alyne through some tough times. In return, Alyne would do anything for her beautiful little pup. We’re humbled to be part of this life-saving process to keep people and pets together longer. We’re incredibly thankful to everyone who has donated to us. Your donations go directly towards helping families just like this one.

First Annual Healing Hearts Gala – November 2022

Our first annual Healing Hearts Gala was a roaring success. Thank you so much to our sponsors, guests, volunteers, and everyone who had a hand in bringing this magical night together! We are energized and ready to keep this train going – carrying out our mission of keeping pets and families together. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you all so much. See you at the next one! Full photo album is below.