The concept of PACT was conceived in 2010. Buzz Miller, PACT’s Founder and President, has been rescuing animals for 30 years, and has worked with most of the shelters in the Delaware Valley. In 2010, Buzz started noticing that more and more people in the armed services were forced to surrender their pets to a shelter when they went on deployment. These brave men and women were risking their lives to fight for our country, and yet were forced to leave their best friends and sometimes only family in the lobby of an animal shelter, full of sadness, worry, and remorse.
Buzz felt that our nation’s soldiers should not have to abandon all hope of seeing their best friends again because of a desire to defend their country. Buzz decided to defend the lives of their companion animals at home, so that our servicemen and women could focus on their military training and have peace of mind when they thought about their furry families, in return for the peace of mind they give to us for our own families’ safety.
PACT was founded as a non-profit that would find these animals free, quality, volunteer foster homes while their owners were unable to house them due to their deployment or training in the armed forces. Working out of the basement of Buzz’s house in Pennsylvania, PACT started getting the word out and talking to potential foster families. In 2011, PACT’s first operational foster year, we recruited 6 Foster Families and placed 4 grateful animals in loving foster homes.
In 2012, PACT’s foster network experienced substantial growth and we were able to place 40 animals in foster homes – 80% dogs and 20% cats. That fall, Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia (CHOP)’s social workers approached PACT about fostering an animal for a young boy who needed major heart surgery. His family planned to stay at a Ronald McDonald House (RMH) to be near him during his life-threatening ordeal, but felt they had no choice but to surrender his beloved dog, Baby Powder, to a shelter, since the RMH did not allow animals. PACT was able to place Baby Powder in a wonderful foster home, and the boy’s operation was a success! This began PACT’s relationship with CHOP, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Shriners Hospital for Children – Philadelphia and relationships with the Ronald McDonald homes throughout the Delaware Valley, where the parents stayed while their child was in the hospital.
2013 was a major year of growth for PACT. As more and more people became aware of our Military and Hospital Foster Programs we began receiving calls from all around the country. People drove their animals to Philadelphia from states as far away as Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, California and all states in-between, and some even flew their pets to us to be placed with our quality foster homes. PACT started offering pet fostering to all hospital patients that were able to provide a solid “end date,” and began to work with animal lovers and fosters nationally to try to help more people around the country. PACT also began building relationships with local veterinarians, trainers, kennels, pet suppliers and groomers in the Delaware Valley who were interested in supporting PACT’s work.
In 2014, PACT began expanding foster homes throughout the country to meet the needs of people and pets who could not travel, and were able to help pets from 23 different states.Our hospital foster program grew to be almost half of our total placements, and we doubled the number of veterinarians and trainers that volunteered to help PACT Foster Pets. As our foster homes and volunteers grew, so did awareness of this amazing and unique organization – and the number of animals we were able to help! In 2014 alone, PACT facilitated over 100 foster pet placements and oversaw 71 joyous reunions between a beloved pet and the owner who had feared they might never see their best friend again. See the 2017 Annual Report here.
In 2015 and 2016, PACT continued to grow to help more people around the country, and saved more pets’ lives. By the end of 2016, we had placed over 400 pets in safe foster homes since our first year. In 2017, we placed 165 pets and in 2018, we are on target to place over 225 pets, for a total of over 800 animals placed since inception.
Today, we are looking to expand our local as well as national infrastructure of vets, trainers, kennels, and volunteers. PACT is working towards the day when no beloved pets are unwillingly surrendered to shelters due to a temporary military or medical crisis. Can you help us make this happen? Become a foster home, volunteer, and/or donate today!