“Puppie Love” Donates $50K To Gulf Coast Humane Society After Ian

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Puppie Love® is making their largest single donation of $50,000 to Gulf Coast Humane Society, a non-profit, no-kill shelter in Fort Myers that was left devastated after Hurricane Ian. This is all thanks to the amazing Puppie Love customers and the support of the Hurricane Pup T-Shirt. Puppie Love is a small family-owned T-shirt company in Baltimore, MD.

“We had no idea that we would be able to raise this much money when we released this design. We cannot believe what our customers have done,” said Ali Pfeifer, Co-Founder of Puppie Love

Hurricane Ian made landfall Sept. 28 in Southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm. Ian was the largest hurricane to hit this area since Hurricane Charley in 2004. Ian brought 145 mph winds and severe flooding to the area. The original trajectory of the storm quickly changed direction, allowing very little time for the residents to evacuate.

The towns of Fort Myers, Sanibel/Captiva Islands, Punta Gorda, Pine Island, and Cape Coral were absolutely devastated. While some citizens were able to quickly gather their belongings, animals, and secure their homes, many were not able to evacuate in time. This led to people and their pets trying to reach the highest point in their homes (including the roof) to survive the flood waters and heavy winds. The damage caused to SWFL was catastrophic, leading to more than 100 lives lost, and the destruction of many buildings and homes. SWFL is home to many domestic animals and wildlife. While many wild animals have evolved to survive hurricanes, many animals did not survive this storm.

While Puppie Love® is not located in Florida, they wanted to do something to help. And what better way than to create an adorable t-shirt and donate 100 percent of profits to an organization in need. On Oct. 5, Puppie Love released “Hurricane Pup” Tees. Hopeful that customers would enjoy this design, Puppie Love planned to be able to make a small donation from the profits of these orders. Within one hour, it quickly became clear this would not be a small t-shirt release, nor a small donation. Hurricane Pup quickly became one of the best selling shirts in the company’s history, allowing them to provide the largest single donation of $50,000 to Gulf Coast Humane Society.

Gulf Coast Humane Society is a non-profit 501c-3 organization that has been servicing the area of Southwest Florida for more 75 years. Their mission is “to provide humane care for surrendered animals by offering refuge, providing medical care, and facilitating an adoptive home.” Being located in Fort Myers means that GCHS took a huge hit from Hurricane Ian.

When the storm formed, it was originally headed to the Tampa area. GCHS took in many more animals from this area in light of the predicted storm. Unfortunately, Ian had other plans, changing trajectory and forcing GCHS to transport as many animals as possible to other no-kill shelters across the nation.

While the animals were transported safely, the actual GCHS buildings were not as fortunate. This donation will help to rebuild GCHS and offer a safe space for animals again. It will allow them to bring in more animals from surrounding areas that were also affected by Ian. The donation will allow for GCHS to build an establishment that will be safe from any future hurricanes.

Gulf Coast Humane Society is not just a shelter, they also have a low-cost Veterinary Clinic and Spay and Neuter Clinic. They handle a variety of services including dental care, vaccinations, and micro-chipping. They have successfully completed more than 3,000 medical procedures. GCHS takes in more than 1,000 animals in need of care every year. These include dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, and even a pot belly pig.

Puppie Love was able to connect with Community Relations Manager, Brian Wierima of GCHS via zoom, on Tuesday, Oct. 25 to announce their donation amount of behalf of their customers. As one might expect, it was an emotional and heart-felt meeting between two awesome organizations. The Best-Selling Hurricane Pup Tee is available for purchase at PuppieLove.com and all future profits will continue to be donated to The Gulf Coast Humane Society.

“…The work you put in, is going to be for every shelter animal now, and every shelter animal in the next hundred years that will be saved…,” said Wierima. “We sincerely thank you. Donations like this will live on for a very, very long time… These donations are going to build us up, stronger… Every one of your customers has made an impact.”

Puppie Love, founded in 2017, is dedicated to helping facilitate dog adoptions by donating 10 percent of their net profits to rescue centers and adoption agencies. Starting with only six t-shirts, the company has grown into a full apparel brand with more than $300,000 donated to various shelters and rescue groups. They hope to inspire people through their designs and products to help rescue dogs and support the amazing pet community.

Puppie Love has a sister brand called Kittie Kittie which also donates 10 percent of net profits to adoption agencies and TNR (trap and release) programs; while raising awareness to the harsh environments cats experience living outdoors.

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