Happy outcomes, thanks to PetSmart Charities and our Animal Haven Program

We are so grateful to PetSmart Charities for awarding Young-Williams Animal Center with their Preserving Families Grant to support our Animal Haven Program. Below you will read many stories of happiness and hope that this grant made possible.

Click here to read our announcement about the awarded grant. If you, or someone you know, needs help with their pet, please contact our Pet Resource Center at [email protected].

Lola the Dog

It was June 4th and Barbara was taking the difficult first step to seeking mental health help. Barbara bravely served in our military and was seeking treatment for PTSD at a facility that wouldn’t allow her pet, Lola, to come along. Barbara knows if it wasn’t for the Animal Haven program, she would have had to surrender her best friend. The next day, we met Lola, the small black and white dog who loves attention, for the very first time. Lola stayed with a foster home while Barbara got the treatment she needed. Barbara would call and check on Lola often, always thanking the foster for loving her while she focused on getting better. On a late August day, Lola got quite the surprise when her mom walked in the room. In the photo below and attached, you see the little dog who just wanted to be held on her reunion day. Lola was SO excited as was Barbara. “Thank you again for all you all are doing to help me, so I can heal,” Barbara said, “I am feeling 1000% better than I did before I came, thank you again for everything.”

Willow and Earnest

It was an early spring day and Mr. L was spending his weekend prepping to go out of town for a while. Monday morning he was leaving to receive medical treatment that was expected to take six weeks. Mr. L had been unable to find an affordable boarding facility to care for his two bloodhounds and felt like he had no other choice but to surrender them while he focused on his health.

When he arrived at the shelter, he was overjoyed to learn of the Animal Haven program. Thanks to grant funding from PetSmart Charities, Willow and Earnest found temporary shelter at Ravenwood Kennels. When Mr. L’s medical treatments didn’t go as hoped and his health declined, we were able to extend Willow and Earnest’s stay at the boarding facility. After nearly 90 days in a hospital with a severe medical condition, Mr. L was finally on his way home to be reunited with Willow and Earnest. “Thank you so much for looking after my babies while I was sick. I hope you get more grants to help more babies like mine.”

Mr. Thomas

It was New Years Eve and Mr. Thomas called in a panic hoping there was something, anything, we could do to help. Mr. Thomas and his four cats were being evicted, had nowhere to go, and realized they’d be homeless within 48 hours. He was working with a caseworker to find placement, but needed a more immediate solution to keep his cats safe. The last thing he ever wanted was to be separated from his beloved pets. In the end, it only took Mr. Thomas 15 days to find stable housing and during that time all four of his cats were safe at Central Veterinary Office. Mr. Thomas states the cats had no issues transitioning to their new home. “You guys really work miracles; I am hardly able to put into words how much all of this meant to me,” Says Mr. Thomas.

Cochise and Bill

We believe no pet owner should have to make the lifelong decision of leaving a pet just because they are experiencing a temporary crisis. Sometimes, a little time and support changes everything. Bill was a disabled veteran overcoming housing challenges. He was able to stay at the VA while receiving treatments and looking for long-term housing, but his Bully and best friend, Cochise, wasn’t allowed. Bill came to Young-Williams to surrender to his pet, but first, received counseling on our Animal Haven program. Cochise stayed in a boarding facility for just one short month when Bill found permanent housing. Cochise, which is Apache for having the quality or strength of an oak, lived up to his namesake and tackled Bill to the ground with kisses at their reunion.


When Destiny arrived at the shelter in Nov. 2021, she was very emotional and upset. Destiny had found herself without housing and believed the best thing for the pets she could no longer care for would be surrendering them to the shelter. Destiny was devastated to leave her cat and two dogs behind. Through surrender prevention counseling from our Pet Resource Center, Destiny was made aware of the Animal Haven program. She connected with the Knoxville/Knox County Community Action Committee to work on securing stable housing while we provided boarding services and vaccinations to her pets. Destiny’s journey to stability took 90 days, at which point there was a tearful, joyous reunion with her pets in her new home.

Feeling Grateful

Thanksgiving weekend should be filled with turkey, family and friends. For one apartment building, it brought a major crisis. An apartment fire triggered the sprinkler system for the entire building, an old system that wasn’t able to be turned off. Twenty-five families found themselves displaced due to the fire and flood, many of them owned pets who were given temporary boarding at Young-Williams Animal Center. One of these pets is Amora, a beautiful Sun Conure. Her owner Omar faced a long list of insurance calls, emergency housing requests and damage reports before he’d be able to search for suitable housing. Thanks to the PetSmart Preserving Families grant, Omar was assured Amora would be safe in our care until he was able to house and care for her again. Amora spent just under three weeks in our Animal Haven program. When he arrived to pick up Amora and take her to their new home Omar expressed just how thankful he was for this program and how much harder the transition would have been if he was transporting his bird from one temporary shelter to another. In a recent follow up call, Omar has they are settling in to their new home well. “I am so thankful to have Amora home, she is my baby,” Said Omar, “I could tell when she came home how well she was taken care of there, thank you again.”