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Maddie’s Fund Invests In Dumb Friends League’s Lifesaving Work

$300,000 grant award has helped care for thousands of homeless pets

Maddie’s Fund®, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, awarded a $300,000 grant to the Dumb Friends League to support enhancements to their innovative foster care program.

Thanks to Maddie, the League nurtured thousands of homeless pets in foster care last year. The funding enabled the organization to increase the amount of foster homes that are specially trained to provide behavior modification, bottle-baby kitten support, medical support and more opportunities for animals whose owners are experiencing temporary housing issues.

Pets like Winnie benefitted directly from this grant. When the adorable 1-year-old cat arrived at the Dumb Friends League she was pregnant and very sick. Upon examination by League veterinarians, it was discovered that not only was she pregnant, the young cat was suffering from severe mastitis, meaning her mammary glands were very infected and she would not be able to nurse her kittens when they were born. Winnie was sent to a specially trained foster home where she gave birth and received the gentle care she needed to save her life, and the lives of her kittens.

When her four healthy kittens were born, Winnie’s foster parent immediately started bottle feeding the kittens and provided them with the around the clock care they needed to survive. Just two days after giving birth, Winnie went into surgery where the Dumb Friends League veterinary team removed the infected tissue which ultimately saved the young cat’s life. She returned to foster care to heal and, after making a full recovery, was adopted into a loving home. All four of her kittens thrived in their foster home and were also adopted out to loving families.

“Our foster care program is crucial in helping pets like Winnie recover from illnesses and surgeries,” said Dr. Apryl Steele, president and CEO of the Dumb Friends League. “The Maddie’s Fund investment has enabled us to help more pets with complicated medical needs and challenging behavior issues receive the specialized care or break they need to successfully find new homes.”

“Foster care is the gold standard for saving even more shelter pet lives,” said Mary Ippoliti-Smith, Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team. “The Dumb Friends League has created a model that can be used by shelter and rescue organizations nationwide.”

For more information about the Dumb Friends League, visit For more information about Maddie’s Fund, visit

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Maia Brusseau

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