Healthcare Worker’s Rescue Dog Helps Nonprofit Win $10K Grant from Petco

Jessica Hoover
Jessica Hoover

A physician’s assistant’s rescue dog offered her fellow colleagues in the health care field some hope and joy and even got the attention of Petco.

Jessica Hoover, who works as a physician’s assistant at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital, said she had witnessed the “burnout” among her colleagues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

So when she rescued Cali, a mutt from the nonprofit Lifeline Project, she thought it would help cheer up some of her colleagues in a trying season.

“The emotional support, the happy nature she has, is so lighthearted and such a contrast to the rest of the year,” Hoover told Fox 5 Atlanta.

Cali’s impact on Hoover and her colleagues caught the attention of Petco, who gave Lifeline a $10,000 grant to promote its Holiday Wishes Campaign.

“Animals have the ability to take us out of ourselves and put us in the moment with them and help create joy,” said Karen Hirsch with Lifeline. “I think that’s what is so special about Jessica [Hoover’s] story.”

The grant came at the right time for Lifeline, as there is a greater demand for the nonprofit’s programs and a dearth of fundraising events due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While Lifeline has seen an increase in adoptions in 2020, the organization has also seen an increase in pet owners experiencing financial instability.

The organization fed pets in more than 1,000 struggling homes between March and June alone.

“Receiving this $10,000 grant is really life-saving,” Hirsch said. “It will help us support all of our programs, and it will support our mission to save every life possible.”

Petco will also divide another $20,000 among three other Atlanta-area animal welfare organizations.

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