Mission

Pets Alive provides the compassionate solution to end the unnecessary euthanasia of cats and dogs by offering affordable, high-quality spay/neuter services.

Vision

To improve the health and well-being of cats and dogs by partnering with the animal welfare community to provide life-saving programs and compassionate solutions to pet overpopulation.

History

In April 2002, one of Pets Alive’s founding members, Katrina Sturgeon, read a Bloomington Herald-Times article that stated almost 70% of all animals brought to the Bloomington Animal Shelter were euthanized. Sturgeon responded by writing a passionate letter to the editor, expressing her outrage and encouraging positive change. Karla Kamstra and Theresa Block responded to this call to action and reached out to Sturgeon. These three dedicated women founded the first Pets Alive programs: Adopt-A-Pet, Puppy Train, and Petfinder.com.

In December 2002, Pets Alive launched the Adopt-A-Pet program, which took adoptable animals from the Bloomington Animal Shelter to off-site adoption events and helped bring the plight of unwanted animals to the forefront of community awareness. Banking on the success of Adopt-A-Pet, Pets Alive launched the Puppy Train program in January 2003. The Puppy Train transported Bloomington animals to other states in need of more adoptable pets. Over the course of 14 months, volunteers rented cargo vans and drove over 600 dogs to the Wisconsin Humane Society, which achieved a 98% adoption rate due to its affordable spay/neuter services. In addition to these two programs, Pets Alive also helped facilitate more adoptions at the Bloomington Animal Shelter by setting up an online adoptable program on Petfinder.com. Pets Alive volunteers used the Petfinder site to help the shelter launch its first pet foster program and recruit volunteers to foster and fund animals in need.

In January 2004, the Pets Alive board closed the Adopt-A-Pet and Puppy Train programs and transferred ownership of the Petfinder site to the Bloomington Animal Shelter. After a successful 15-month run of its adoption programs, Pets Alive would instead work to reduce the number of unwanted pets entering shelters by launching the area’s first spay/neuter clinic, stating, “In order for a community to effectively address pet overpopulation, spay/neuter must be a priority. It’s the only way to decrease the number of animals entering a shelter.”

In March 2005, the Pets Alive Spay/Neuter Clinic opened its doors at its original South Empire Road location and began offering low-cost surgeries for both shelter animals and pets with homes. After months of fundraising for its capital campaign, Pets Alive became the first clinic in the Midwest to be based on the nationally recognized Spay/Neuter Response Team model of the Humane Alliance clinic in Asheville, North Carolina. In its first year, Pets Alive veterinarians spayed and neutered more than 8,000 animals. Pets Alive hit its 10,000th surgery by March 2006 and its 100,000th in November 2015.

When the clinic first opened, spay/neuter surgeries cost $45 for cats and $50 for dogs. Despite increasing costs of surgical materials in the past 11 years, Pets Alive currently offers cat surgeries for $30 and dog surgeries for $60, less than half of what it costs the clinic to perform them. In 2010, Pets Alive expanded its services to offer low-cost vaccinations, preventatives, nail trims, and more at its limited Wellness Clinic. Pets Alive does not offer full veterinarian services at its Wellness Clinic and refers clients to a full-service veterinarian for regular care. The goal of this program is to ensure all pets have access to basic health services, regardless of their owner’s financial position.

In September 2011, the clinic moved to its current location at 2444 South Walnut Street in the Lucky’s Market complex and now works with 22 transport partners and animals shelters, serving over a quarter of the state of Indiana. Pets Alive has become a highly effective nonprofit organization in Bloomington, dedicated to ending pet overpopulation in south central Indiana by offering high quality, low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and wellness services for cats and dogs.