Furry Friends 2024

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Furry Frıends

Going to the Dogs

Gabriel’s Angels brings pet therapy to children in Valley schools

+ Sit, Stay, Style

Elevated accessories for our animal friends

+ Behind the Leash

A day with Heather Allen, President & CEO of HALO Animal Rescue

+ 2024 Animal Care & Rescue Resource Directory


Helping people, helping animals

Arizona’s housing crisis hits home

In a post-pandemic world, interest rates and housing, food, and medical costs for animals and people have increased dramatically. In the last two years, the homeless population in Arizona jumped 23% and the eviction rate increased 26%. Nationally, pet food prices jumped 23% and there is a critical veterinarian shortage.

This additional strain on individuals and families already struggling to make ends meet means that shelter intake rates increased while pet adoptions decreased.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust supports Fix.Adopt.Save., an animal welfare collaborative in Maricopa County committed to reducing overpopulation and euthanasia, increasing adoptions, and encouraging responsible pet ownership.


To find out where to spay/neuter your pet and more, visit
02 EDITOR’S NOTE Unleash the Love! 04 STYLE UNLOCKED Elevated accessories for our animal friends
COVER STORY Gabriel’s Angels brings pet therapy to children in Valley schools 11 BEHIND THE LEASH Heather Allen, President & CEO of Helping Animals Live On (HALO) Animal Rescue 13 FURRY FRIENDS 2024 Animal Care & Rescue Resource Directory 17 LAST LOOK Bouncing Back ORGANIZATIONS FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE + After the Homestretch Arizona Horse Rescue + Arizona Humane Society + Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue + Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary + Gabriel’s Angels + Helping Animals Live On (HALO) Animal Rescue + Hospice of the Valley + Liberty Wildlife + Pawsitive Friendships + Phoenix Animal Care Coalition (PACC911) + Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center + Two Pups Wellness Fund + Whispering Hope Ranch, a program of Child Crisis Arizona 11 TABLE OF CONTENTS Phoenix | Nashville 800 379 5777 Learn more at poweredbyprisma.com Streamline your marketing supply chain and increase speed to market Prisma is the marketing logistics partner for more than 350 top global brands. With technology and production solutions for every vertical, learn how Prisma can bring your message to market. Local Company. Global Results.

Unleash the Love!

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, most Americans (a whopping 62 percent) own a pet, and about a third (35 percent) have more than one. And these pets aren’t just companions; they’re cherished family members. A staggering 97 percent of U.S. pet owners say their pets are part of their family.

It’s no secret that the bond between humans and their pets is special. Pets provide constant love and contribute significantly to a healthier and happier life.

The animals in our cover story are doing that on a grander scale. The dogs of Gabriel’s Angels — a local pet therapy program — are traveling to Valley schools to make a paw-sitive impact on kids.

Speaking of impact, don’t miss our selection of pet products. From stylish collars to cozy carriers, we have great options for pampering your pets in style.

Ever wonder what a day in the life of a dedicated animal advocate looks like? Meet Heather Allen, the president and CEO of Helping Animals Live On (HALO) Animal Rescue. Join us as we tag along with Heather on her mission to create a better world for local dogs and cats.

Finally, don’t miss the 2024 Animal Care & Rescue Resource Directory. Whether you or someone you know is looking to adopt, volunteer or support local organizations, this resource is a great place to start.

Warmest wags,




Karen Werner


Andrea Tyler Evans


Tom Evans


Neill Fox


Cheyenne Brumlow


Abby Petersen


Carly Parkhill


Zenobia Mertel


Julie Coleman


Carey Peña


Lisa Grannis

Lindsay Green

Robyn Lambert

Morgan McClellan

Michelle Schneider


Scott Foust Studios


Latasha Causey

Russ Dickey

Rusty Foley

Sarah Krahenbuhl

Larry Lytle

Monique Porras

Brad Vynalek

Deborah Bateman

Linda Herold

3104 E. Camelback Road, #967, Phoenix, AZ 85016 480.622.4522 info@frontdoorsmedia.com | frontdoorsmedia.com On the Cover Special thanks to Triss and Taven from Valley Youth Theatre for being a part of our photoshoot. Triss is featured with Gabriel’s Angels therapy dogs Ziggy and Lacey on the cover. Photo by Scott Foust Frontdoors Magazine is dedicated to the memory of Mike Saucier. Ma gazi ne
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Photo by James Barker on Unsplash




At New Life Center, pets reside in the casita with families — not boarded in a separate kennel area — and freely play in New Life Center’s dog park.

50% of assault survivors reportedly delay or refuse to leave a dangerous situation for fear of what could happen to a beloved pet left behind, so welcoming pets eliminates a substantial barrier to seeking safety.

New Life Center needs your help, so we can continue to help others.


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Sit. Stay. Style. Elevated accessories for our animal friends
Hamster House | Starting at $36 Etsy etsy.com | 4 | FURRY FRIENDS 2024 STYLE UNLOCKED
FURRY FRIENDS 2024 | 5 |
Personalized Metal Chicken | Starting at $39 Callie callie.com Leather Pet Collar | starting at $79 Pottery Barn, several Valley locations potterybarn.com Top Fin Stone & Coral Aquarium Ornament | $59.99 PetSmart, several Valley locations petsmart.com Bird Tire | starting at $5.83 Planet Pleasures planetpleasures.com Reddy Bandana for Cats | $9.99 Petco, several Valley locations petco.com

Worthy Dog Party Crown Starting at $17.75

Target, several Valley locations target.com

Out-of-Office Pet Carrier

Starting at $159 Roverlund roverlund.com

Mini Vogue Headcollar & Lead Rope | $42.95

LeMieux lemieux.com

Since 1993, Your Part-Time Controller, LLC (YPTC) has focused exclusively on helping nonprofits with their accounting, financial reporting, and financial management needs.

We help animal welfare organizations by providing ongoing and interim accounting and Controller/CFO solutions, as well as a variety of specialized services such as financial reporting and forecasting, bookkeeping, budgeting, data visualization, and more.

“We needed someone with the expertise to help us quickly correct some things that were in place and to create new processes. Your Part-Time Controller was able to do both. They didn’t just crunch numbers: they made it a team effort and put a lot of thought and strategy into what we needed to accomplish.”
-Catherine Malkemes, CEO, Women’s Animal Center

Going to the Dogs


There are plenty of reasons why dogs are called “man’s best friend.” They provide companionship and love in an unconditional way. And, like any good friend, they are there when you need them the most.

The dogs (and humans) of Gabriel’s Angels take the latter idea to the next level. Founded in 2000, the

organization aims to help at-risk children through pet therapy. The goal is to use the connections between kids and dogs to help the kids develop some core behaviors — attachment, confidence, self-regulation, affiliation, empathy, tolerance and respect.

Like many nonprofits, Gabriel’s Angels had to reboot

by Scott Foust

a bit after the pandemic slowed down their work and their founder left the organization. But now they’re back at it, with some exciting new initiatives to spread the impact of pet therapy to kids all over Arizona.

“I say it’s a 24-year-old startup working to reinvent what we can do for the community,” said Melissa Steimer, the CEO of Gabriel’s Angels. “We know that kids’ needs have changed through the pandemic. There are a lot of mental health issues happening. In Arizona, that’s one of the biggest challenges we’re facing.”

Gabriel’s Angels does its work by identifying and training volunteers (canine and human) who work in teams to go to crisis centers and other places where children experiencing trauma and mental health challenges can participate in programs with the dogs. The organization has ramped back up

to now have more than 100 teams across the state actively working with kids.

And they may have found the secret sauce. Gabriel’s Angels is now expanding its work in schools in disadvantaged areas, where they can maximize their impact on the largest number of children possible.

“They have more of a consistency of kids, which is really helpful, and they can pull kids out of their classroom space to have smaller group activities,” Steimer said. “A lot of schools right now are doing that anyway, because of needing counselors at schools to help these kids with whatever their issues are. We have this audience of kids that need this support, and the schools are allowing these kinds of programs to come into schools.”

Kristine Kassel is one of the organization’s volunteers — along with her dog Teddy — and is a former board Gabriel’s

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Angels CEO, Melissa Steimer Photo by Scott Foust

chair for the organization. She has seen the impact pets can have in schools firsthand.

“I have witnessed direct impact individually and also on the larger groups of kids since Teddy and I have been at the same school for three years,” she said. “Now, we even see younger siblings of students that Teddy already worked with. There is no other program like Gabriel’s Angels. Personalized outreach from a fuzzy friend is a type of compassion like no other.”

Kassel cited the impacts of COVID and parents having to work longer hours as having a significant impact on the children she serves, as well as the access kids have to information — good and bad — through the Internet.

“The work has always been important, but I think today there is more of a need,” she said. “So the caring and outreach that a therapy team can provide to all students, especially those struggling, is priceless.”

One of the districts Gabriel’s Angels is most involved in is the Washington Elementary School District in the West Valley. Amanda Quine, the district’s director of social services, said the organization is currently working in three schools, with many more currently in the

pipeline and the potential to work in all 32 of the district’s schools.

The district signed a memorandum of understanding with Gabriel’s Angels for this school year that focuses on three program areas.

“One is all about reading, where kids can practice reading to the dog in a safe environment. If they’re uncomfortable with their reading skills or abilities, you couldn’t ask for a better place to take some risks and be as vulnerable as you can when you practice those skills with a dog,” she said.

Gabriel’s Angels is also doing small group interactions where the children work on some of the core values that will help them as they grow and mature. And, teams from Gabriel’s Angels are making community visits where groups of children have an opportunity to interact with pets.

The results of the reading program have been tangible, as have the behavioral benefits for the students. “It improves their coping skills, and in the reading group, you can see drastic improvements

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in reading skills,” Quine said. “Kids that have the opportunity to practice with the dog have seen significant growth academically. And those students’ reading abilities, comprehension, fluency — they are improving in all of that.”

But the improvements are more than academic. “Their whole presence is calmer, and it allows them to not only identify what those coping strategies are but to really feel them,” Quine said. “When we can feel the impact of something, it’s much more likely that we’re going to continue to practice it, because we like how it feels. We want to experience that all over again.”

Steimer said the organization is working diligently to plan for the future and expand its impact. Schools are an important part of that. She even sees Gabriel’s Angels as a resource in addressing issues such as school absenteeism and other core issues students and families face.

“Something we’ve been seeing lately is a shift in this realization that pet therapy has a place in helping to heal kids and to help kids show up at school more,” she said. “If we can bring the expertise of understanding how the pet can be brought into the solutions, that’s what we’re looking to do over the next 10 years.”

To learn more, visit gabrielsangels.org.

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Gabriel’s Angels volunteers and their pets enhance the social and emotional development of kids through the life-changing power of pet therapy. Photo by Scott Foust

A Day With


President & CEO of Helping Animals Live On (HALO) Animal Rescue


7:30 A.M. >> PUPPY LOVE

Veterinary medicine is my love. My little piece is being a doggy doula. I foster about 150 moms and babies per year in my backyard casita, so my day usually begins and ends with cleaning and taking care of them. I do this by myself seven days a week, including three to four loads of laundry a day, depending on how dirty they are!


My mother and I started HALO 30 years ago. My position has morphed to where I oversee all the financial and operational aspects of the business. I take care of all emails that come in and direct them to the appropriate area. This keeps me grounded and focused on the community’s needs and why they come to HALO. I make sure we provide excellent customer service by addressing any concerns because, at the end of the day, we’re here because we love animals. You’re not here for 30 years if you are not providing excellent care to your community.

Fundraising is a large part of my job. I spend a lot of my time writing, including copy for our direct mail pieces, our newsletter and thank you notes to our donors so they know how much they’re appreciated.


HALO shared space with Maricopa County Animal Care & Control from 2013 to 2017. During that time, we helped them increase their life-saving rate from 55 percent to 85 percent by changing the standards of care for the animals and establishing new protocols.

When this partnership ended, we moved into our own location, where we take in 3,000 to 4,000 dogs and cats a year. This move gave us the opportunity to expand and be a valuable partner to other organizations by accepting large volumes of their animals because there are too many in that area, and the animals are at risk for euthanasia. I forge relationships and communicate with partner shelters locally as well as in New Mexico, California and Mexico.


It has gotten harder for animal welfare in Arizona and across the country. There were 10 years where things were horrible, and we created strategies to save more lives, such as bottlefeeding programs and trap-neuter-return programs for cats that weren’t adoptable.

The economy taking a turn for the worse over the last two years impacts the animal population. People have to move in with family or downsize from a house to an

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Heather Allen with a pug puppy that was surrendered.

apartment where pets are not allowed, or there are breed or size restrictions. This, coupled with the usual life events of a family member who passes away and doesn’t have a plan in place for their animals, has left families scrambling. It takes longer for animals in our care to get adopted, which means that we cannot save as many because they stay in our care longer. HALO is focusing a little less on taking animals from our partner shelters and accepting more animals from the public due to an increased community need.


An important part of my job is to set the tone for the team on who we are and what we’re here to do. We try to find the positive in things and look for ways to help where we can, because it’s hard to see all these stressed animals that want to go home and don’t understand. It can be overwhelming for your heart.

I accept the sad parts of seeing people in really difficult situations. Our job is to help people with their pets, remain compassionate and understand that they don’t tell us their whole life story. We shouldn’t expect them to. We should always come from a place recognizing they need us and don’t need our judgment.


I considered becoming a veterinarian, but there was no vet

school in Arizona when I was in college. I love the medical aspect because it keeps my heart happy. At HALO, I have the opportunity for hands-on work and am involved in making medical decisions for treatment and intake.

Two years ago, nine Goldendoodle puppies were abandoned in a crate behind the shelter. We learned they had Parvo, and I decided to take them and worked from home for six weeks. I created a Parvo ICU and set catheters, ran IV fluids and gave thousands of injections over the six weeks. Two didn’t survive, but I am still in contact with the families who adopted the puppies. Seeing my babies grow up is pretty awesome.


I take care of mom and the babies I’m fostering when I get home. I have two human children, but they are 17 and 21, so they are self-sufficient. I joke that I raised my kids as part of the dog pack because they were always surrounded by animals, including seven dogs, four cats, two parakeets, two chickens and a snake.

The thing that makes HALO unique is that we’re 30 years old, and the founders are still here. Our passion and drive have not changed, and we haven’t lost sight of the mission. We’re still the same people who started HALO because of our love and desire to help, and we’re still here doing it.

To learn more, go to halorescue.org

If you’re an animal lover, consider choosing Gabriel’s Angels as a charity when filing your state taxes. We are one of the few animal-related charities that offers you a chance to make a donation and get it all back with the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. With your gift, we can reach more vulnerable children who are hurting and in need of the unconditional love and support of a therapy dog. Visit us online at gabrielsangels.org or follow us on social media @gabrielsangels Change a child’s life through the power of pet therapy with your tax credit. Get up to $938 for 2024! Use QCO #20449 on form 321 when you file.* *Tax circumstances vary greatly. Please consult your tax advisor for specific questions related to your tax situation. Scan to give your tax credit. INTERACTING WITH A DOG CHANGES YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY




Our mission is to give ex-racehorses a second chance.

We rescue retired racehorses. These athletic stars, bred for heart and intelligence, deserve a second chance. Help them find their new home “after the homestretch.”

You can make a difference in the lives of rescued racehorses. We rely on volunteers, donors and grant partners to fulfill our mission. Consider volunteering your time, adopting a horse or sponsoring one of our amazing horses!

1328 E. Maddock Road, Phoenix, AZ 85086

call: (623) 205-8528 visit: afterthehomestretchaz.org


Established in 1957, the Arizona Humane Society is dedicated to saving the most vulnerable animals and enriching the lives of pets and people.

With a dedicated team of staff and volunteers, we provide expert medical care, shelter and love to thousands of animals each year, working to give them a second chance at life. Our mission is to end animal suffering by keeping pets in homes, advocating for the voiceless through legislation, educating the next generation, and working with local partners. Our new Rob & Melani Walton Papago Park Campus anchors our multiple-campus System of Care, joined by our South Mountain Campus, Sunnyslope Campus’ veterinary clinic, as well as our mobile veterinary unit and PetSmart adoption center. Together, they enable us to transform animal welfare in the Valley and beyond.

5501 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85008

call: (602) 997-7585 visit: azhumane.org

Frontdoors Media
Photo courtesy of Whispering Hope Ranch
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Our mission: Help overlooked senior dogs find their forever homes.

Forever Loved Pet Sanctuary has been rescuing and adopting out senior dogs who are 7+ years old since 2013, and the success stories are powerful! Unfortunately, euthanizing senior dogs at county shelters is common due to a lack of space and a focus on younger, “more adoptable” dogs. Once in our safe haven, we aim to provide them with proper medical care and then place them into appropriate forever homes that will provide a high quality of life, love and care in their remaining years.

P.O. Box 12142, Scottsdale, AZ 85267

visit: foreverlovedpets.org


Through the life-changing power of pet therapy, Gabriel’s Angels enhances the social and emotional development of vulnerable children.

Our work is driven by a passionate belief that the unconditional love of a pet can heal a child. We provide goal-related visits that improve the quality of children’s lives through the power of the human-animal bond, teaching core behaviors that children might not learn through traditional channels. We deliver pet therapy programs to children in schools and nonprofits for no charge, because every child should receive the unconditional love of a pet to help them learn, grow and heal.

7878 N. 16th St., Ste. 130-02, Phoenix, AZ 85020

call: (602) 266-0875 visit: gabrielsangels.org


Hospice of the Valley’s pet therapy teams bring joy to everyone they meet.

As soon as they walk into a room, our patients and families feel better. There is something very comforting about the unconditional love that pets freely give — not to mention all of the precious cuddles, tail wags and wet kisses! Our cheerful teams visit our patients in homes, group homes, independent and assisted living communities, inpatient care homes, nursing facilities, trade shows and expos. Suitable pets include dogs, cats, bunnies and miniature horses with a current pet therapy certification.

1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014

call: (602) 636-6336 visit: hov.org/volunteer/pet-therapy



For over 40 years, this volunteer-driven wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organization in the heart of Phoenix has had a national impact.

When Arizona residents find animals in trouble, Liberty Wildlife is there with a 24-hour hotline and intake window open seven days per week. In 2023, when avian flu struck the endangered California condors, Liberty Wildlife was called to care for the sick birds. One little miracle bird was even hatched at the facility. Liberty Wildlife also produced an Emmy-winning documentary, “The Weight of a Feather,” that has garnered honors at film festivals nationwide. This is all in addition to providing high-quality environmental education to school groups, conservation services, and preserving Native American and Southwest cultural heritage through our acclaimed feather repository.

2600 E. Elwood St., Phoenix, AZ 85040

call: (480) 998-5550 visit: libertywildlife.org


We help individuals with special needs who are not engaging, complying or progressing in their therapy by providing Animal Assisted Therapy.

Pawsitive Friendships was established in 2014 by Tosha Tharp-Gaitanis, a mother of a son with autism. She discovered that his progress improved by incorporating her French bulldog, Zoe, into his therapy. This became the model of our organization. Our mission is to use the unique bond between individuals with special needs and pets to help them achieve their goals through adaptive activities. We collaborate with special education schools and adult day programs. Contact us to learn how your pet could make a pawsitive impact, whether it’s a dog, cat, pig, mini horse, alpaca, bird, reptile or another pet.

3317 S. Higley Road, #114-778, Gilbert, AZ 85297

call: (480) 353-7833 visit: pawsitivefriendships.org


PACC911 brings together 140 animal welfare organizations throughout Arizona to create a potent animal rescue community that works together under a unified umbrella to fill a vital community need.

PACC911 and our 140 proud partners helped save over 23,000 animals in 2023. Our programs include large-scale adoptathons in the spring and fall, Chuck Waggin’ Pet Food Pantry, Mercy Paws, and our largest program, Critical Care Program, which provides medical funds to our rescue partners to save abused, neglected and injured animals. Save the date for our annual signature fundraiser, “Glimmer of Hope,” this year celebrating our 25th anniversary on Nov. 3, 2024, at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn. Visit our website for more information.

10645 N. Tatum Blvd., Ste. 200-516, Phoenix, AZ 85028

contact: info@pacc911.org visit: pacc911.org

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Furry Friends


Saving our wildlife, one life at a time.

Southwest Wildlife rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured, displaced and orphaned wildlife. Wildlife education includes advice on living with wildlife and the importance of native wildlife to healthy ecosystems. Educational and humane scientific research opportunities are offered in the field of conservation medicine. Sanctuary is provided to animals that cannot be released back into the wild.

27026 N. 156th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85262

call: (480) 471-9109 visit: southwestwildlife.org


Two Pups Wellness Fund was launched in 2017 with a mission to help save the lives of ill, injured, abandoned and neglected animals through animal shelters and rescue organizations.

Our vision is to stop the unnecessary suffering and euthanasia of treatable animals by helping to alleviate the financial burden on the rescue community and allow pets to receive the care they need to return to a healthy, pain-free life. To date, Two Pups has proudly helped more than 10,000 animals. Through its dedication to funding medical care and microchips, we are saving lives.

4130 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

call: (480) 490-7136 visit: twopups.org


Offering transformational all-ability camp as part of the extended services of Child Crisis Arizona.

Whispering Hope Ranch is a 45-acre all-ability facility in the cool pines of Payson, Arizona, designed to accommodate children with physical, mental and sensory disabilities and welcoming groups for uniquely adapted camp sessions. The heart of the Ranch experience is the healing that happens between campers and our gentle animal residents, many of whom also live with disabilities. These powerful experiences allow campers to experience the joys of camp, the human-animal connection, building strength, improving medical compliance and showing them they are not alone.

817 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa, AZ 85201

call: (480) 834-9424 visit: childcrisisaz.org/whisperinghoperanch




Since 1986, Brambley Hedge Rabbit Rescue, a nonprofit and no-kill shelter, has saved the lives of more than 3,500 domestic rabbits in the Valley.

Capri was saved by the Humane Society of the White Mountains and brought to Brambley Hedge in 2019. Found as a stray by good Samaritans, she had a broken front leg and air gun pellet wounds throughout her body. Brambley Hedge’s director of adoptions and fundraising, Kim Dezelon, adopted Capri, who has fully recovered from her injuries and is living a wonderful life with her best friend Pascal, a fellow Brambley Hedge alum. The two are inseparable and totally devoted to each other, Dezelon said. Visit bhrabbitrescue.org to learn more.

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Animal print is always in style.

My Sister’s Closet and its family of brands has given millions to nonprofits benefiting homeless pets and wildlife.

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