The BISSELL Pet Foundation

by Elysian Magazine
Cathy Bissel with her dogs

Helping animal shelters around the country caring for homeless pets

IN 2008, CATHY BISSELL ADOPTED her first dog. His name was Bear and he was six years old. She found him at the local Humane Society. Bear was “gorgeous, regal, and gentle,” and happily, he fit in beautifully with Cathy’s family, their other dogs, and a cat. Between 2011 and 2017, Taz, Riley, KC, and Bo were added to Cathy’s adopted canine family.

But for Cathy, that wasn’t enough. Raised from childhood with dogs, Cathy knew she couldn’t adopt every stray or homeless pet that crossed her path—but she did know she could do more. As Director of Corporate Affairs for her family company, Bissell, Inc., she thought up a way. In 2011, she founded BISSELL Pet Foundation (BPF), a nonprofit organization where she could fuel her love for dogs in a meaningful way by making a commitment—and difference–to animal welfare across the country.

The goal of the foundation is to reduce the number of animals in shelters and rescues and find loving forever homes for them. To that end, BPF has, to date, awarded millions of dollars to an expanding partner network of animal welfare organizations in all 50 states and throughout Canada. BPF supports animal welfare organizations and provides important resources to underserved communities through pet adoption, spay/neuter programs, vaccinations, emergency services, and an extensive microchip program, co-founded by Cathy, called, which unites lost dogs and cats with their owners.

Between six and seven million pets enter shelters each year and tragically, over one million are euthanized for want of an adopted home and the result of no funds to maintain the abandoned cats and dogs. BPF provides much-needed financial assistance to help shelters in their efforts to find loving homes but also provides emergency services to pets who fall victim to human-made and natural disasters, such as hurricanes, civil unrest, disease outbreak, and puppy mill raids with emergency grant funding through the BPF National Shelter Alliance program, which helps shelters around the country to prepare for, and deal with, the unexpected.

Cathy “urges everyone to open their hearts and adopt a shelter pet. It isn’t too late to give a pet a second chance.” It will change an animal’s life forever—and yours, too.

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Cathy Bissell is featured in ELYSIAN’S Winter 2021 Issue as one of our Inspiring Women

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