How you can save a life: Project 121 launches 3rd year of action for animals

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ interview by Yetta Gibson

Posted on July 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 23 at 4:05 PM

PHOENIX -- On an average day, 121 homeless animals find their way to the Arizona Humane Society. Many of them are sick or injured, requiring treatments that can be very expensive. All of them need care, love and a second chance at life.

Project 121: Action for Animals is your chance to help the Arizona Humane Society give these animals what they need, including forever homes.

AHS spokeswoman Bretta Nelson on Thursday introduced 3TV's Yetta Gibson to two of the countless animals relying on Project 121 -- Pele, a 9-week-old kitten rescue from the Yarnell Hill fire area, and Bernie Mac, a dog that had second- and third-degree burns on about 40 percent of his body and is recovering thanks to an AHS vet and Emergency Animal Medical Technician.

While he's healing nicely after about four weeks of care, it will still be another month or so before Bernie Mac is ready to become part of a family.

"He's not quite ready to find his perfect home yet, but he's well on his way," Dr. Melissa Thompson, the AHS vet who has been caring for Bernie, said.

"Pele and Bernie would not be given this second chance if it weren't for the community's support of AHS and Project 121," Nelson said.

The average cost of care for a single healthy animal is about $315. That's just for the basics -- food and water, vaccinations and spay or neuter surgery.

And then there are the animals like Bernie, the ones that have special -- and often expensive -- needs.

"Care like Bernie's gets into the thousands of dollars," Nelson said. "Our trauma center is there for homeless pets. There is no owner paying the bill, but we have amazing community supporters and donors.

"They are really what sustain us," Nelson continued. "We are a non-profit organization. We could not care for the 44,000 animals who come in without [the help]."

This is the third year for Project 121: Action for Animals.

"The need is so great for adopters and for help," Nelson told Gibson.

To get involved, check out Project121.org and make a donation either online or at any Safeway store through the end of July. You also can join the online movement to help raise much-needed money.

The project culminates on  Saturday, Aug. 24, when 3TV will carry the 15th annual Pet Telethon presented by GoDaddy at 12:30 p.m.

Animal-loving Arizonans came through in fine form last year. The 2012 Project 121 Pet Telethon raised more than $445,000 for the Arizona Humane Society.

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