A new initiative from the Golisano Foundation aims to promote animal welfare and the bond between people and their pets.
It's called "Bailey and Friends," named after philanthropist Tom Golisano's rescue dog, a wheaten terrier.
Foundation staff are on a listening and learning tour to learn more about the needs of animal welfare and rescue groups, veterinary clinics, and other programs that focus on spaying and neutering, pet adoptions, fostering, and community education on responsible pet ownership.
"We are looking to start small, so, sort of the mom and pops ... the smaller agencies," said foundation director Ann Costello. "Perhaps they're in rural communities where services are limited, and connections to vet services or rescue situations are limited."
The grants also will be available for emergency relief efforts. Before the initiative was established, Golisano's yacht crew transported 50 dogs to safety in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian in September.
"Tom has had rescue dogs himself, and he has experienced the joy that they bring to him and his family," Costello said. "He also knows from that experience that there are tremendous needs for dogs that need homes and veterinary care. So he thought, let's see what we can do."
An Oneida County-based organization won the first grant from the program. Freedom Guide Dogs breeds, trains, and places guide dogs with people who are blind and visually impaired or have other disabilities.
There are grant applications and more information at golisanofoundation.org/Bailey-Friends/About.aspx.