PEDIGREE Foundation Rescue Dog of the Year Proves Power of Transport and Fostering to Change Lives

Chihuahua peeking out between flowers

Aspen the chihuahua found her forever home thanks to a shelter transport, and now she helps foster dogs find theirs  

FRANKLIN, TENN., January 25, 2021 – PEDIGREE Foundation today announced its 2022 Rescue Dog of the Year, a three-year-old chihuahua mix who is living proof that programs to end pet homelessness can make a real impact.

Aspen was born in a hoarding situation in Florida. She was put into foster care and, when old enough, transported to Providence Animal Center in Pennsylvania for a chance to be adopted. She found her forever family in no time, when soon-to-be dog mom Samantha spotted “this tiny, tail wagging, eager chihuahua mix sporting a bright purple collar.”

Transport Programs Save Lives

That’s the power of transport programs, explained Deb Fair, Executive Director of PEDIGREE Foundation. “Many shelters and rescues in the U.S. don’t have the resources to care for every pet until they find a home – particularly in areas where demand for adoptable pets is lower and adoption might take more time. Our research showed that in the South, 72 percent of shelters said they have more pets than they can adopt out.”*

To address this challenge, PEDIGREE Foundation makes transport programs a priority for its annual grants, helping move at-risk shelter dogs to areas where they’re more likely to be adopted. The Foundation gave numerous grants related to transport in 2021 as part of the $760,000 awarded to shelters and rescues across the country. One of those grants went to Providence Animal Center for its TAILS (Transporting Animals Into Loving Situations) program, which includes a network of 60 shelter partners across the U.S.

woman holding smiling chihuahua

Fostering Brings Families Together

Aspen and Samantha were a great match and quickly came to adore each other. However, Aspen struggled with being left alone. That’s when Samantha signed up to foster with a local rescue.

Aspen loved and was calmed by having another dog at home, and soon Samantha and Aspen had hosted Penny, Elliot, Charlie, Patty Girl, Prince Nacho, Franklin and other foster siblings.

Samantha uses Aspen’s Instagram page (@LuvBugAspen) to promote her foster charges and encourage people to adopt. Nashville-based pet photographer Wendy Jo O’Barr has lent a hand as well, taking stunning photos that helped show the foster dogs’ adorable personalities. All have found homes.

Rescue Dog of the Year

Plush doll that looks like a chihuahua

“Foster programs are another critical tool to help increase dog adoption, and another focus for our Foundation,” noted Fair. “We are thrilled that by celebrating Aspen as our 2022 Rescue Dog of the Year, we can not only share her rescue story, but also the role she has played to help other dogs in need. Aspen and Samantha’s story is proof that by supporting transport and fostering, we can work toward a world where every dog has a loving home.”

As 2022 Rescue Dog of the Year, a commemorative plush dog in Aspen’s honor will be sold by PEDIGREE Foundation throughout 2022. Proceeds support shelter and rescue grants to help more dogs find loving homes. Check out the Aspen plush dog at

Join the growing and passionate community of dog lovers who support PEDIGREE Foundation and its ongoing mission to help dogs find loving homes and end pet homelessness. Click here to sign up for the PEDIGREE Foundation newsletter and learn how you can help.

About PEDIGREE Foundation
We believe every dog deserves a loving, forever home. PEDIGREE Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. Nearly 3.1 million dogs end up in shelters and rescues every year, and too many never find a home. The Foundation was established in 2008 by Mars Petcare, maker of PEDIGREE® food for dogs, to help increase dog adoption rates. We’ve awarded more than 5,800 grants and nearly $10 million to U.S. shelters and rescues that help dogs in need. At PEDIGREE Foundation, we’re working toward a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. See how you can help at

About Aspen
Stay up to date with Aspen, her travels (she has been to every state on the East Coast), fashionable attire and future foster siblings at

* Data from online survey by KRC Research of 273 representatives of U.S. shelter and rescue organizations from August 9 to 25, 2021.

If you love dogs, you can help right now.

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