Animal Shelter Up for People’s Choice Award: Read Amanda and Honey’s Story

by Devyn Giannetti , Communications Specialist, Department of Communications

Amanda and HoneyEach year, the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign invites adopters to share stories of how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards.

Amanda’s story won the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter a 2020 Holiday Wishes Award of $5,000!

But there’s still time to vote for Petco’s Choice Awards so the Animal Shelter can win an additional $25,000. Voting closes December 16.

Vote Here


Amanda and Honey

Amanda Kopec is a Deputy Dog Warden for the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, working with over 2,000 dogs every year.

After some difficult times in 2019, she started to question her abilities and felt like she was struggling. Then Honey came along.

Honey had arrived in the shelter in late 2018 and was failing to thrive and had been returned after several adoptions. Honey was as sweet as her name suggests, but she would throw up every type of food she was given and was losing a lot of weight. After extensive testing she was diagnosed with congenital megaesophagus.

Although work was being done to manage her condition, she kept losing weight. With a small staff and around 100 dogs in the building at any given time, Honey couldn’t be given the attention she needed at every meal, and she needed at least four meals a day. So Kopec took Honey home as a foster, hoping she could help make her condition better.

Luckily, as the months went by, Honey improved. Kopec would get up early every morning to feed her in a special highchair which held her in a position that enabled her to eat without throwing up. A second highchair was also donated to the shelter so Kopec could bring Honey to work with her to feed her during her lunchtime.

When she was no longer constantly hungry and could keep meals down, her personality grew as much as her weight. She went from a lethargic 60 pounds to a vibrant 80-pound dog who loves every second of life.

“Many medical professionals told me that she would only live a year if I was lucky,” said Kopec. “Those comments that should have discouraged me somehow empowered me to do more. As I saw Honey succeed, I also started to see changes in myself. Honey was embracing every moment, which made me see the bright side of her recovery instead of dwelling on the negative. She reminded me that time, patience, and love can do so much for even the most broken.”

Once Honey was stable, Kopec adopted her and she became a welcome addition to Kopec’s “pack” at home.

“Honey continues to show me what unconditional love is,” said Kopec. “In my professions we see so much heartache. At times we feel defeated. Honey demonstrated how to be a warrior and how to keep going, no matter how bad the statistics are. She is proof that we experience so many small victories, and sometimes we just need to look a little deeper to see them happening every day.”