Crossed Paws Pet Rescue gives tips for gifting a pet for the holidays

WINTER HAVEN – With the holidays being a time when people consider giving pets as gifts, Stefanie Badillo, owner of Crossed Paws Pet Rescue, urges people to remember that they are committed for life.

“Your pets are forever. They’re inconvenient, “said Badillo, 48.” They’re not meant for every time your life changes – they don’t change with you because they have feelings too. They should be treated like your children. You would not give your child away because you are moving.

Make movements:Katie Worthington Decker leaves Winter Haven Chamber for Lakeland job

Help the homeless:Lakeland nonprofit receives grant to serve chronically homeless

Badillo has been saving dogs for 10 years and started Crossed Paws in Winter Haven as a nonprofit in 2018.

Some recent arrivals at Crossed Paws Pet Rescue in Winter Haven.  ERNST PETERS / THE BIG BOOK

The organization’s mission is to “use the power of our community and online resources to find stable and loving families for all of our amazing pets.”

“My passion is to go and trap the sick and the unwanted or the skin and bones in the woods who barely have a day to live,” Badillo said. “Most of my dogs, I have pictures from yesterday and today and they don’t even look like the same dog.

Dogs in Badillo’s care have their medical needs taken care of by a veterinarian, and receive vaccinations, spaying, heartworm treatment, and a microchip, according to the Crossed Paws website.

“I am strictly giving,” she said. “Anyway donations, every dollar goes to my dogs.”

Grant recipient:The Kathleen Historical Society and the Lake Wales History Museum receive state grants

Badillo doesn’t euthanize animals and says she makes room for any dog ​​she rescues.

To adopt from Crossed Paws, there is an application process. Adopters must have permission from their owners if they are renting or providing proof of ownership. In addition, anyone who has returned a pet for a reason beyond their control will be refused.

Stefanie Badillo, owner of rights of Crossed Paws Pet Rescue and her team lr Francis Aponte, Laci Brooks, Mariann Motola with some of their rescue dogs at the Winter Haven shelter.  ERNST PETERS / THE BIG BOOK

“If you are adopting a puppy for Christmas, you need to make sure it’s something the whole family wants,” Badillo said.

If you need to hand over a dog you received from Crossed Paws, Badillo asks you to return it to him.

“And for some reason I don’t care that the dog is 10 years old from now, and you can’t keep this dog, you have to give it back to us,” she said. “We don’t. Want you to make it somewhere else.

“Harder than a Rubik’s Cube”:Polk County awards $ 10.5 million in COVID money to 42 entities

Laci Brooks with one of their rescue dogs at Crossed Paws Pet Rescue in Winter Haven.  ERNST PETERS / THE BIG BOOK

In 2020, Badillo recorded a total of 898 dog adoptions and his facility is still full of dogs awaiting homes.

“It’s a lifelong commitment and they are like your children,” she said. “They have to be taken care of because they cannot take care of themselves.”

Crossed Paws Pet Rescue is located at 2720 Havendale Boulevard in Winter Haven. For more information on adopting a dog, visit

Tips for gifting a pet

  • Make sure everyone in the house is comfortable with having a pet and understands the responsibilities of having a pet
  • Allow the recipient to choose a pet to bond with
  • Make sure you spend enough time at home during the holidays to start training the animal

Previous Donations Possibly Stolen From ADOPT Pet Shelter Mailbox
Next Long Island pet rescue stories from 2021