Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What happens when you can't afford to feed your pets?

     In today's community who hasn't heard of the importance of adoption, of spaying and neutering and of helping animal shelters.  We all take this as common knowledge in the struggle to help our animal companions in need.  But have you ever stopped to think about those animals who have a home in which they can no longer be fed?

    With today's economy many people are facing very difficult financial decisions.  Yet so little attention is given to those who have to decide whether they should surrender their beloved animal companions to a shelter or let these animals go hungry because they simply cannot afford to feed themselves let alone another animal.  Every day thousands of people in the United States are losing their jobs, many  have been unemployed for many months and are depending on government aid to survive, yet government assistance programs do not give funds for the assistance in animal care.  People are facing hunger themselves and their pets are being surrendered to already over crowded shelters or suffer a slow and painful fate at the hands of starvation.  Even more amazing is that there are those who are going hungry but share the little they have with their pets and as touching as that may be neither are receiving the aid that they need.  

     In the BlogPaws conference of 2010 keynote speaker Mike Arms spoke of a program that is very much like the human program meals on wheels.  It is called Animeals, an organization that among other things brings food to those that are unable to provide food for their pet companions such as the elderly and the disabled.  Animeals also works as a food bank for animals in need and recently has taken on the task of offering shelter to animals in need as well. 

    Animal food pantry?   We have all heard of food pantries, either from your local church group, school or on the news .  Many community groups hold canned food drives to donate to food pantries and help the hungry.   But have we forgotten that animal companions need to eat too, they are being hit just as hard by our current recession.  Animal food pantries can be found around the country and may be only a click away in your own community.  If there are none in your area think of how many animals and people in need you could help by starting one.  Contact your schools, churches, pet supply stores any one that will listen and offer the possibility of starting a pet food drive to gather supplies that animals in need may have. 
Contact your local animal shelter for help when distributing items.  Determine how to get the materials to those who need it most. 

   Many times I have felt frustrated because I may not always have the time or the space to foster another animal, to save a companion from being held in a cage in a shelter.  But what a wonderful way to help, to spread the word about the need for pet food pantries. 

   We can not forget those in need, all of them.   every night there are animals in homes that go to sleep hungry, along side their human companions that are faced by a terrible decision.  By creating more food pantries or supporting those already around we help alleviate the pain of quite possibly our own neighbors.  
No one should have to face the decision of feeding themselves of feeding their pets.  contact your local senior citizen community center and find ways to help those seniors that need help feeding their pets.  Contact local pet businesses and ask them to allow you to hold pet food drives in their stores.  Have these stores provide a sort of drop off location for others to leave the food they want to donate. 

1. Contact local groups and shelter ask if they participate in a food pantry for pets
2. Search online for pet food pantries in your area
3. Team up with local senior citizen centers and hold pet food drives there to help bring food to seniors who can't afford it
4.  Spread the word that there are resources available to help those with low income care for their animal companions so they don't surrender their animals to already overcrowded shelters
5.  As said in BlogPaws be the change, your actions can help in the struggle for animal wellcare

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