Photo by Itchmo Community member. Copyright 2009. Used with permission.
The current time of economic difficulties has created serious problems for many pet owners. What happens when, due to pay cuts or job loss, people can no longer afford to feed their pets, or provide medical care? What happens when pet owners lose their homes, and are forced to move into housing arrangements where some or all of their pets will not be welcome? What can people do? Heartbreaking situations like these are being faced every day.
We have a few suggestions and resources that may provide a little help to those who need economic supports to keep their pets. These are not meant to be all-inclusive, but to serve as a starting point for your own further investigation.
First, our community has compiled a list of pet food pantries (thank you so much, especially to menusux!)
Most of these operate in a way similar to food pantries for humans. If you are having trouble affording pet food, check out one of these pantries in your area. If you are among the lucky people who have a little to spare, consider donating!
For those who are served by Meals on Wheels and similar programs, some of these agencies also have “Kibble-on-Wheels” programs that provide food for cats and dogs. Ask the person who delivers your meals if this is available in your area.
If you are forced to move into a housing situation where you will have to give up some or all of your pets, please be aware that turning them over to a conventional shelter is not likely to result in a new home, but more likely will result in euthanasia. All animal shelters in the United States are severely over-burdened in the best of times, and simply do not have the resources to manage the increasing numbers of homeless pets today. One option might be to find a no-kill shelter or breed rescue organization in your area, who will place the pet in a foster home. A second choice might be to place your pets with friends, neighbors, or relatives who would be willing to take them in. This could be done on a temporary basis, until you are in a better financial situation. Never abandon your pet thinking that the pet will be able to find food and take care of itself! You are more than likely condemning your pet to a short life filled with suffering.
To ease the burden on animal shelters, make sure your pet is spayed or neutered, to avoid adding more unwanted animals. If you have trouble affording the surgery, many local organizations such as humane societies or ASPCAs offer free or very-low-cost spay and neuter programs. Call and check to see if this is available where you live.
For those lucky people who are in a better financial position, please consider donating to a pet food pantry, rescue organization, or animal shelter. In today’s world, this is needed more than ever. If you cannot contribute money, you might still be able to contribute your time to a worthy pet cause. If you have the space and resources, consider fostering a pet for a rescue organization or for someone you know.
Do you know of other resources available to pet parents in need? Have other ideas? Please post them here!