I was thinking the other day about the dog our family had when I was growing up. She was a beagle named Tiny and was loved by our whole family. When Tiny died, my siblings and I were so distraught we had to stay home from school.
Everyone who has a pet knows that their dog or cat is a beloved member of the family. As I look back on my childhood, I realize that having Tiny did more than add fun and companionship to our lives. Because we as children had to take care of Tiny, we learned about taking the responsibility of caring for someone besides ourselves.
I also was reminded about the importance of our pets by the recent publicity surrounding the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. During that devastating time, so many people were separated from their pets or had to give them up because their homes had been destroyed. Being able to keep their pets would have been a source of comfort to them.
Pets are something we have to deal with when working with our assistance clients. Of course, Indiana law will not allow us to provide assistance to clients for their pets. In fact, the law would consider a client to have wasted his or her resources if the client is spending large amounts of money to keep numerous pets. “Wasted resources” could prevent a client from qualifying for help from the township to meet the client’s own basic needs.
But, we also understand how important a pet is to a person or family that has experienced a job loss or is going through a difficult time financially. We want to work with that client to find resources in the community to help the client keep his or her dog or cat.
I recently became aware of a new Pet Food Pantry in Fort Wayne. The Pet Food Pantry provides pet food at no cost to pet owners who are struggling financially and cannot afford to feed their dog or cat. The Pet Food Pantry is similar to food banks available for low-income persons.
Pam Tracy, who is coordinating this needed service in our community, said the mission of the Pet Food Pantry is to keep pets home with their families. Economic reasons account for approximately twenty-five percent of pets that are surrendered by their owners to local shelters. Since the Pet Food Pantry opened in June of this year, it has provided over 1,200 pounds of food to almost 400 pets.
The current distribution site for the Pet Food Pantry is the HOPE for Animals Spay/Neuter Clinic, 1333 Maycrest Drive off of Lake Avenue west of Catholic Cemetery. The next distribution will be from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 18. Additional distribution dates and information can be found at the website www.fwpetfoodpantry.com or by calling 478-4851. Wayne Township hopes to work with the Pet Food Pantry to become a distribution site in the future.
If you are interested in donating to the Pet Food Pantry, Ms. Tracy said the group would appreciate donations of dry or canned dog and cat food. The food can be brought to the distribution site when it is open or placed in the bin at Pet Supplies Plus on Coldwater Road. Ms. Tracy said checks, gift cards or pet food coupons could be mailed to Fort Wayne Pet Food Pantry, P.O. Box 10126, Fort Wayne, IN 46850.
Pet food also is available for low-income persons from the Allen County SPCA on Thursdays from 12 to 6 p.m. at 4914 Hanna Street and limited pet food is available from Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control. Before going to Animal Care and Control, a person seeking help with pet food should call 427-1244 for details.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
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