In my household, the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season begins when leaves start turning amber, fiery red and then drop to the ground, crunchy brown. My dog, Cookie, loves snuffling through the piles that accumulate on our lawn. At this time of year, it seems we also start thinking about what we can do for others, how we can serve the less fortunate.
As the founder of Feeding Pets of the Homeless, I ask that as you take your furry friend for walks this season, or enjoy your purring lap blanket, that you also remember pets who are less fortunate.
With an estimated 3.5 million unsheltered people nationwide, and hundreds in our own community, research shows approximately 25 percent of them love and keep pets for protection and companionship. The animal-human bond is especially strong for people experiencing homelessness because those pets are with their people 24/7.
Since 2008, Feeding Pets of the Homeless, based in Northern Nevada, has worked in every U.S. state to provide food and veterinary care to more than 27,000 animals that homeless pet parents wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Funded solely through donations and grants, Feeding Pets has provided more than 2 million pounds of pet food and supplies distributed through local food banks, soup kitchens and boots-on-the-ground volunteers to ensure pets aren’t hungry. In addition, the organization also serves low-income families with basic wellness exams and vaccination clinics.
This holiday season let’s revel in the physical and emotional warmth created among our family, friends and furry companions. But let’s also honor those relationships by donating pet food or money for veterinary care for those in need.
For information, visit PetsoftheHomeless.org.
Genevieve Frederick founded Pets of the Homeless in 2006.