Animal Chronicles: Safety net for pets – and the people who love them
By Joe Lisella
We see it all too often: a member of our community going through a difficult time in life abandons their beloved pet to the Animal Protective Foundation (APF) because they are struggling to provide their animal with the essential care they need and deserve.
Whether it’s a job loss, a costly health crisis, or some other setback, these pet sitters are suddenly faced with a heartbreaking choice.
At the Animal Protective Foundation, we believe no one should have to make the choice to give up their beloved pet because a temporary circumstance means they can no longer afford pet food, essential veterinary care or other costs related to the health and welfare of their pets.
To help these pets, the APF announced its goal of creating a Pet Safety Net at our recent Capital Region Furball Auction and Hairball Gala. Our amazing guests have contributed over $70,000 to help these Schenectady County pet owners with veterinary care, vaccinations, nutritious food, and other services.
Assistance will only be provided to pets whose guardians are low-income seniors or who have documented hardships such as unemployment or other challenges that prevent them from providing essential care for their pets . This is a helping hand, not a handout, and all funds will go directly to vets and other providers to ensure funds are only used for pet care.
In addition to proving genuine financial need, guardians will also be required to contribute what they can towards the animal’s care. The Pet Safety Net is not intended to provide ongoing care – it will only provide assistance for immediate needs.
We will work closely with veterinarians and others to provide discounted services and items, and the APF pet food bank, vaccination clinics and other programs will be expanded to meet this increased need.
Based on our success, we also hope to work with our community organizations to create free quarterly community clinics that will provide preventative veterinary care and supplies to pet sitters in need.
We hope to launch the Pet Safety Net in 2023, but we will need to raise enough funds to launch a two-year pilot program to establish a network of vets and others who will work with us to care for pets. These animals. Services can only be provided on the basis of available funds, so we will depend on the generosity of animal lovers in our community to launch the Pet Safety Net and prove its viability and need. Thanks to our Fur Ball supporters, we’ve come a third of the way.
Once we have built a foundation, we will approach foundations and other philanthropic organizations for funding for a program that will significantly reduce animal suffering in our community. If we can get enough support, we would like to expand the program beyond Schenectady County to the entire Capital Region.
To learn more about supporting the APF Pet Safety Net, please visit www.animalprotective.org/safetynet, email [email protected] or call 518-374-3944, ext. 122.
Joe Lisella is executive director of the Animal Protective Foundation (APF). APF contributes Animal Chronicles articles and welcomes animal-related questions and stories about people and animals in our community. Visit animalprotective.org, follow us on social media @AnimalProtectiveFoundation or by email [email protected]
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