December 20, 2016
For all of us pet lovers, it’s hard to imagine life without our furry companions. They provide unconditional love, endless laughter and often become more than a pet; they become a member of our family.
More than 30% of Cincinnatians live in poverty – that’s more than 86,000 individuals. Around the holidays we often think about helping our struggling neighbors by donating food and other resources, but what about their pets?
Many of us are so blessed to have the resources to provide food and veterinary care for our pets, but many of our neighbors who have fallen on hard times may have to choose between food for themselves or food for their pets.
At our own vet we’ve witnessed heartbreaking circumstances where people who truly love their pets cannot afford to provide the care they need. Many of them are elderly pet owners on a fixed income and even a small unexpected expense can turn into a financial crisis. Their hearts are certainly in the right place - and they have all the love in the world to share with a pet – but they simply don’t have the resources. In addition to financial stress, they suffer the guilt and pain of not being able to provide for their pet. And sometimes this means they’re forced to surrender their pet to a shelter. Instead of celebrating the holidays at home together, there is heartbreak and loneliness while the pet is scared and away from all it knows and loves.
This heartbreaking reality for so many of our neighbors compelled us to support Pets In Need - the only local organization that works to meet this crucial community need. By providing high-quality, veterinary care and pet food, Pets In Need keeps pets healthy and together with the people who love them. In honor of our precious dachshund, Steffi G., who passed away in 2015, we decided to sponsor the Pets In Need pet food pantry, now named Steffi’s Pantry. Our little Steffi was the happiest of dogs – especially when food was around. To to be able to provide food and nourishment to other pets in her name was the most fitting way for us to honor her memory and help our struggling neighbors.
The holidays can be tough on families financially, and there has been an increased need in our community, causing a shortage of food in Steffi’s pantry. Without the resources provided by Steffi’s Pantry, many of our struggling neighbors, especially those who are elderly, will be endangering their own health by splitting their own limited food with their pets. Some may even be forced to give up their beloved furry friends.
This holiday season, you can help keep pets home for the holidays with the people who love them. Please join us in helping to stuff Steffi’s Pantry by dropping off pet food or sending financial donation to Pets In Need, located at 520 W. Wyoming Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45215 or by donating online at www.PINcincinnati.org. Your generosity will make a difference by giving love, nourishment and happiness to pets and their families this holiday season.
Sara and Michelle Vance Waddell live in Indian Hill. They are the proud pet parents of three dogs - Oliver, Bella and Ziva.