Thanks to the generous support of our pet-loving friends at the United Way of Logan County, we are currently piloting a rollout of the Senior PetCare program in Logan County, offering food, treats, and toys along with much-needed veterinary care! Clients are eligible once they have been enrolled in the Meals-on-Wheels program for 60 days. In fact, the program has already helped cover veterinary care for two pets for Meals-on-Wheels clients in Logan County with the funding received from the United Way.
More than 70% of LifeCare Alliance’s clients own at least one cat or dog, and the bond with their animal is very strong. Candice LaFramboise, Senior Coordinator for Corporate and Community Engagement at LifeCare Alliance runs the Senior PetCare program says, “Many Meals-on-Wheels clients live on a fixed income, and offering veterinary care to qualified clients can ensure that their pets are happy and healthy. When the pets are well cared for, the clients will be too.” For some, their pet may be the only companion they have contact with throughout the day.
The Agency first learned of the need for a pet-specific program in the mid-2000s after discovering that some Meals-on-Wheels clients were feeding all or a portion of their meal to their pet. These individuals face barriers to obtaining pet supplies on their own, such as not having enough money to buy pet food or being physically incapable of getting to the store. As a result, LifeCare Alliance began accepting donations of pet food, treats, and even toys for clients living with companion pets pet welfare donations in 2007 and expanded the program to offer veterinary assistance in 2008. One Senior PetCare client explained the program the best when she said, “The most important part of the program is the help that I get for my pets; these are things I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. I’ve had my dog for 14 years.”
Although LifeCare Alliance’s Meals-on-Wheels Program operates in five counties in central Ohio—Franklin, Madison, Champaign, Logan, and Marion—Senior PetCare has primarily served clients in Franklin County. In 2020, Senior PetCare provided over 74,000 pounds of pet food to clients’ pets and covered vet care for 42 animals. In the first quarter of 2021, the program made 352 client visits and delivered 3,430 bags of pet food.
To establish the program in Logan County, we are providing pet food and veterinary assistance to our clients in need. This involves expanding pet food deliveries through our Meals-on-Wheels and AniMeals (pet food) delivery routes. We have also introduced veterinary care assistance to eligible clients in the county, which covers wellness exams, vaccinations, medications, and/or flea & tick preventatives. We want our clients to continue visiting their local vets in Logan County, so we will work with the clients and vets to pay for veterinary visits thus injecting funds into the county economy. The Agency continues outreach efforts in Logan County to gain additional volunteer, in-kind, and monetary support for the program.
-By Crystal Kurzen, Grants Manager, LifeCare Alliance