« BACK


Keeping the Bowl Full

pets need food donations too

Tyler Jennings Henderson

Pets are known to increase health, happiness, and overall quality of life, so when families find themselves in a financially troubling situation, the last thing they want to do is part ways with Sparky. Lisa Wenholz of Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital, 4616 Commerce Valley Road, is hoping to help pets in households by collecting donations of cash and animal food in partnership with the St. Francis Food Pantry.

“We did a food drive last fall in November, but turned out to be mostly ‘in-house,’ ” she said “We still raised about $500, and along with donations from the Purina brand, we purchased over 800 pounds of dog food and 90 pounds of cat food.”

“About 25% of pets that are brought in are due to not being able to care for them, about 8% would be food-related. People wouldn’t be surrendering their pets if they have that resource to go to.” – Karen Rabideaux, Eau Claire County Humane Association

That partnership has led to donation barrels outside Pet Food Plus, 3460 Mall Drive, hoping to bring in more bags of food. Wenholz says that Oakwood Hills is trying to raise more than last year’s $500 to continue to keep up with the rising need. Anyone who qualifies for food through the St. Francis Food Pantry eligibility system can collect pet food. “People don’t realize that these people have pets, and their pets might need food too,” she said. “That’s why we thought we’d shed a little light on that too.”

Karen Rabideaux of the Eau Claire County Human Association sees this as a necessary step in slowing down the influx of pets at local shelters. “About 25 percent of pets that are brought in are due to not being able to care for them, about 8 percent would be food-related,” she estimated. “People wouldn’t be surrendering their pets if they have that resource to go to.”

The ECCHA also has a program available to people who are unable to attain pet food. WALOP, or We All Love Our Pets, is a program that in partnership with Meals On Wheels delivers pet food to senior citizens and people with special needs. Established in 2006, the program currently serves about 25 senior citizens in feeding their pets, with more opportunities available through application.

It’s easy to forget about pets in the larger picture of poverty, but luckily these organizations are there to catch any that might slip through the cracks.