Lending a Hand to Help a Paw

Hillary Bell, Cassandra Kyser

Pet Food Donors Sought for Pantry

Many organizations throughout the community donate food and money to feed people in need of a helping hand. What many donors don’t realize is that these people frequently have pets, and they are searching for places that provide food for them as well. In order to help the furry members of these families, the Chippewa Valley Cat Club and Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital have teamed up anually to raise donations.

Over the past few years of this collaborative effort, the donations have grown. Last year 6,621 pounds of pet food was delivered to St Francis Food Pantry, one of the few places that distributes pet food to the needy locally. This year the drive will run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. Boxx Sanitation will be providing the donation containers for those who want to help the cause. Donors are encouraged to drop off any pet food, treats, or cat litter to participating businesses. All donations will be taken to St. Francis to be distributed.

There are many generous businesses participating in the drive, including Boxx Sanitation, Chippewa Veterinary Clinic, Eau Claire Animal Hospital, emBARK, Kindness Animal Hospital, Lake Wissota Animal Hospital, Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital, Paws and Claws, Pet Food Plus, Northside Pet Hospital, Riverview Animal Hospital, St. James the Greater Catholic Church, The Ark Animal Hospital, Unity Christ Center, Vets Plus Inc., and Westgate Animal Hospital.

Pet Food Plus and HuHot will also be hosting an event at Pet Food Plus on Nov. 4 from 10am to 2pm to help raise money. Guests will be able to purchase up to four bean bags per try at a cost of $1 each to win some great prizes from HuHot’s bean bag toss game. All proceeds will be used to buy additional pet food to be donated to St. Francis.

If you’d like to make your business a donation collection point, contact Ted with Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital at (715) 835-0112 or Carol Larson of the Chippewa Valley Cat Club at (715) 836-0092. –Hillary Bell

Dunn County Shelter Feeds Pets in Need

When people struggle financially, it can affect their ability to care for their pets. The Dunn County Humane Society (302 Brickyard Road, Menomonie, 715-232-9790) offers programs that assist pet owners in need.

The Little Pet Food Pantry was built after DCHS began receiving regular calls asking for help with pet food. The pantry is a small wooden cupboard located outside the shelter, and offers free dry pet food and other small items. It is accessible to anyone, 24/7. Simply take what your pet needs; you don’t need to talk to anyone or sign up. The Little Pet Food Pantry is stocked by donations, so anyone who can help is encouraged to do so. “We’re seeing very steady usage. Community members are donating, but more would be welcome,” says DCHS Executive Director Josh Dalton. Big, bulky bags of dry pet food should be repackaged into smaller, labeled bags. DCHS asks that canned pet food not be left, as the pantry is not temperature-controlled.

In addition, DCHS has partnered with local veterinarians to offer low-cost spay and neuter services. Having your pet spayed or neutered is critical to helping curb the pet overpopulation crisis. The Feline Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Program helps defray the cost for cat owners. The Bully Breed Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Program is specifically for dogs that are American Staffordshire terrier and pit bull terrier breeds and mixes. If you are a Dunn County resident and would like to see if your pet qualifies for either spay/neuter program, please contact DCHS.

Pet owners can attest to the strength of the human-animal bond. It may be a cliché, but it’s true: Pets become a part of our family, and these programs are here to help. –Cassandra Kyser