‘Meals On Wheels’ For Pets Steps Up To Help Seniors Who Can’t Afford Dog Food
Pets improve our lives in many ways, and studies have shown that owning a dog or cat will do wonders for the mental health of homebound seniors. Unfortunately, many of these senior citizens can’t afford pet food and vet bills. When this issue was brought to the attention of Adelle Taylor almost ten years ago, she decided to do something about it.
Adelle was told by a friend working at Senior Source, a Dallas nonprofit which offers many services to elderly people, that some clients with fixed incomes were going without food or medical care for their pets. This inspired Adelle to create the nonprofit organization Seniors’ Pet Assistance Network (SPAN). Unfortunately, Adelle has since passed away, and the nonprofit is run by her daughter Laurie Jennings.
SPAN is essentially a Meals On Wheels for pets.
“It’s something you don’t think about,” Laurie said. “The individual who is living on a very limited fixed income loves their pet as much as you and I love our pets.”
Thanks to SPAN, seniors in Dallas County don’t have to worry about how they’ll be feeding and caring for their beloved pets. SPAN is made up of thirty volunteers who serve elderly people 67 and over, with incomes of $1,200 or less per month. The volunteers deliver pet food, cat litter, and other supplies to help seniors keep their animals healthy and happy. They will even transport pets to vet visits and cover the bill! In some cases, Laurie has helped to find new homes for pets after their owners pass away.
In 2018, SPAN delivered 662 bags and 3,804 cans of pet food, 64 buckets of kitty litter, and provided veterinary assistance for more than 60 animals. They know that the work they are doing is incredibly important.
“We’ve had children of clients tell us that the animal is what’s keeping their mom or dad alive,” Laurie said.
One person who has been helped by SPAN is James Evans, the owner of two rescue dogs named Renny and Rex. Volunteer Jeanne Marie Boyne delivers SPAN pet food to James every other month and she takes his dogs to the vet every year.
“It doesn’t take a lot of time,” she said. “And it can make a big difference for the animals and in someone’s life.”
Find out more about this in the video below.