Throughout this post, I’ve included descriptions of some of the families we serve. By sharing their stories, we hope to paint a picture of some of the amazing people that have become a part of our community. Though our “Rainy Day Fund” we provide supplies to families in need such as pet food, treats, leashes, collars, toys and anything else we have that can help! Of course, names and some details have been changed for privacy purposes.
When I moved from Los Angeles back to the Antelope Valley 8 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was the drastic number of people needing help to care for the pets they already owned. These weren’t irresponsible breeders or animal collectors in over their heads. The people I met loved their pets, but for a variety of reasons, found themselves short on cash and resources and needed temporary help.
There are also people that need help for longer periods of time due to their age, disability or income restrictions. They have no hope for an increase in income, yet they had a pet they could no longer care for the way they could before.
Should they have to give up the cat they’ve had for 10 years because they can’t afford cat food this month? Best case scenario, the cat will have to deal with stress, anxiety and possible illness. Worst case, she will lose her life. How is that fair to anyone – the cat, the human or the shelter that takes her in?
John has had several spine surgeries and deals with chronic pain on a daily basis. Yet he scrapes by to ensure each of his 5 dogs has enough to eat. In addition, one of his dogs is diabetic and requires constant monitoring, insulin, and regular meals.
Over my many years working in animal rescue, I’ve often heard the opinion that "if you can’t afford a pet, you shouldn’t have one." Perhaps you are one of the people that has had that very thought. I know I have said it myself in the past. In most situations, I agree with that statement. We would never knowingly adopt a pet to someone that doesn’t have the resources to care for them. That’s a no-brainer. But when someone has a pet and then find themselves down on their luck, is the situation that clean-cut?
Barbara and Greg almost lost their house in the Tick fire. It was badly damaged and unlivable. They are living in an RV with their 2 children and 5 cats while they get back on their feet.
For many people I know, the concern is over someone getting a “free handout.” I understand where that feeling comes from. But what is so wrong about helping someone down on their luck to keep a pet that makes their life better? Also, the cost of keeping a pet in a shelter or rescue and rehoming it is typically much more than keeping it with its owner.
Yes, we have met people who were caught taking our donations to resell. We’ve had people get upset with us when we limit how much pet food we can give at one time. Yet, the majority of people we serve are kind, grateful and simply need some help.
Louis and Michelle both lost their jobs. They are currently living in their truck because the local homeless shelters won’t allow their two elderly dogs to stay with them. No family or friends can take the dogs temporarily.
Every pet owner knows how much a pet gives back to our lives. No, they don’t tidy up or cook dinner for us after a long day at work. But every day when I come home, my two dogs look at me like I’ve returned home victorious after a day of defending the world from a zombie apocalypse! If everything else about my day sucked, at least they think I’ve hung the moon! What about those times we are heartbroken, lonely or scared? My cats always find me, plop themselves on top of me and purr all the negativity away.
Emma is a retired elderly woman with several cats of her own. Yet with her limited income, she rescues cats and places stray cats. She also feeds several feral cat colonies across the Antelope Valley.
I know there were times in my life when finances were tight. If the only decision I had was to let go of the animals that shared my day to day life, it would have broken me. Who do we think we are to judge people down on their luck and decide they shouldn't be allowed to continue sharing their lives with a pet that makes them feel adored and appreciated?
Everyone we work with has a unique story and circumstances. But they have one thing in common. They adore their pets as much as you and I. The only difference is a temporary lack of resources. Thanks to amazing supporters like you, we can keep these families together as long as possible. We, the families and the pets we serve, thank you.
If you would like to donate to our Paws to Remember campaign this holiday season, we'll deliver a hand-signed Holiday card and goodie bag to one of the many families we serve. Thank you for being a partner in supporting these amazing families as they survive these difficult times.