|Posted by [email protected] on October 23, 2011 at 12:55 AM|
When Adelle Taylor heard there were low-income seniors who were giving up their own food to feed their pets, she wanted to help. And that’s exactly what she did.
“They were sharing their Meals on Wheels,” said Taylor, 80.
Taylor quickly realized she needed to create a nonprofit organization to make it all happen. So, she put together a group of volunteers, applied for nonprofit status and formed Seniors Pet Assistance Network.The group started accepting clients in 2008, focusing on basic veterinary care, heart and flea medications and food.
Today, SPAN is assisting more than 40 pets, including two birds, in Dallas County with hopes of increasing the number as more funds are raised. SPAN’s current project is the Dog Days of Summer Pet Food Drive, which will run from Sunday through Aug. 24 with five local drop-off locations.
The demand for assistance has increased since the group’s inception, increasing the need for more volunteers and financial donations. Often, the seniors’ pets are seniors themselves and many times the only family member the pet owner has, Taylor said.
Pantry coordinator Sue McCombs, who lives near White Rock Lake, said she enjoys getting to know the clients on her bimonthly delivery route.
“I just feel like this is so little compared to what so many others do,” said McCombs, who mentioned a client she’s worked with for the past year whose health is declining. “She [the client] definitely counts on us.”
Most of the donations are one-time only, but all are greatly appreciated, said SPAN secretary Jann Horswell, who has been with the organization since its founding.
“I like to work with seniors and pets,” Horswell, 63, said. “So, the pairing of it is the perfect thing for me.”
In 2009, one donor made a significant contribution in honor of a favorite aunt who had passed away. SPAN honored the donor by naming the Aunt Louise Pet Pantry in Lake Highlands after the donor’s aunt.
Some area animal clinics work with SPAN to negotiate the cost of basic health care for pets in the program. These clinics include Love Freeway Animal Hospital, Cedar Hill Veterinary Clinic, Preston Road Animal Hospital, East Dallas Veterinary Clinic, Southern Oaks Animal Clinic and VCA Loop 12 Animal Hospital.
Taylor is quite the animal lover, housing several birds, which she trains to do tricks, and a dog that she lovingly said has “ADD.” Taylor and her husband, Jim, 80, have been married 58 years. He graduated from Highland Park High School in 1949 and she graduated from North Dallas High School in 1948.
The couple believes pets are an important part of life and are happy that what started out as an idea to collect money from pet-loving friends has blossomed into an organization helping a number of seniors and their furry companions.
“We kind of have our own meals on wheels for pets,” Taylor said.
Neighborsgo reporter Jana J. Pruet can be reached at 214-977-8349.
DOG DAYS OF SUMMER PET FOOD DRIVE
When: Sunday through Aug. 24
Drop off locations:
The Wellington, 600 W. Arapaho Road, Richardson;
Monticello West, 5114 McKinney Ave., Dallas;
Lucky Dog Barkery, 8320 Preston Center Plaza, Dallas;
Sandy Lake Rehabilitation, 1410 E. Sandy Lake Road, Coppell;
Accessible Home Health Care, 10300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 468, Dallas
For more information on SPAN, visit seniorspets.org.
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