vet volunteers checking up on pets

It’s no secret the pandemic has reshaped the world. With so many families struggling due to COVID-19, multiple organizations from around the U.S. have stepped up to lend a helping hand to those in need, including pets.

Pro-Bone-O Veterinary Care provides veterinary services, as well as food and supplies, for homeless families with pets in Lane County, Ore. The two separate clinics, run by volunteers, include services such as nail trims, flea treatments, and medical exams. The clinics also refer clients for spay and neuter surgeries or emergency medical procedures.

Due to COVID-19, the Pro-Bone-O Veterinary Care clinics are only offering pet supplies at this time, such as cat litter, pet beds, pet clothes, pet food, collars, leashes, and harnesses.

ProBoneO Vet Clinic

Photo Courtesy: Pro-Bone-O Veterinary Care Facebook Page

Health Enrichment for Low-Income Pets, or H.E.L.P., is a nonprofit that provides sweaters and flea products for pets of homeless families. The organization also provides pet food to those in need, as well as spay and neuter surgeries within a certain area. Volunteers are few due to the current pandemic, but with protocols in place, they are driving forward to reach out to those in need, especially now.

Jessie Joyner of Eugene, Ore. volunteers for both Pro-Bone-O and H.E.L.P., after having been homeless himself with his dog, and helps others in the same situation. With COVID-19 making it harder on families, Joyner knows services are needed now more than ever.

“I can pretty much name every animal that we take care of, but sometimes forget the names of the human that it [sic] pet belongs to,” laughed Joyner, when telling The Register-Guard. “Getting to know these clients, I can’t imagine some of these people functioning without their animal. Their pets keep them going. It keeps them alive. It is the one thing in their life they know loves them unconditionally.”

Community Pet Project

Photo Courtesy: Community Pet Project Facebook Page

Another organization aimed at helping others is the Community Pet Project, or CPP, which serves Hillsborough County, Fla. CPP provides food, treats, collars, leashes, beds, crates, and other donated supplies, free of charge, to families with pets who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or are unemployed and unable to feed their pets. CPP is an all-volunteer organization that relies on donations.

Rhonda Eldridge, president of Community Pet Project, or CPP, has stepped up her mission to help as many families with pets as possible during these difficult times. Eldridge told Bay News 9, “I say a lot of times that the majority of these people that those pets [sic] are the only reason they wake up in the morning, and their only reason to keep going.”

Halfway Home Pet Rescue, or HHPR, located in Caribou, Maine, also offers free pet food to those in need, concentrating its services in the Caribou, Presque Isle, St. John Valley, and Houlton area. The organization typically relies on donations but recently received a couple of grants to help keep its doors open. Executive Director Norma Milton told The County, “Honest to gosh I don’t think Halfway Home Pet Rescue would exist right now. I know we would’ve gone under if we hadn’t gotten these grants.”

Halfway Home Pet Rescue

Photo Courtesy: Halfway Home Pet Rescue Facebook Page

Halfway Home Pet Rescue has both been in need and swamped with need, due to the pandemic. The organization is operating with fewer volunteers, but many families are in desperate need of pet food and supplies.

“They just don’t know which way to turn, and we don’t want them turning their pets in to a humane shelter. That breaks up a family. The pet loves them, and they love their pet,” Milton told The County.

Working with the Aroostook Agency on Aging, HHPR has reached more people and pets in need, thanks to the Meals on Wheels program. With the organizations collaborating together, older clients are receiving much-needed food for both themselves and their pets.

“I was seeing a lot of our clients were all alone with only their pets for companionship, and I didn’t want them to have to choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pet(s). I was actually buying pet food for a couple clients out of my own pocket, but I knew the need was so great and I couldn’t do it on my own,” Erin Walsh, the nutrition services manager for the Aroostook Agency on Aging, told The County.

Diamonds in the Ruff

Photo Courtesy: Diamonds in the Ruff Animal Rescue

Keepers Mission, a nonprofit in Tenn., has teamed up with Diamonds in the Ruff Animal Rescue to provide free veterinary services for homeless men at the warming shelter in Jackson, Tenn., according to WBBJ. The two organizations also help to provide dog supplies to the homeless, such as leashes, collars, blankets, and food. Diamonds in the Ruff Animal Rescue is based out of Obion County in Northwestern Tenn., serving homeless dogs in the community through rescue and adoption.

And across the U.S., The Street Dog Coalition continues to operate its clinics during COVID-19, adapting to safety procedures. The main mission of the SDC is to provide medical and related services to pets of unsheltered people.

Featured Photo Courtesy: The Street Dog Coalition