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People and Pets Together

By DWIGHT HOBBES

MPRnews.org

Probably most people”™s well being is intrinsically, inextricably tied to caring for a pet. The furry, four-footed friend you take care of who actually takes care of you. And who you need to feed. Tougher and tougher as financial times have grown, more than a few folk struggle to put food on the table, let alone fill a feed bowl.

    Enter, People and Pets Together (PPT) (www.peopleandpetstogether.org) to meet that vital need. As the corona crisis continues to rage, it”™s increasingly about more than having a cute critter on hand. That critter, for a lot of us, means company. For those who”™ve had Fido or Kitty awhile, it is the loving companionship of a family member. Ultimately, we”™re talking about the overall good. As Dr. Marie Louderback of the 3 Pound Cats clinic, fondly referred to at PPT as Dr. Marie, notes, “To be able to care for [one”™s] pet allows me to indirectly care for the family as well.” She adds, “The human-animal bond is…helpful with many human conditions.”

    That particularly includes people who live alone, especially during a pandemic that the medical profession expects to last until December. Characteristic of isolation is succumbing to depression and just plain loneliness. “A pet can remind you that you’re not alone,” says life coach Desiree Wiercyski at WebMD. “Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated.”

    This past year PPT, one of the only two pet food shelves in all of Minnesota (the other being Pet Resource Center, 1401 N 44th Ave, Minneapolis) gave out 96,097 pounds of dog and cat food on-site. While the available stock shifts, you can generally find brand names like Loyal, Pro Plan and Nutro (dogs) and Friskies, 9-Lives and Purina (cats). A constant is that it will be quality food, enough to last a month. Upwards of 1,000 households were served, including birds, guinea pigs, rabbits and fish. Importantly, their veterinary assistance grant program helped cover emergency bills for low-income homes: just because you”™re cash poor shouldn”™t mean your pet can”™t get healthcare.

    It also shouldn”™t mean having to give your companion away because your wallet is thin. “Our mission at PPT is to end pet surrender,” says Kate Meador, Program Director. “Our clients are faced with the question of how to keep their family, including their pets, fed. We”™re here to answer one of those questions. I work with People and Pets Together because I believe in our work and know that I could find myself in the same position that clients find themselves in. My pets are very important to me. My dogs have helped me through painful loss, hiked with me to undiscovered places, and kept me company during lonely moments. They bring me great joy and I never want to be without them by my side. And I wish that for every person who enters our door.”

    The initiative began 11 years ago with Kim Carrier who remains on the PPT board of directors and has proved a boon to pet owners ever since.

Pets & People Together, serving the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, is located at 3745 Bloomington Ave. in South Minneapolis. Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Saturday 9:30am ”“ 2:30pm. Phone: (612) 722-9998

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