No question the pandemic has been hard on all of us, but pets are also part of the family, too.
With food insecurity in the state sky high, we can’t forget our animals’ needs.
Local welfare experts stress if owners are struggling, there is help out there.
Staff at the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford has seen the toll this pandemic has taken on pet owners.
“We had so many people reach out and they said to lose their job was hard enough, but then to think about losing their furry family member was something that was unbearable to them,” said shelter director Laura Burban.
So along with providing pet food, litter and supplies to folks struggling, they wanted to help with care, too.
“We reached out to the John T. and Jane A. Weiderhold Foundation and they supplied us with a $10,000 COVID grant and that grant helped people keep animals in their homes that were going through medical issues,” said Burban.
Like Jamie Hatchett dog’s Kingsley who got hurt, “the next thing I saw was this dog come out of nowhere and wiped him out. Bit his left leg on the back.”
Out of work, the grant money helped the East Haven resident and 35 other families with medical care during these difficult times.
“I would not have been able to afford, I know the costs, the costs would have been at least 2 to $3,000.”
The shelter works with Madison Veterinary Hospital who sees these pets at a reduced rate.
“I drove up to Madison, he had a dislocated leg. Sorry,” said Hatchett emotionally wiping away thankful tears. “They gave him the treatment.”
“Most of these families would sacrifice what they could to take care of their pets, but at this point, there’s no give anywhere,” said Madison Veterinary Hospital manager and certified vet technician Michelle Staffa.
When that grant money was used up in just a couple of months, a local business that doesn’t want to be named matched that donation allowing the shelter to serve even more people and their pets.
Another place in our state where help’s available for pets: The Connecticut Humane Society.
They have three pet food pantry locations throughout our state, low-fee medical services, and they’re partnering with social service organizations, too.
“Everybody seems to be sensitive on both the human side and the animal side to try and keep the bond between pet owners and our pets in a time where we need them more than ever,” said executive director James Bias.
Animal experts we spoke to say there’s no shame in asking for help.
Times are tough.
While Hatchett couldn’t foot the hefty bill, he’s paying it forward by helping a pal adopt a cat from the Branford shelter as a thank you.
“COVID’s not going away anytime soon, so the fact that they saved my dog’s life and redid his leg and redid his knee, and for anybody else they’ve helped out there, it’s essential,” said Hatchett.
“We just want to make sure if people need help that they’re reaching out and they’re not embarrassed because everyone’s going through stuff right now,” said Burban.
For those who could use the extra assistance, you can contact the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter by phone at 203-315-4125 or through Facebook.
They’re also happy to take financial donations too, as is the Connecticut Humane Society.
The humane society has a form to fill out for access to their pet food pantries at all three of their locations in Newington, Waterford and Westport.
Their reduced-fee Fox Memorial Clinic is located at their Newington space.
CHS is also working with social services agencies to help people who have housing issues due to having a pet.
Plus, they remind NBC Connecticut that many human food banks also help with pets.