Group assists pet owners falling on hard timesWritten by Scott McKimmy | | email@example.com
For the elderly, disabled, impoverished and others in need relying on pets for companionship, a new charitable organization offers assistance, providing food, supplies and support.
P.A.L.S. Ohio, or Pets Are Loving Support, established an Ohio chapter in July, founded by Kyle Traxler and the Rev. Dr. Forrest Osborn, in response to the effect of a lagging economy on low-income and struggling families and individuals with pets.
The organization addresses those “stuck between a rock and a hard place,” said Traxler, P.A.L.S. president.
“We discovered it more since the housing market and everything,” she said. “People are fighting for the jobs market and the housing market. They’re fighting to pay for their house or trying to keep their job and they’re unable to provide for their pet, too.”
P.A.L.S. provides an array of free services, including dog and cat food, cat litter when available, temporary foster care, grief counseling for clients whose pets die, referrals to the Toledo Area Humane Society and Toledo Animal Shelter, and even arrangements for veterinary visits. Traxler cited P.A.L.S. as the only organization of its kind throughout Ohio.
“If the person is one of our clients, we do not ask for any money for [transportation],” she said. “Our volunteers actually will just take the animal and our client over to their appointment and pick them back up when the appointment is done.”
The idea originated as a private rescue group for those choosing to give up their pets but were concerned about the animals’ well-being once placed in shelters or relocated to new homes under the care of new owners. Traxler and Osborn abandoned the rescue concept in favor of promoting distressed owners to keep their pets.
P.A.L.S. depends solely on contributors, such as Costco, and private citizens to support clients, who must earn about $18,000 or less to qualify, which Traxler said may soon rise to as much as $22,000. Currently a private charity with 501-3(c) status pending, the organization offers memberships for both individuals and corporations who wish to support its cause.
For more information, call (877) PALS-OHIO or visit the Web site www.palsohio.org.