TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - During the COVID-19 crisis, pets probably love the fact that their parents are home for hours on end. However, staying home could mean money is more difficult to come by, forcing some people to make tough decisions when it comes to animal care.
That’s why the Pima Animal Care Center started an outreach program to help pet parents take care of their beloved animals during the pandemic.
“Things are just so difficult for people right now,” Nikki Reck, the public information officer for PACC, said. “Some folks are having to make really difficult decisions right now like ‘do I pay this (veterinarian) bill or feed my family?‘”
In May, PACC received $15,000 from the Banfield Foundation and South Fork Foundation to kickstart the program geared toward helping pet parents pay for non-surgical, minor medical issues like ear infections, allergies and the like.
“We are here to help and we don’t make any judgments,” Reck said. “We just want to make things easier for our pet owners because pets do best in homes that love them.”
The program is able to help people like Teresa Switek and her 2-year-old dog, Molly. When Molly needed shots and x-rays in June, the outreach program was a big help during the pandemic.
“I’m on Social Security and disability and I’m like ‘how am I going to get her shots? What am I going to do if she’s sick?” Switek said. “I only can get her food and give her love and attention.”
Switek said she was able to get Molly the care she needed without the financial hit.
“If the outreach program wasn’t there, she wouldn’t have been able to get what she needed,” Switek said.
Though the outreach program is geared toward less-intensive medical issues, Reck said people who are looking for affordable surgical options will be pointed in the right direction.
Right now, PACC also offers pet food assistance to those financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Pet parents can pick up food donated by GreaterGood.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting community-serving organizations across the country, at the shelter’s drive-thru line. The first-come-first-serve program offers one-gallon bags of food for households in need of pet food and is open three days a week.
Reck said, as of July 22, PACC has given more than 120,000 food bags to pets in need.
Pet food drive-thru weekly schedule:
- Sundays: 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at PACC
- Tuesdays: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Armory Park, 222 S. Fifth Ave., 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Santa Rita Park, 401 E. 22nd Ave.
- Wednesdays: 9 to 11 a.m. at Primavera Foundation, 811 S. Sixth Ave.
To apply for the medical outreach program click here.
Those interested can donate food, purchase items for pets in foster care, or make a monetary donation at friendsofpacc.org.