Feeding The Elderly And Their Dogs

May 3, 2012
A place for mom

A place for mom

Meals On Wheels currently has a plan available in many areas of the United States where the elderly, as well as their dogs, are given nutritious daily meals.

Meals On Wheels has more than 5000 local Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States. Their service includes delivering more than one million meals daily, based on the principal of “neighbor helping neighbor” to combat hunger. Most of their clients are the elderly homebound who are unable financially or physically to prepare their meals.

Meals on Wheels is made up of volunteers who prepare and deliver meals daily. This is the only human contact many elderly living alone in the United States have each day. Delivery volunteers are also trained in how to respond if the resident doesn’t come to the door when they arrive. Many volunteers have literally saved lives by alerting EMS and family when no one answers.

Many elderly live alone and a dog is the only companionship they have. Studies have shown how dogs improve the quality of life for everyone. Unfortunately, many elderly have to make the decision to feed themselves or to feed their dog. Which puts the dog in danger of being placed in a shelter or given away. Either option is heartbreaking to the owner.

Keeping the family dog in mind, Meals on Wheels has started a program in many areas of the country. Now along with the food delivered for those who are on the program, they also deliver dog food. While each reference I’ve found has a different method of doing it, they all have one common goal. Keep the dog with the owner and provide food free of charge on a regular basis. Both money and food donations are needed to keep this successful program going.

Beaverton Loaves and Fishes located in Oregon as an example. They are a Meals on Wheels program who has teamed with the Sherwood Cat Adoption Team. Director Vicki Adams sent out a survey in her area to find out how great a need there was for dog food assistance. This was in September of 2009. To date over 750 pounds of donated food has been delivered. Dogs are included in similar programs.

This service has eased the burden of the elderly on how to feed their canine companions. Before this program was put in place, many had to share their own meals with their dog. Offering dog food ensures everyone the elderly can eat their entire meal knowing their dog also has food.

Many areas with Meals On Wheels not participating in this project have similar programs in place. The idea is to keep the dog in the home and out of the shelter. A good place to check is local food banks, as many now offer assistance for family pets.

One such organization is Meals Fur Pets. It was formed in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia and has the same goal. Feed hungry pets. They are a totally non-profit group. Their employees are strictly volunteers and they receive no money from the government to fund their program. Meals Fur Pets has a website here.

They operate in the same manner as the Cat Adoption Team food bank. They work thru various missions, food banks, and charity organizations to see that food is distributed to people financially unable to feed their dog. A $10 donation will feed a dog for a month.

Kudos to Meals on Wheels, Cat Adoption Team, Loaves and Fishes and Meals Fur Pets. I’m sure there are many more similar groups I’ve overlooked and I apologize. My goal is to show how different projects to help out pets have been put into place.

If you know of an elderly person needing help feeding their dog, check with local Meals on Wheels or similar food programs to see if they have a dog food plan in place. Other good places to check are local food banks and area churches. These are all good places to start.

I’m sure many haven’t considered adding dog food to their list of necessities for our elderly citizens. The elderly, the dogs and the animal shelters will all benefit because fewer dogs will be surrendered.

And a lot fewer hearts will be broken.

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