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For the Love of a Dog

This article was written by Pet Community Center co-founder, former board member, and current Marketing Committee volunteer, Anna Henley. You can learn more about the author at the end of the post.

A recent social media post from McKamey Animal Center in Chattanooga brought to light a heart-wrenching decision made by a dog owner out of love for her dog. She was in a situation where she felt there were no other options to provide the best care for her beloved dog.

However, the post explains that the shelter didn’t judge the owner. Instead, they wanted the person to know they have resources and connections to help her, her kids, and their dog to stay together as a family. Their goal is to keep pets with their people. This is what animal welfare should strive for: to be a resource to help people help their pets, not judge them against idealistic standards.

We are all doing our best to provide the best care for our pets. As an adult, I’ve been incredibly lucky and very grateful not to be in a situation to rehome my pets. Were my cats always up-to-date on every vaccination available? No. Did my dog have the highest quality diet on the market? Nope. Have my pets been role models of behavior? HAHA!!! No! Did I love my dog and cats any less? Absolutely not!

The one thing I, the dog owner in the social media post, and other pet owners all have in common is our love for our pets. Pet Community Center (PCC) does not offer adoption services, but the organization does offer many other services pet owners need to care for their pets. The goal is to offer essential resources for pet owners to help them provide the best care possible for their pets.

Pet Community Center offers basic vaccinations for dogs and cats, as well as preventive medications for heartworms, fleas, and ticks. While these may seem minimal, access to these preventatives can be life-changing. It can be the difference between keeping a pet in a home where they are loved and entering the shelter system due to a serious medical issue because their owner is unable to afford treatment.

Spay and neuter surgeries are often out of reach to pet owners due to the costs associated with them. Pet Community Center helps pet owners by offering affordable spay and neuter services, as well as subsidizing the already low cost with financial aid. PCC wants every pet to have the opportunity to get spayed and neutered to prevent unplanned litters.

Food is the most essential need, but traditional food banks rarely offer food for pets. This is where the PCC Food Security Program comes in to fill the gap, providing pet food to their clients most in need. Since the program began in August 2022, PCC has already provided 9,602 pounds of pet food through the program, helping to relieve the financial strain of pet ownership for over 250 clients.

Sometimes our pets have undesirable behaviors that we don’t know how to change, and training resources can be overwhelming and full of conflicting information. Pet Community Center’s partnership with Agape Animal Rescue and Training Center allows their Pets for Life clients to get the help they need to modify their undesirable behaviors and become better family members.

The combination of these services keeps pets out of shelters. Does every pet get every vaccine known to their species? No. Does every pet get the absolute ideal food? Probably not. But these services are making a huge impact on our community. These services are keeping families together.

Your support strengthens these services. The month of February is a great time to share the love of your pet with others. Pet Community Center's annual fundraiser, My Furry Valentine, provides necessary resources for pets and the people who love them. Through the fundraiser, you can purchase a Valentine's Day package for yourself or a friend or share the love and donate one to a Pets for Life client. Because, in the end, it’s all about love.

About the Author: Anna Henley

Anna Henley is a co-founder and former board member of Pet Community Center and currently serves on their Marketing Committee. She has 20 years of experience in animal welfare, including working at animal shelters in three states, volunteering with multiple rescue groups, and helping people and rescue groups with pet training and behavior services.

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