Kim Carrier - Pets and People Together
Have you ever been sick or emotionally down and had your pet climb up next to you, loving you completely and easing your distress? Kim Carrier attributes that unconditional love from her two dogs with helping her heal. They were her "saving grace" in very difficult time.
Kim also recognized that others were not so fortunate. Job loss and medical crises, especially, can so easily push a family to the brink financially. In desperate times too many people feel they have no option but to give up their pets in order to feed their family. Yet living with pets can have such positive effects in times of instability. Especially for children, their animals provide emotional support and actual health benefits.
In 2009, in the midst of the adversity of the Great Recession, Kim founded People and Pets Together (PPT) to give families an alternative to having to surrender their pets. Through both the organization's own pet food "shelf" and the dedicated pet food shelves in partner pantries that provide food for people, nearly 8,000 pounds of pet food each month enables families to keep their pets. The program serves two very large, low-income neighborhoods in the Minneapolis area.
Volunteers—130 of them—plus donors, make the preventions possible. Some volunteers pick up the pet-food donations from bins placed in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul communities and from businesses that contribute and take them to the various distribution sites. Other volunteers, working at the PPT site, assist the guest shoppers in ways that maintain their dignity as well as fulfill the need. Veterinarian students from the University of Minnesota volunteer their time to run regular, subsidized vaccination clinics, which are also sponsored by PPT. Volunteer retention is high—people and pets do go together!
As someone immersed in this issue, Kim sees this model of helping families keep their pets as more cost effective to communities than building, staffing, and maintaining animal shelters. Families who lose a beloved pet to a rescue or shelter lose much more than just another mouth to feed.
Kim admits she had struggled in the past with the question of who deserves help. However, she came to the conviction that the answer is everybody. Everybody deserves love—love of a pet and love from volunteers committed to keeping people and pets together. In that knowledge and in her action Kim finds joy!
For more information, visit peopleandpetstogether.org or view their Facebook page.
Local food pantries are often prohibited by charter from spending any funds to supply pet food, but many would be willing to accept donations and stock a shelf within their pantry. Consider talking with food pantries in your area about the possibility.
Razoo Donations: https://givemn.org/organization/the-pet-project
Amazon Wishlist: amazon.com/registry/wishlist