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Senior shut-ins get pet aid from Animal Guardians
[September 03, 2009]

Senior shut-ins get pet aid from Animal Guardians

Sep 03, 2009 (The Deming Headlight - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Heart-wrenching stories of senior citizens choosing between buying prescription medicine or groceries are common. For those senior citizens with pets, often their only companions, there are more tough decisions to make.

Deming Animal Guardians began a program on Wednesday that aims to help homebound senior citizens keep their pets. The Bob Beckett Senior Center's meal delivery program will act as the feet on the ground to deliver cat and dog food to seniors and their pets in need.

"We realized how important pets are to senior citizens and that many are having a hard time feeding their animals as well as taking care of their own needs," Pat Danser, DAG President, said.

The animal guardians have distributed over 11,000 pounds of dog and cat food to needy families since 2008. The latest effort kicked off with 648 pounds of dog food and 90 pounds of cat food for pets of local seniors.

"All of our volunteers get immense personal satisfaction from knowing that people who love their animals will be able to keep them during these economic times," Danser said. "We always have difficult economic times in Deming, it's always a struggle. There are so many needy people." She said the program will not be able to continue without monetary donations or donations of pet food. Grants help fill the gap, but can't cover the needs of all local pets. The PETCO Foundation has supplied the DAG with a $2,500 grant and the Humane Society of the United States has supplied $1,000. The Humane Society grant goes toward pet food distribution at the Helping Hand commodity center.

"We never know if these will be renewed," Danser said of grants.

Pet food is planned to be dropped off at the senior center on a monthly basis.

"Some people will feed their animals before they feed themselves because those dogs and cats are so important to them," she said. "They're family members." The main war cry for the DAG is spaying and neutering animals. Some assistance is offered to low income families seeking help with medical costs.

"When they get the dog food, they are encouraged to spay and neuter," Kathleen Hollis, one of seven volunteers with this program, said.

For more information or to donate, contact Danser at (575) 544-2209. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed as a check to P.O. Box 1275, Deming, N.M. 88030.

Matt Robinson can be reached at To see more of The Deming Headlight, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2009, The Deming Headlight, N.M.

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