"Paws" a moment, and think of the animals

Image Credit: WIKIPEDIA

A Vernon woman leans on her animals when she's feeling down, and wants that comfort to be available to all pet owners this Christmas.

Inspiration struck when Sandra Meidinger heard about a couple and their three dogs who found themselves with nowhere to live in Kelowna this winter. The couple had been renting a garden shed in Kelowna until a city inspector forced them out. Finding a place that would accommodate their entire family—canines included—at the rent they could afford has proved difficult for the couple who refuse to give up their animals.

Meidinger started to think about what services were offered in Vernon, if any, to support needy people and their dogs.

"There are places for people, but not for dogs," she says.

Knowing how important her own dog and cat were in her life, Meidinger sought a way to fill the pet-services gap in Vernon.

She approached the Upper Room Mission about her idea, and two projects emerged.

One will provide Christmas pet stockings to animals, and the other will establish bi-monthly pet soup-kitchen days at the Mission.

"The animals are loved," Meidinger says. "They just don't always have the necessities."

She encourages people to consider donating items to those who can't afford to spoil their pets at this time of year. The pet wish-list includes dog and cat food, treats, collars, leashes, toys and sweaters. Donations can be dropped off at Healthy Spot Nutrition and Supply on 48th Avenue. Healthy Spot is a partner in the pet stocking project, as well as the pet soup kitchen initiative.

Meidinger notes the stigma around the homeless and their animals as a problem society faces.

"Some people think if a person can't support their animal, then they should give them up," Meidinger says. She believes animals are an essential part of a healthy community, and that separating people from their pets is not the answer.

"When you're down and out, you turn to your animals," Meidinger says. "It's important to keep animals with their families."

"One man at the Mission told me his dog taught him how to love again," Meidinger says of the words that will stay with her, and remind her why she's doing this.

Sandra Meidinger is spearheading the project with Lisa Taron and Carol Anderson. For more information on how to get involved, or how to donate, contact Sandra at: 250-540-0828 or by email at smeidinger@hotmail.com

—Charlotte Helston
chelston@infotelnews.ca
(250)-309-5230


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