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I was discussing the importance of the human-animal bond today with my PetPAC colleague, pet photographer Patrick Nau. We noted the current expansion plans for the business Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet, where Nau’s beautiful pet portraits are on display and for whom he does newsletter and advertising photography.

I wondered what might allow Chuck & Don’s to achieve success like this in the midst of the Great Recession, then I answered my own question. Studies have shown that pet-related businesses are one of the few recession-resistant ventures. Many people, myself included, will sacrifice their own comforts to provide for their animal companions. Why is this, when so many of us are losing sleep at night over our climbing levels of debt and dwindling incomes? It’s certainly not “rational.”

What I decided must be a motivating factor is the fact that our companion animals are our “anchors to sanity.” (Patrick really liked that phrase.) With them we find a relationship wherein we get out of it much more than we give, no matter how much we give. What work or interpersonal relationship can consistently boast that? Being around our animals lowers our blood pressure, reduces our stress, makes us feel unconditionally loved and accepted, gives us a sense of being necessary to another living being, etc. Is it any wonder we place such a high value on this relationship?

When the rest of our lives may appear to be spinning out of our control, we know we can still go for a walk with or play fetch with our dog, sit quietly in a rocking chair with our cat, talk to our birds, and so on. We are reminded by our animal companions of the simple pleasures, of the joy to be found in living in the moment. We may not be able just now to shell out money for expensive trips to Cancun, all the latest in techno-gadgetry, or visits to a high-priced psychiatrist to diminish our stress, but as long as we have our dearest four-legged (two-winged, etc.) friends with us, we just may not have as great a need for any of those things. —Sid

My husband, Anthony, with Blanche and Oliver

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I recently got to participate in a fundraiser for the Pet Project and later met the founder of this wonderful organization, Kim Carrier, that is committed to helping families keep their pets with them despite financial hardship by providing a Food Shelf service for companion animals. Please read on to learn more about this dedicated nonprofit and do what you can to support its efforts. —Sid

Our Mission:
The Pet Project helps people keep their pets by providing pet food and basic supplies to those who are struggling.

The Pet Project also provides connections to basic veterinary care and information on finding pet-friendly housing.

Why We Do It:
Good pet owners have deep connections with their pets. Anyone who’s ever lived with an animal knows that they give us much more than they could ever take. We would really like to change the way the world thinks about relationships with pets and the role they play in our lives. The lessons of empathy, compassion, and responsibility that our pets can teach us shouldn’t have to be lost due to poverty or unexpected life circumstances.

Equal to the human experience of that loss is what the pet is losing. None of these sweet creatures should have to lose a loving home. Shelters are over-crowded and underfunded. Rescue groups are bombarded with phone calls. Let’s leave them to do what they do best — take in unwanted, abused, and neglected animals. Let’s support them by not asking them to take in cherished pets. Together, those of us who love and get love from our pets can help others enjoy the same experience. Together, we can foster hope, confidence, and good health for families and their pets.

Who We Are:
We believe that the way we treat the least fortunate among us, those with the quietest voices, those with the least power, and those who reach their hands out for help is what defines us as a society. We are people who find great courage in unexpected places, epiphanies in fleeting moments, and inspiration in the darkness. We believe that if you have more, you share it; if you know more, you teach it; if you have love, you give it.

Kimberly Carrier
Founder of The Pet Project

ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • Dog Night with The Swarm3/28/2010
    What a great event!  The Lacrosse Swarm is hosing a Dog Night on April 17th.  This will include a…
  • Click This Link!3/18/2010
    Help Cargill give Second Harvest another semi truck load of pet food!!!  They gave 38,000 lbs, let’s get another…
  • Volunteer Opportunities!2/15/2010
    If you’re interested in volunteering for The Pet Project and doing something really worthwhile for the community, please follow…
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