A very happy moment at the 2009 Blessing of Animals and Pets.
Too much time has passed since what was then our upcoming annual Blessing of Pets and Animals was announced. The October service was well attended with many familiar faces and many new ones. Proud parents took photographs of their pets as they were blessed by Father Heschle, and we managed to take a few, too, which you can find at our Picasa Web Albums.
The months since the Blessing have been full of activity. Students at the East Prairie School (Skokie) organized a pet food collection drive during November. Pet Supplies Plus customers contributed food to a collection bin in the weeks before Thanksgiving, too. One of our volunteers busily sewed catnip squares and dog tugs to include in the holiday gift bags we prepare each year for clients and their pets.
Our holiday gift bags are simple, but this year we were reminded just how much a simple gesture of kindness matters. On our distribution day in December at Chicago Uptown Ministry, the Ministry’s food bank was full – a reminder that agencies simply cannot accommodate all the people who need their help and sometimes must turn people away. But everyone who needed pet food received it, along with their holiday treats. Later that afternoon, we received the following email from someone who has since become a volunteer:
“I was sitting next to a very distraught woman today while waiting to see my doctor. In trying to soothe her, pets came up, and she said that she was able to get food for her cat but not herself today. She said the pantry had these wonderful bags of things, including a catnip square. I told her I knew who ran the pantry and that I would pass along her appreciation. Really, she kept mentioning the Christmas bag over and over.”
December was busy not just with holiday preparations, but also with arrangements for veterinary care for a number of the pets we serve. A donation at the end of 2009 made it possible for us to provide free neuter/spay services to AniMeals’ clients at Tree House Humane Society’s BDVM MacLean Clinic in December and to sponsor a free Wellness and Vaccine Day at the Clinic early this year. This donation was made to establish the Edna C. Riley Neuter/Spay and Wellness Fund in honor one of the founders of AniMeals. Please visit our Riley Fund page to learn more about Edna and how this fund benefits clients’ pets.
Guy relaxes on Angela's shoulder after seeing the veterinarian at a Wellness and Vaccine Day.
The Wellness and Vaccine Day was a big success and another one is scheduled for this Sunday, March 28th. The Day is again made possible by Tree House and the BDVM MacLean Clinic, Dr. Sarah Stredney and Dr. Jason Doukas – both donating their services, our volunteers, and the Riley Fund. Organizing neuter/spay and wellness days takes a bit of advanced work – registering clients and getting paperwork signed and in order; verifying their appointments with them and confirming transportation arrangements; taking carriers to clients at least one or two days prior to their appointments; preparing carrier cards; planning driving routes; and transporting pets to and from their appointments.
As March comes to a close, we will continue making the most of what we have to serve the people and pets who need AniMeals. And, we will prepare for our annual Pet Memorial Service, which will be held on Sunday, May 30th at 4:00pm at St. Paul’s Church by-the-Lake, 7100 N. Ashland, Chicago. For more information, please visit our Events page. Although it is a more solemn occasion, it is nonetheless a meaningful one as we celebrate the animals that have brought so much joy to our lives.