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Posted on 11-22-2013

Over 5 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year. Nearly 3 million will be euthanized, mostly due to over crowding and not enough people willing to adopt them. These numbers have been rising because of the financial struggles pet owners have been facing for the last several years. Not only are they struggling to keep their family fed, healthy and a roof over their heads, they also have their family pet. As a result, these families have had to surrender their beloved dog or cat to an already overflowing shelter.

In March of 2012 a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was started in Chester County called "Animal House Project Pet Food Pantry." The mission of the pet food pantry is to help keep pets at home and out of shelters by providing pet food and veterinary care to those in need. The pantry is there to ensure your pet will never go hungry. They distribute donated pet food, pet care items and veterinary vouchers for spaying/ neutering and vaccines (when available) to families in crisis.

In October 2013 the Pet Food Pantry grew to serve Montgomery and Berks county families as well. They have also moved the facility from Coartesville, Pa to a 3,000 sq ft warehouse in Pottstown, Pa. They distribute food from the Pottstown location on the first Saturday of every month, and have a mobile delivery day on the third Saturday of every month (weather permitting) in Downingtown, Pa, in the municipal building parking lot.

I have been volunteering with the Pet Food Pantry since it opened in March 2012. I saw an article in my local "Community Courier" on the front page announcing the opening of the pantry and I knew I wanted to help. We at Eagle Animal Hospital are now a "drop off" location for pet food or other pet items. We also have a donation jar on the reception desk. Over $400 in donations have been received so far, as well as hundreds of pounds of pet food have been dropped off here at Eagle Animal Hospital.

I have seen first hand the gratitude these families have when they are receiving pet food. You know you are doing a great thing when a pet owner comes to you crying, saying they don't know what they would do without this help and thank you over and over. Many have said when they get back on their feet, they want to donate back or volunteer. I am proud to be a part of this organization.

In order for the pantry to continue their great work, we need the community's help. We continually need pet food for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, etc... To date the pantry has distributed over 22,000 pounds of dry food, 12,000 cans of wet food, and 3,500 pounds of small animal food in 2013.

If you would like to donate or hold a pet food drive for the pantry please go to the website:

www.animalhouseproject.org

There you will find our how you can "Help us, Help pets". Eagle Animal Hospital serves Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.

Written by Vicki Guy, veterinary technician/ volunteer

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