ENGLEWOOD — With the city’s “shelter in place” still in effect, everyone is feeling the strain, including our furry companions. As financial burdens mount for families affected by the COVID-19 crisis, PAWS Chicago’s Community Outreach Center is working to keep pet families healthy and fed.
The organization’s Englewood outpost recently delivered over a month’s worth of pet food and supplies to 28 homebound families, helping at least 100 pets in the area. But the organization is looking for the public’s help to continue their work.
The organization needs donations of cat food (wet or dry), dog food and cat litter. Paws also needs financial contributions to continue its community medicine program, which they provide free of charge.
Access to medical care and resources were barriers for places like Englewood and Back of the Yards even before the pandemic struck. Before PAWS started its Community Medicine Program, there were no neighborhood veterinarians.
While the need on the Southwest Side has always been great, the pandemic has made those needs more pronounced. And in a neighborhood with a high number of COVID-19 cases, servicing clients becomes a little more complicated.
“There’s definitely more anxiety and urgency right now. We’ve been getting a lot more calls inquiring about our pet food services,” said Laurie Maxwell, director of community outreach. “Food is the primary need right now.”
In adherence to social distancing guidelines, PAWS is also offering tele-health services and curbside exams.
“A lot of our clients have health issues, or fall into at-risk categories for coronavirus. Giving them the resources they need for their pets, taking that stress off of them so that the pets and the owners can be safe is important,” said Maxwell.
As for advice for pet owners dealing with the pandemic, it’s important to keep them calm, as pets can pick up on their human’s anxiety.
“Pets feed off of our energy, so if people have any questions, or see anything out of the normal, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to your veterinarian, even for simple questions,” said Maxwell.
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