Council on Aging secures access to Veterinary Care Grant

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Meals on Wheels recipients within Chatham County who double as pet owners will have access to several veterinary care services after the Chatham County Council on Aging was recently awarded $8,000 through the Access to Veterinary Care Grant from Meals on Wheels America.

While the Council has operated a pet program since 2015, the primary focus has been providing pet food for dogs and cats. The program, which will be entitled “Who Let the Paws Out — A Hand for Chatham’s Furry Friends,” will expand COA pet services into veterinary care for Meals on Wheels clients.

Roughly 25% of seniors serviced by the COA live alone, many in rural areas. The presence of a pet is a steady source of companionship for many homebound Meals on Wheels clients, making the preservation of their health a priority. Of additional concern is the ability to pay for veterinary care, with 47% of clients receiving COA services through the Home and Community Care Block Grant self-declaring at or below the federal poverty level.

The grant, covering the 2022-23 fiscal year, will help cover the cost of preventative care services such as vaccinations, exams, spay/neuter services, medications, and dental care.

“Many of the older adults served by the Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program live alone,” COA Director Ashlyn Martin said. “For those with pets, the animals serve as companions and so it is important that the Council on Aging provide services that can help to keep not only the older adult safe and healthy, but also that of their beloved furry friends. We are grateful for the support from organizations like Meals on Wheels America and PetSmart Charities which will help to expand the services we are able to provide to the pets of our Meals on Wheels recipients.”

Further information regarding program specifics will be forthcoming.

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