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Published: Tuesday, 1/22/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Mobile Meals volunteers also tend to pets

Dogs, cats, even fish can get food

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mobile Meals volunteer Mike Bunker of Erie, Mich., strokes Buddy as he makes a pet  food delivery to Shirley Crye and her dog at Alpha Towers in Toledo on Monday. Mobile Meals volunteer Mike Bunker of Erie, Mich., strokes Buddy as he makes a pet food delivery to Shirley Crye and her dog at Alpha Towers in Toledo on Monday.
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Shirley Crye is always happy to see the Meals on Wheels volunteer who delivers her food. But it wasn’t just Mrs. Crye who was happy Monday. She was joined by her dog Buddy, who got a delivery all of his own.

Volunteers with Mobile Meals of Toledo are delivering pet food to about 90 clients who asked for the extra help for their four-legged family members, said Carolyn Fox, associate executive director of Mobile Meals of Toledo.

“There aren’t many who don’t like him,” Mrs. Crye, 77, said of the 22-pound poodle and bichon frise mix dog, who goes everywhere with her, even to church.

Mrs. Crye got the dog, now 9, from the Toledo Area Humane Society about eight years ago. The dog has been through a lot with her, including the loss of her husband.

The 45 cans of Mighty Dog food will go a long way, said Mrs. Crye. She was the first stop on the delivery route of Seneca Bowers and Mike Bunker, both of Erie, Mich. The duo are big animal lovers, so they enjoy making the pet food deliveries.

“We have made regular food deliveries too, but the pet food is fun because we love to see the pets,” said Ms. Bowers, who fosters dogs for the Toledo-area rescue group Planned Pethood. “The clients are so appreciative, it’s really touching.”

Mrs. Crye asked for a hug from both Ms. Bowers and Mr. Bunker after they dropped off the food for Buddy.

The pair were visiting seven seniors Monday. Mobile Meals had 10 volunteers specifically assigned to the pet food drops, which started late last week and continue today, Ms. Fox said. This is the seventh year the organization has conducted a dedicated pet food drive and delivery, she added.

The food that was collected back in December that isn’t needed for this round of deliveries will either be stored until July or, if any of it has an expiration date before that, will be donated to the Toledo Area Humane Society, she said. Besides the twice-a-year large-scale deliveries, the Humane Society delivers once a month to the organization's 20 neediest clients, she said.

It’s not just dogs and cats that are cared for with the initiative. Clients also asked for help with birds, a turtle, guinea pigs, fish, and a rabbit, she said.

This year’s drive got a big response with the help of The Andersons General Stores, which partnered with the group for a second year to supply donation dropoff locations.

The PetSmart stores at Spring Meadows on Airport Highway in Toledo and at Crossroads Parkway in Rossford also collected food.

The program calls attention to the importance of pets to the well-being of homebound seniors, Ms. Fox said. Helping keep their companion pets well fed, healthy, and part of the family for as long as possible became the motivating factor behind the campaign, she said, adding that many of the organization’s clients compromise their own nutrition by sharing their meals with their pets.

For information on the program, call Mobile Meals of Toledo at 419-255-7806.

Those in need of food for their pets who do not qualify for the seniors program can contact Humane Ohio, whose pet food bank is open year-round. Those in need can get more information by calling 419-266-5607, ext. 113, or visiting the Web site humaneohio.org/petfoodbank.htm.

Contact Tanya Irwin at:tirwin@theblade.comor 419-724-6066.



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