A case manager from South Community, Inc. reached out to SICSA Pet Adoption & Wellness Center when her client, Isaiah, was experiencing housing instability. Isaiah, a devoted owner to his dog Diamond, would not consider surrendering his beloved pet. He would try to earn money during the day to pay for a motel room at night for Diamond and himself. It was late June and the summer’s extreme heat was especially hard on the health of Diamond, a senior dog.
“At SICSA, we recognize that crisis situations don’t just affect people, they affect pets as well,” said Nora Vondrell, President & CEO at SICSA. “People in crisis should not have to choose between keeping their pets and receiving the assistance they need. We know that by providing support to a pet, we’re also supporting the owner by allowing them to focus on meeting their own basic needs,” she said.
This is where SICSA’s Help Center, South Community, Inc., The Grey Muzzle Organization, and a foster family came together to help Diamond and Isaiah. Sometimes short-term help is needed in a crisis to keep a pet from being surrendered, and SICSA’s Help Center offers a variety of programs and services to help keep families and their pets together; including temporary housing for pets displaced by emergencies, assistance with pet food and supplies, animal wellness and medical care, pet spays and neuters, and behavior support.
The Grey Muzzle Organization chose SICSA as one of 78 animal welfare groups in the country to receive a grant to help local senior dogs. The grants help save or improve the lives of at-risk dogs in their communities. “This grant ensures that senior dogs, like 7-year-old Diamond, not only receive the veterinary care, the pet food, and a temporary home they need, but also prevents the unnecessary surrender of a beloved pet,” stated Vondrell.
SICSA provided Diamond with a full veterinary exam and vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed her before placing her in a foster home for temporary care. “Our Safe Pets Foster Program is for pets who cannot temporarily be with their owner. These pets need longer stays, sometimes up to several months, while their owners work to stabilize their lives,” said Jessie Sullivan, Director of Adoptions and Alternative Services. This program helped Isaiah focus on finding work and housing with the assistance of his social worker. “On October 6th, Isaiah and Diamond were happily reunited! No one is more grateful or loving than a senior dog, and we’re looking forward to helping more of them get the second chance they all deserve,” stated Sullivan.
Over the past 14 years, the national nonprofit Grey Muzzle Organization has provided more than $3.8 million in grants to support its vision of “a world where no old dog dies alone and afraid.”
“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re delighted to help deserving organizations like SICSA make a difference in the lives of dogs and people in their communities,” said Grey Muzzle’s Executive Director Lisa Lunghofer. “Many senior dogs in Montgomery County and the surrounding areas are enjoying their golden years in loving homes thanks to the wonderful work of SICSA.”