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PetSmart Charities, Meals on Wheels Celebrate 13 Millionth Milestone for Serving Pet Meals

By Pet Age Staff//May 30, 2024//

PetSmart Charities, Meals on Wheels Celebrate 13 Millionth Milestone for Serving Pet Meals

By: Pet Age Staff//May 30, 2024//

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Nearly 100 percent of Meals on Wheels clients with pets say animals make them happier and less lonely. But looking after these four-legged friends isn’t always easy for seniors facing mobility and financial constraints. In fact, over 1 in 5 clients with pets actually forgo meals themselves to feed their companion animals and about 30 percent are forced to skimp on other necessities, like medical care and utilities.

To help these older adults provide for their floppy-eared hounds and whiskered felines, Meals on Wheels America has a partnership with PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, to help deliver kibble to the doorsteps of homebound seniors across the country. Just in time for Pet Appreciation Week (June 2 to 8), the two organizations reached a pawsome milestone: 13 million pet meals served.

“For so many older adults, their pets are a sole source of companionship,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “We know their people will often choose to feed their four-legged friends before themselves.  And that’s an impossible choice to make. We’re thrilled to pass this incredible milestone with Meals on Wheels America. Together, we can ensure that people and their pets get the nutrition and care they need to thrive.”

This momentous meal was enjoyed by Rebel, a 7-year-old Blue Heeler who lives with his owner, David, in Wyoming. Before connecting with his local Meals on Wheels program, David had resorted to paying only half his electric bill — just enough to keep the lights on — so he could afford food for his pup.

“I was barely making it,” David said. Despite these challenges, Rebel plays an instrumental role in David’s life. As a registered service animal, the dog helps David manage his anxiety and depression. He provides much-needed companionship, too.

“I talk to him all day like a human because I got no family,” David added. “He helps me more than people will ever know.”

Countless other seniors feel less lonely and are more active because of their pets, which is why local Meals on Wheels programs support pets too.

“No one should have to choose between their own well-being and that of their loving, furry companions,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO, Meals on Wheels America.

In addition to nutrition assistance, many Meals on Wheels programs provide pet services such as veterinary care access, grooming, emergency boarding and dog walking.

Of course, the success of these unique initiatives hinges on the support of PetSmart Charities. Without their generous giving plus donations from countless local pet supply stores, veterinary clinics and other community-based businesses, pawrents like David would struggle to provide for their four-legged friends.

“Rebel the Wonder Dog — that’s what I call him,” David said of his pup. “I wonder how he’s still here and how he takes care of me so much.”


(Photo of David and Rebel, his 7-year-old blue heeler, courtesy of Meals on Wheels and Petsmart Charities)