Global Pet Foods Feeds York Region’s Homeless Pets
LOFT’s Crosslinks Street Outreach and Services Network provides services to the homeless in York Region and it is not uncommon to find pets acting as a companion. Luckily, for the past two years Global Pet Foods Keswick has adopted the pets of York Region’s homeless! Clients of the store donate to the Show Your Heart fundraiser and these funds are directed to Crosslinks Street Outreach for the purchase of pet food and supplies.
A growing part of the Street Outreach and Services Network outreach is the Pet program. Supported by Keswick’s Global Pet Foods, the Outreach team has been able to provide individuals who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless with items like food, litter and flea control for their pets.
Many individuals who experience struggles with mental health issues find animals a comfort during times of duress. Additionally, clients who are at-risk of suicide express that their pets often act as a tie to life, knowing they need to be around to care for them. For some people the behaviors associated with their mental health illness cause them to be alienated and their pet is the only consistent support they have had. In some cases individuals who are living on the streets keep pets for safety, others for company, a pet being the only family they have.
To support individuals who have pets but struggle to feed them, Keswick Global Pet Foods has made arrangements with suppliers such as Nutreco Canada Inc. to provide food for free and has LOFT/Crosslinks Street Outreach and Services Network as the recipient of their annual “Show your heart” fundraiser. This year their clients donated over $1400 for the pet program.
- Michelle Ball, Street Outreach Worker
Everyone’s ideas or perceptions of one’s mental health are very different than mine, but I’m a strong believer in animal therapy when it comes to mental health. It does not mean it has to be that of a cat, but it can be whatever one relates to.
I, however, have cats, which are my saving grace so many times especially through some of the worst depression that I have encountered in the most recent years. The doctors, both General Practitioner and specialist, still don’t understand the power of animal therapy.
I witness this at places like the Lance Krasman Centre, for which there has always been two cats, now only one. The cats have resided at The Lance Krasman Centre since my going there many years ago and even now. They have helped many consumer survivors deal with issues of their own.
Yes there are times when my cats make me edgy, but they give so much unconditional love, it’s worth it. Some people would say dogs make better companions, but the choice is totally up to the individual. I will admit that cats do not need as much attention and they don’t have to go for walks when it’s minus 20 out.
- Boots, Writer for Street Outreach Newsletter