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Help for four-legged family members

Cascades Humane Society in Jackson, Mich. offers pet food and supplies to families who are having financial difficulties. The pet food pantry helps families keep their pets and reduces the number of animals in need of new homes.

As part of our What’s Working series, Michigan Radio’s Christina Shockley speaks with Debra Carmody, executive director of Cascades Humane Society, about the pet food pantry program. 

Sixty-two percent of US households have at least one pet. Yearly pet care costs can range from $500 to $800—an expense that might be out of reach for families that are forced to downsize. “When you see people coming to our agency and they have to relinquish their pets, it’s heartbreaking,” Carmody says. 

The pet food pantry helps to bring down the cost of pet care.

It is stocked with donated food and supplies. Over 17 tons of food is given out every year. “Jackson is an incredibly generous community,” says Carmody. “We don’t spend a penny on buying food or litter.”

The pantry is about helping families stay together. “Particularly when people are in a distressed situation. The economy’s bad, or they have other challenges…having to give up a pet when you’re really at a challenging point in your life is just heartbreaking,” says Carmody. “Keeping families together, two-legged and four-legged members, is just critically important.”

Debra Carmody lives in Jackson, Michigan with her husband, Michigan Radio reporter, Steve Carmody.

-Meg Cramer, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Christina began her career in radio at Michigan Radio while a student at the University of Michigan. She was a producer and researcher for The Todd Mundt Show, and then hosted Weekend Edition.