PARMA, Ohio — Economic uncertainty during the pandemic has forced residents to often make tough choices regarding whether or not to keep family pets.
Hoping to keep animals with their owners is Parma-based Companion Pets of Cleveland, which provides pet food, cat litter and other basic supplies through a pet food pantry, as well as even assist in subsidizing veterinarian costs.
“I started a pet food pantry out of the office on Ridge Road to basically make sure animals were safe in their homes because, unfortunately, they’re the first go if people start hitting hard times,” said Parma Heights resident Bob Stevens, who created Cleveland Companion Pets in 2019.
“After everyone was losing their jobs, it was a way to keep dogs, cats and animals safe in their homes.”
Companion Pets of Cleveland currently serves roughly 400 clients and nearly 1,100 cats and dogs a month with a few guinea pigs and hamsters.
There are eight core volunteers who help operate Companion Pets of Cleveland, which also rescues and rehabilitates puppy mill dogs that Stevens said are abandoned and forgotten dogs from the streets.
This includes taking care of the dog’s medical issues and providing vaccinations, spaying or neutering.
The entire operation is donation-driven. Stevens said he’s still getting the word out about Companion Pets of Cleveland.
“We just did Parma Safety Fair where people were very positive,” Stevens said. “They were very thankful and very humbled that we’re here to help. There’s nothing like that in Parma.”
Helping promote Companion Pets of Cleveland around the community are various city leaders.
“Some of our seniors were faced that they may no longer be able to take care of their pets due to the financial burden placed on them,” Ward 4 Parma City Councilwoman Kristin Saban said. “Companion Pets of Cleveland wanted to reach out to the seniors of our community to let them know they were there to help by providing food and other essentials needed to care for their pets
“Our pets are such a huge part of our families. It’s amazing that Companion Pets of Cleveland is here to help keep these families together.”
Donna Smallwood Activities Center & Parma Office on Aging Director JoAnn Mason added, “I think it’s great for the folks who are on a fixed income with pets. This helps support their food as well as some of their veterinary needs.”
Read more news from the Parma Sun Post here.