The Humane Society started the Pets For Life program in 2011, in which team members would go door-to-door offering free services and supplies to pet owners who are underserved or live in poverty. Philadelphia was one of the first cities to implement the program, and it has since expanded to 50 markets.
Due to coronavirus, door-to-door outreach has been temporarily suspended. Instead, the group is dropping off supplies on people’s doorsteps, while adhering to social-distancing guidelines.
“If we are taking dog food or cat litter to someone, we are calling or texting them when we arrive so that they don't come outside, and then we are leaving items at their door so we don't have to knock on the doors or touch anything,” said Amanda Arrington, senior director of the program.
With a crisis like COVID-19, Arrington said it’s even more important that the Humane Society ensures essential services for pets and pet owners in the community.
She said they have reached out to everyone they have served over the last nine years — more than 30,000 people.
“Our teams have been … getting through to as many people as they can in that database on a daily basis, starting with senior and immobile clients first, and the pets that we have in our system (with) at-risk or having health issues,” she said.
Arrington hopes their services relieve a little bit of stress for Philadelphians during this unprecedented time.
“If we can remove one of the stressors at this time where people are facing so many challenges, so many struggles economically — this crisis is just not a health crisis. The economic crisis is also very very impactful, especially to the communities that we serve,” she added. “To be able to relieve that one type of worry from people, we hope that that allows them to take care of themselves as well.