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North Hills Monthly

Providing a Safety Net

Dec 31, 2019 11:52AM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

By Jenn Geibel, Animal Friends’ Director of Clinic & Community Services

At Animal Friends, we know that everyone needs help from time to time. We’ve seen it through years of building relationships in the North Side community. We’ve met pet owners through door-to-door outreach to break down barriers of affordability and accessibility of pet wellness services.

Over the past few years, we have begun to encounter an increasing number of homeless pet owners.

We knew we had to help.

On a case-by-case basis, we began assisting these individuals through free veterinary care, vaccines, pet food and supplies.

In 2018, in an effort to better assist this community, we developed a relationship with Pittsburgh’s Mercy Operation Safety Net.® As a program with an established and trusted relationship with the homeless community, partnering with Operation Safety Net has enabled us to reach those who have pets and are living on the streets.

Last December, on the coldest day of the year, we assisted Operation Safety Net with the national homeless count in order to better determine how many homeless people in our community were caring for pets. Our Chow Wagon Pet Food Bank provides ongoing support by providing pet food and supplies. We also donate crates to their low-barrier downtown shelter which provides a safe and warm place for homeless people and pets to stay.

This past fall marked our one-year anniversary of working alongside Operation Safety Net. Our Animal Friends for Life program is committed to continuing partnerships like this to find new ways to break down barriers for financially struggling pet owners in our community. And we look forward to helping even more homeless pet owners in the coming year.

To help Animal Friends continue this type of lifesaving outreach work, please consider a donation that will have a big impact in the lives of the pets and people of our region at