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Nonprofit Harley’s Hope Foundation helps pets

April 28, 2020

A local nonprofit, through its free food and delivery services, is helping to keep pets and pet owners together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harley’s Hope Foundation, in collaboration with Colorado Pet Pantry, is offering free cat and dog food and delivery services for residents of El Paso, Pueblo and Teller counties and their four-legged companions affected by COVID-19, be it directly or through income loss.

Since March 31, HHF has bought and collected about 6,000 pounds of pet food and supplies and has been distributing these items since April 2. To date, more than 3,500 pounds have been distributed to help care for 240 animals.

“We have more food in stock and are ready to deliver to people with pets in need. We plan to continue this service until fall as the people we serve are high-risk. We anticipate a fair percentage of them will not be ready to venture out even after the stay-at-home order is lifted,” said HHF Executive Director Cynthia Bullock.

Medication vouchers up to $150 toward purchasing medication for chronically ill pets also is being offered. Applicants must prove their financial hardship is due to COVID-19 and show a history of providing pet medication. Applications are available at harleys-hopefoundation.org/applicationforservices.html.

Because future pandemic waves are possible, HHF doesn’t want at-risk pet parents to feed their pets “people food” (and possibly deprive themselves) because they can’t leave their home. HHF has spoken with senior citizens and caretakers who have said they will continue to feed their pets out of their own food supply in order to ensure their companions don’t go hungry.

“We want to make sure that is not a choice our seniors and disabled individuals need to make,” Bullock said.

Bullock and her husband, David, founded HHF after cancer claimed their dog, Harley Jane. The couple realized many people don’t have the financial means to do everything they can for their pets.

HHF ensures low-income pet owners and their companion or service animals remain together when issues arise. HHF prevents at-risk animals from being surrendered or falling victim to euthanasia for treatable conditions and behaviors.

Through HHF the Bullocks honor Harley’s memory and help pets and owners deal with unexpected hardships.

“We realized how fortunate we were to afford major treatment when so many pet parents might be forced to euthanize for treatable conditions such as broken limbs, bladder stones, urinary blockages and certain traumas,” Bullock said.

Collectively, HHF programs have assisted more than 3,500 companion and service animals, thereby saving thousands of pet lives, Bullock said.

“Our most active program is financial assistance with life-saving veterinary care. We’ve also provided emergency foster care, assistance with training and periodic pet health clinics over the last decade,” Bullock said. “Since the pandemic and stay-at-home order, we’ve added emergency pet food assistance, providing no-contact deliveries of pet food, litter and other supplies to high-risk pet parents who must stay inside due to age or major health issues.”

According to Kim Brandon, volunteers play an integral role in assisting needy families and individuals. The human-animal bond is important and should be maintained during the pandemic, she said. “HHF helps pets and their people stay together during tough financial times,” said Brandon, who has been a volunteer since 2010.

Volunteers have been the heartbeat of HHF during the pandemic as many have driven more than 2,000 miles to deliver free pet food, Brandon said. Watching communities pull together to help others and their furry companions is the most rewarding aspect of her work, she said.

“They helped an elderly lady who was feeding her pets hot dogs because she was too scared to venture out of her home. Recently, they helped fund an emergency veterinary operation for a Husky, who’s ‘fur-mom’ was an unemployed first-responder who had tested positive for COVID-19. I am honored and proud to volunteer beside them,” Brandon said.

HHF is seeking emergency foster homes for pets whose owners may be affected by COVID-19. Anyone interested in fostering cats, dogs and other small pets can complete an application online at harleys-hope foundation. org.

The foundation is accepting donations of canned cat and dog food and cat litter. Arrange for pickup of these items by calling 495-6083. Leave a message and Cynthia Bullock will call back to arrange a pickup date and time.

 

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