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  • Program provides safety net for families, pets

    It was a happy ending to a tough year for one Pima County family. 

    Mekana (in pink) was hospitalized for cardiac arrest back in September. She and her son Christian eventually lost their home. The thought of losing their pet cats, Apricot Kelsey (left), Christian and Mekanaand Socks, was devastating.

    So Mekana reached out to the Pima Animal Care Pet Support Center. After completing the online questionnaire, PACC staff asked their pool of Safety Net fosters to see if anyone could help Mekana until she could get out of the hospital and find a new place to live. 

    The Safety Net Program allows community members to foster owned animals whose families are experiencing a temporary inability to provide care for them. This may be related to financial instability, domestic violence, incarceration, or hospitalization. 

    As COVID-19 eviction moratoriums are lifted around the country, Safety Net Fostering programs may be needed more than ever to keep people and their pets together.

    Kelsey stepped up and answered Mekana’s call, taking in Apricot and Socks and ensuring the furry felines had a stable home while Mekana concentrated on her health. The family was reunited on New Year’s Eve.

    Socks and Apricot“It means everything to us,” Mekana said. “I was so worried I was going to lose them, too.”

    PACC officials say these happy endings wouldn’t be possible without fosters like Kelsey who enable pets to stay with the owners who love them. The shelter anticipates seeing more stories like Mekana’s as the pandemic continues.

    Foster families around Pima County took in nearly 3,600 pets in 2020. If you want to be a part of this program, visit Pima.gov/foster. You also can support the program financially by donating to Friends of Pima Animal Care Center at friendsofpacc.org.
     
    The Safety Net Foster Program is a part of Human Animal Support Services, an international coalition of animal services leaders and more than 30 pilot organizations, including PACC, working to strengthen the bond between people and animals.

    Top photo: Kelsey (left), Christian and Mekana

    Bottom photo: Socks and Apricot
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