Food stamps for pets?

Food stamps for pets?

Lickable Lollie Lickable Lollie
I have severe social anxiety, but also have this fear of being alone. I have a hard time being in my apartment by myself. So far, I've been able to deal with it because I can go to my boyfriends house and spend time with him. Unfortunately, he'd moving in a few weeks and I don't have the internet or even a phone at home, so I will be left completely alone...during the day AND at night. My therapist suggested I get a small pet, which I think is a fantastic idea. It will give me something to take care of, and something to keep me company. It will, in the easiest way to put this, give me a reason to live. The problem is, I don't work and my disability hasn't been accepted yet, so paying for food is impossible.

Has anyone heard of a grant or a program that helps people pay for pet care? I mean, I've looked up grants and found stuff to help with the medical side, but I'm looking for puppy food stamps or something lol
05/07/2012
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Ryuson Ryuson
Quote:
Originally posted by Lickable Lollie
I have severe social anxiety, but also have this fear of being alone. I have a hard time being in my apartment by myself. So far, I've been able to deal with it because I can go to my boyfriends house and spend time with him. Unfortunately, ...
Unfortunately pets are often seen as a luxury, so it's like trying to ask the government to give you free internet because it cheers you up. The only thing that I can thing of is asking the hospital your psychologist is as to try and eh, 'prescribe' it? If they petition the government for you and treat it like a treatment for your disorder it may get you somewhere? I really don't know, though, but I have seen pet programs for those with PTSD. Don't know what they have to pay for, though.

Best of luck!
05/07/2012
Ansley Ansley
Quote:
Originally posted by Ryuson
Unfortunately pets are often seen as a luxury, so it's like trying to ask the government to give you free internet because it cheers you up. The only thing that I can thing of is asking the hospital your psychologist is as to try and eh, ...
Actually, the growing trend these days is that animals are given to people who have severe emotional issues. It's considered as therapy. It takes some hoop jumping but you can get a service animal for that. Certified and everything.
05/07/2012
Lickable Lollie Lickable Lollie
Quote:
Originally posted by Ansley
Actually, the growing trend these days is that animals are given to people who have severe emotional issues. It's considered as therapy. It takes some hoop jumping but you can get a service animal for that. Certified and everything.
Are those paid for through a program?
05/07/2012
indiglo indiglo
You also might check with your local humane societies. Some of them here actually HAVE had a "food pantry for pets" system going - people could donate pet food, and then low income folks could go and pick it up. There was a limit on how much you could get, but still it is a nice service. I don't know if they're still doing it, but you might check around in your area for something similar!


From my (very limited) understanding of how the service animal program works, many people still have to pay for their service animal. I don't know much about it though, admittedly.
05/07/2012
Ansley Ansley
Quote:
Originally posted by indiglo
You also might check with your local humane societies. Some of them here actually HAVE had a "food pantry for pets" system going - people could donate pet food, and then low income folks could go and pick it up. There was a limit on how ...
Yeah, you still have to pay to take care of the dog, but they usually have a list of local doctors and places that do things at reduced costs. And it's tax deductible because the dog is working for the person, so their care is an expense you can claim.
05/07/2012
Loriandhubby Loriandhubby
In our area there is a vet who does very low cost shots ect. it is 30.00 for the office visit and the shots total. She works through a grant via the humane society. Also the goverment is giving grants to have your pets spayed or nutered.

I would sugest contacting the humane society, and any idividual group that runs a pet rescue. They will be your best bet to find out what is avalible in your area.

If you lived in our area I could hock you up with a vet, a pet, and food.

I hope you find the answers you need. HUGS lori
05/07/2012
VelvetDragon VelvetDragon
Quote:
Originally posted by Ansley
Actually, the growing trend these days is that animals are given to people who have severe emotional issues. It's considered as therapy. It takes some hoop jumping but you can get a service animal for that. Certified and everything.
They are not a service animal. Service animals must be trained with a task or work to mitigate a disability. (Just "mitigating anxiety by being present" does not count.) Service animals are ONLY dogs as covered by the ADA, with the exception of limited access for service mini horses. Service animals have access rights in public places.

An emotional support animal, on the other hand, can be any species, and does not need to be trained in tasks that mitigate the disability -- just being present counts. ESAs do NOT have public access rights, but they do have HOUSING rights (fair housing act; this means if your apartment is no pets, you can still have an ESA) and they have airplane rights (they can travel with you in the cabin without a carrier).

There is NO certification body for either of these. Anyone who claims to certify in order to make it an accepted SD or ESA is basically a scam. There are programs; however, programs are no more valid than privately trained service animals. Some programs are good, some programs are very bad, and turn out very poorly trained dogs.

HOWEVER, you do require a doctor's note for plane and housing rights for the ESA, usually. This is given directly to your landlord. You only need this if your apartment says "no pets", or for flying with our ESA. For flying, of course, the ESA must be extremely well trained.

However, even if your animal is a SD or an ESA, food is not going to be covered. No programs cover food expenses. Some cover equipment expenses (i.e. harnesses for people who need mobility support). In most cases, the dogs themselves from programs cost anywhere from $1000 - $10,000.

You CAN write off SD expenses as medical expenses for tax purposes. They are considered Durable Medical Equipment, the same as an oxygen tank or wheelchair, and thus covered for tax purposes. ESAs are NOT something you can write off for tax purposes.

If anyone has any further questions, I'm well-versed in the laws regarding SDs and ESAs, and have had an SD in the past and will be getting another in the future.

As to food help -- there are food banks for pets in some areas. However, you'll need to check for all those programs. They are not always reliable however -- some will only have enough food for everyone asking SOME of the time. plus, the often-changing diet (because you can't control what you get) can cause tummy upset, and dealing with dog or cat diarrhea is no fun.

That's not the only expense though. Veterinary costs are going to run into the hundreds for a dog or cat yearly. That's just checkups and vaccinations. Even with low cost spays/neuters and vaccines, medical expenses can come up. If they need emergency treatment, you're looking at thousands. And right now, paying into insurance for pets doesn't pay back the same amount, so it's generally better to just set that money aside, rather than paying it into an insurance program.

Another option is a small animal, however. Rats are extremely cheap to keep, very cuddly and personable, and have cheaper start-out costs, for example. Guinea pigs as well. Rats eat grains, dog food (but very little of it, because they're so small), and a small amount of fruits and veggies, and rat blocks. Guinea pigs eat mostly hay, but also need fresh fruits and veggies daily (they need vitamin C like humans), and hay pellets (no grain). Both should be kept in same-sex pairs. So overall they eat very small amounts and are cheap to keep. The cages for either will start out around 100 to 200 dollars for the proper size, though. This is about comparable to getting a dog or cat, because they need to be fixed (spayed/neutered). However, rats and guinea pigs, if kept in same-sex pairs, do not need to be fixed.

However, any pet you get you MUST make sure you have enough money to cover the cost of food and possible vet emergencies. That said, if you do your homework, you can find vets that take payments, programs that reduce the cost, etc. Just make sure you can handle all of this, and a pet can make a huge difference in your life! I don't mean to be discouraging, just realistic.
05/07/2012
Zombirella Zombirella
I love rats, we had two. I don't know if I would suggest them to her though because the cost can get up there because they could have or can develop a lung disease easily called mycoplasma. There is no cure, only medication and they will more than likely have to take it often; it's not a one time thing. So then you have to pay for their vet visit and the medication. The only way to guarantee getting a rat that doesn't have the disease or anything else is a lab rat, and good luck finding those. They have been bred to eliminate the disease so lab rats won't have the sickness. One of our little guys was fine, they both had it, we came home one night and just knew something was wrong. We drove an hour to a 24hr vet because he was suffering and you could see it in his face. They said his heart rate was low and IVs and oxygen wasn't helping. We had to put him to sleep. We loved him and didn't want him suffering til he passed. That was expensive. We gave the other to our vet that had rats at her home so he wouldn't be alone. It's suggested that rats live in atleast pairs, because they can become depressed and don't like being alone so if you consider a rat, you need to consider two. Also their bedding, good bedding that won't mess with their lungs isn't cheap. And dog food isn't a good diet. You have to change the bedding often too. We also learned after we got ours that their life span (non-lab rats) are about 2-4 years, 5 tops and that's rare. If you are like me and a big animal lover and get attached to your pets, I wouldn't get one. I don't want to go through a loss that quick. We decided we aren't going to get anymore. They are sweet and it's a shame they don't live long.
05/07/2012
VelvetDragon VelvetDragon
I am a big animal lover, and I get attached to my pets, but the joy they give me in life stays with me even when they're gone. But you're right, some people can't handle that. My SO doesn't do well with it. Rats are some of my favorite pets, they are so amazing, but they do have a short lifespan. I still love and cherish the memories I've had with each rat I've owned.

I use all washable bedding with my rats, so it doesn't cost much at all. I get it at GoodWill. However, it does mean a lot of laundry. The most popular thing to use is fleece (sometimes layered with terry) in a Critter Nation cage. You can buy it pre-sewn (such as on Etsy: rat bedding) or just clip it down (fleece doesn't need to be hemmed). They do eventually put holes in it, but it is safe (fleece doesn't make threads that can tangle them) and lasts a long time. You have to wash it every day, so you should have two sets at least, and it is labor intensive, but the safest, cleanest, and long-term cheapest bedding.

Dog food -- super premium with no ethoxyquin -- is a good part of a rat's diet. In fact, it is very healthy for them. Here is some information. Many people feed half grain mix and half dog food. Rats are omnivores and it adds some healthy protein to the diet -- alternatively you can feed insects such as mealworms, or small amounts of meat. Good brands for rats are listed on that site, though I personally avoid Innova. I think Wellness is a great brand. Rat lab blocks are an even better pre-made staple but still should not be a whole diet. Rats need variety just like people.

Most rat diets from the store are horrible. They contain seeds, which are very bad for rats because they're so high in fat. So stay away from premixed diets.

You're right about the myco problem. SDA is another disease rats can get. I've been lucky and never had my rats suffer from a horrible infection. I have however lost female rats to mammary tumors, which is expensive and emotionally draining, so I personally only like to keep male rats, who are far less likely to get them.

ETA: That is why I noted veterinary expenses in my post, however -- and I'd like to reiterate. Veterinary costs can be very high for ANY pet, they all need checkups and all can have emergencies. So when you are figuring out if you can afford a pet, you must take this into consideration.
05/07/2012
Ryuson Ryuson
Quote:
Originally posted by VelvetDragon
I am a big animal lover, and I get attached to my pets, but the joy they give me in life stays with me even when they're gone. But you're right, some people can't handle that. My SO doesn't do well with it. Rats are some of my ...
Goodness, I'm so glad that you chimed in on this post! It's great to learn about this kind of thing, even though I'm not the one in need. I didn't know how the hospital would go about 'prescribing' a pet.

We had rats for a while and they all ended up getting terrible tumors that would kill them to remove and kill them not to remove. Apparently that's what happens to rats if they get too old, the vet said.

Best of luck! I totally agree that you should just call around and see what you can find as far as pet food donations.
05/07/2012
Rossie Rossie
Don't know how things work in your area, but I live in a small suburban town in Oregon and there's a CAT Adoption Team that hands out free cat food to any one who cannot afford to buy food for their felines. Check you local cat adoption agencies, and see if they have similar services.
05/07/2012
VelvetDragon VelvetDragon
(I lovelovelove Cat Adoption Team, one of the best cat rescues anywhere.) Also in Portland there is also the Pongo Fund Food Bank. Portland is a great place to live with pets!

link
05/07/2012
Annemarie Annemarie
Thought I'd chime in here...

If you're on human food stamps (heh), you can feed dogs--and probably cats--human food, as long as it's the right type. A lot of store-bought dog foods are just grains (usually rice, wheat, or oats), vegetables, and meat. It's a lot more time consuming, but ultimately healthier for the dog. Do a google search for dog food recipes. You can even make treats for them.

Like others have said, you can also check your local humane society. Many have "food pantry" sort of things going on, and if your humane society has a vet attached to it, they may have income qualifiers to lower cost of vet care.
05/07/2012
VelvetDragon VelvetDragon
Quote:
Originally posted by Annemarie
Thought I'd chime in here...

If you're on human food stamps (heh), you can feed dogs--and probably cats--human food, as long as it's the right type. A lot of store-bought dog foods are just grains (usually rice, wheat, or oats), ...
Annemarie is right. Cats can be fed on a meat diet for much cheaper than they can be fed a commercial diet. However you absolutely MUST insure your pet is getting a complete diet -- just rice and chicken, for example, is not an adequate diet. Commercial diets emulate all the nutrients dogs and cats get from eating whole prey. Human cuts (just muscle) will not be enough.

This is a GREAT site on feeding cats: link It has a raw diet recipe for cats that is very healthy. The main expense is a meat grinder.
05/07/2012
Zombirella Zombirella
Quote:
Originally posted by Annemarie
Thought I'd chime in here...

If you're on human food stamps (heh), you can feed dogs--and probably cats--human food, as long as it's the right type. A lot of store-bought dog foods are just grains (usually rice, wheat, or oats), ...
Great thinking! This is a good idea!
05/08/2012
michael scofield michael scofield
Quote:
Originally posted by Lickable Lollie
I have severe social anxiety, but also have this fear of being alone. I have a hard time being in my apartment by myself. So far, I've been able to deal with it because I can go to my boyfriends house and spend time with him. Unfortunately, ...
i once bought cat food with food stamps once lol i gave it a try and was shocked it worked. i then tried again but i couldnt. the lady was like nah cant buy animal products lol
05/08/2012
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