PATCHOGUE, New York -- Almost Home Animal Rescue not only saves animals but also provides a helping hand for lower-income families and their pets. Their training wheels program wanted to bring the efforts of the shelter into the community.
Members help families keep their pets and not reach the point of surrendering them to the already overcrowded municipal shelters. The program is designed to build a more humane community, one family, at a time.
"We all have difficult times," said Rebecca Herlihy, Coordinator for Almost Home Training Wheels. "Reach out it's the life of your animal you're protecting and saving. If you need food, we will not judge you we are there to help you."
The program facilitates a bond between owners and their pets while preventing the overpopulation of animals by providing no-cost spaying and neutering in areas where it is not accessible.
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In addition to free spay/neutering services, volunteers provide food, supplies, pet care education, training, and medical care.
"Many of them do love their pets, but they just can't afford to take care of them," said Herlihy. "Where we come in, we help them. We don't want these animals to end up in a shelter, we want them in their homes."
The program services approximately 500 animals per month, assisting over 175 families in the township of Wyandanch, New York alone.
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"Ever since I got in touch with them, you know they've been a wonderful source of help to me," said Anatasha Smith. "Providing food and toys, stuff that I really needed."
Before Smith handed over her dog to receive treatments, Herlihy made sure that Smith had enough food to give to her other dogs, giving her a bag of kibble to make sure they wouldn't go hungry.
"I am so proud to be a part of Almost Home because we have an outreach program," said Herlihy. "Financially it's extremely hard for us, but we care about these animals, and we want them to be spayed, neutered and we want the owners to be educated."
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone