Pets 101

Local Hero – One program strives to keep families and their pets together

Carrie SingerDespite economic hardship, one woman offers people the assistance to provide for their pets

By Kelsey Duckett

As the economy continues to downward spiral, families across the country struggle to pay the bills. To date, one out of every five households has a dog, and one out of every eight households has a cat. For many of these families, that extra mouth to feed is becoming a challenge.

This is where Carrie Singer, founder of Animal Guardian Network, comes in. She provides the community of Cave Creek assistance through outreach programs and resources.

“It started out as an e-mail based solution for people who had needs related to animals,” she explains. “It grew so fast, but was a great way to get connected to the community.”

One such program is the pet food relief bank, which provides over 7,500 pounds of pet food per month to people with pets, currently the largest of its kind in Arizona. Animal Guardian Network also assists families with veterinary care, rehabilitation, and rescue for dog victims in cruelty cases.

“We do a lot of rehabilitation,” Singer says with a sigh. “It is very demanding and difficult work. Some of the dogs are in really bad shape, and it is heartbreaking to see. But we don’t give up on them, and work with them until they are stable and ready for a new home.”

The Animal Guardian Network tends to take the most high-risk animals, who Singer says are often the most overlooked, and would generally not get a second chance.

“If we can’t take them in our doors ourselves, we will find a home for them,” Singer declares. “We find assistance for all animals and families. We hire trainers for families if necessary, but we don’t stop until there is a solution.”

According to Singer, the most popular resource offered is the food bank program. When funds are tight, the free food allows families to keep their pets in the homes during difficult times.

“Our main focus is to ensure a family doesn’t feel that giving up or parting ways with their animals is an option,” she says. “We will provide the food, and we will work with families to keep them with their pets.”

The food bank also works with dozens of community partners providing assistance for seniors through home delivered meals and other food pantry programs.

“If humans are hungry, so are their pets,” she says.

Each program is funded through donations, and will soon be supported by a new store, Roxie’s Charity Boutique and Gallery, a new venture by Singer. Her goal is to find new and different ways to bring income to Animal Guardian Network and the families it supports.

“All of the income brought in by Roxie’s will go directly to the life-saving efforts of the Animal Guardian Network,” she says. “This is a new way to bring in money without constantly having to ask for donations. This is essential to the well being of the organization.”

Singer, who has been rescuing pets since she could walk, believes having the power to say, “Yes, I can help,” is the most rewarding feeling in the world.

“We keep families together. We provide hope. We will be there,” she says, proudly.

To learn more visit: AnimalGuardianNetwork.org.

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