‘It’s about love’: Nevada County Pets In Need works to keep pets and their people together, offers pet food giveaway (PHOTO GALLERY)
Special to The Union
It started off in the back of a car, as a simple way to help the homeless and their pets.
In the six years since then, the Nevada County Pets In Need organization has evolved into so much more than that.
And Patti Galle couldn’t be prouder.
Cofounder of Nevada County Pets In Need, Galle is dedicated to helping those down on their luck. By providing free pet food, supplies or assistance to anyone who needs it, Nevada County Pets In Need has saved countless lives and made it possible for low-income people to keep their furry loved ones.
“Pets are family,” said Galle. “They’re often the connection to life, and a point of safety for emotional wellbeing, too. It’s really important that we support a person’s family when they can’t. The mission is to keep pets and families together, so they don’t end up given away or in shelters because they can’t afford to take care of them.”
When it first began, Nevada County Pets In Need only served the homeless population — but when Galle saw the amount of low-income people struggling to provide for their pets, she knew something had to change. The numbers of pets entering shelters is still astronomical, around 6.5 million annually, and 1.5 million of those are euthanized. While one organization alone couldn’t defeat the whole of this terrible issue, it definitely could make a dent.
And dent it has.
Nevada County Pets In Need has grown to fill a full store in downtown Grass Valley and its partner thrift store, Dollar Thrift, helps fund the mission along with any donations they receive.
“What we used to do is bag food for the customer,” said Galle. “With no real connection between us, the client, and the food. But over time PetCo and other suppliers starting giving us more variety and more product — and we decided to allow people to ‘shop’ for their own food.”
Customers can now go register their pets at Nevada County Pets In Need, receive a max food limit, and then freely shop in the store for their foods and products of choice before checking out with no charge. Not only has this provided a sense of dignity and independence to the clients, but it has made the entire donation process flow much more smoothly and quickly.
And for the organization serving upwards of 300 clients and their respective 500 cats and dogs a month, any sense of ease is welcomed with open arms.
“We have extreme gratitude to our community, too, who really supports us 100%” said Galle. “If we have a need, we ask, and someone will help us.”
“When someone calls you and they have anxiety and stress in their voice, afraid that they’re not going to get help, it’s heartwarming to hear the relief when we say we’ll treat them. Our only requirement is to help not contribute to the deaths of unwanted animals by letting the vicious breeding cycle continue,” said Galle.
Christine Young, a former client of Nevada County Pets In Need, knew firsthand what it felt like to feel that fear. Three-and-a-half years ago, Young and her boyfriend found themselves suddenly in charge of seventeen dogs — one mother and her two litters of puppies. With no way to pay for all the animals, they desperately searched for help, and Nevada County Pets In Need came to the rescue.
“I was introduced to Patti and she helped get me food and introduced me to RocketDog rescue,” said Young. “Since then we’ve gotten back on our feet. It’s all thanks to Patti. She’s got the patience of a saint and shows people what Nevada County is about, and it’s about love.”
Nevada County Pets In Need has also made it possible for animals like Hannah — an elderly dog with cancer who needed a tumor removed from her neck — to receive help and give them a chance at life. Without the work of Galle and the doctors at Pine Creek Veterinary Clinic, Hannah wouldn’t be where she is now: healthy, happy and enjoying her days in her new home.
To support the organization, check out the Dollar Thrift in downtown Grass Valley from Wednesdays to Saturdays, a one-dollar boutique whose proceeds go directly to Nevada County Pets In Needs. You can also visit https://nevadacountypetsinneed.org for more information on how to make donations of all shapes and sizes.
Mina Ricci is a freelance writer for hire who contributes to The Union. Contact her at 415-599-5987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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