Helen Woodward Animal Center Salutes Soldiers’ Service
We had a pleasant surprise last month – 18 Army soldiers, comprised of both Miramar Station Vet Techs (who work directly with military working dogs) and SPC Food Inspectors (who maintain sanitary food conditions for the army), volunteered their precious time and energy for people and pets. Unit PHCD-SD (Public Health Command District San Diego) came to lend their support to the long-standing AniMeals program, dedicated to providing food for the pets of homebound elderly people throughout San Diego County. The team emptied, scrubbed, cleaned and inspected the AniMeals walk-in to make sure the conditions were in tip-top shape for the pets serviced by the program.
Since its inception, over 1.3 million AniMeals have been served to pets of homebound elderly people, via partner organizations like Meals on Wheels, and the Army’s efforts will truly touch hundreds of lives this year alone. AniMeals Supervisor, Wendy Brown, has a special connection to the military, too. “I feel incredibly honored to have received assistance from these local heroes. My father was in the Air Force and I was born on an Air Force base. The military has always had my utmost respect and admiration and I love the work I do with AniMeals, so combining them both was incredibly meaningful to me.”
Vet Tech Sergeant Carrie Diaz who headed the AniMeals cleaning and inspection project, spends her normal days working directly with military dogs who serve the United States Army. She also happens to have two rescue dogs at home named Romeo and Bear. “They are like my kids,” said Diaz. “They are a huge part of my world and assisting a program that keeps pets with their housebound-owners means a lot to me. All of us love the opportunity to learn about the communities we serve and help in whatever way we can.”
SPC Karisa Clenney, who generously donated her time to the project, was affected in a very personal way when she was introduced to Dorito, a shepherd blend orphan puppy. Holding and snuggling Dorito, Clenney couldn’t wait to pull up a picture of her own beloved shepherd dog at home, reminding Helen Woodward Animal Center staffers of the sacrifices Clenney and her fellow Army service members make every day.
This is not the first time Helen Woodward Animal Center has received a helping paw from local soldiers, who have also assisted the Center’s Pet Encounter Therapy Program. Helen Woodward Animal Center people and pets are overwhelmed by the loving support of our military. They serve, they sacrifice, and they love. We are eternally grateful.