Washoe County now delivering pet food to seniors in need

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SUN VALLEY, Nev. (KOLO) For seniors like Faye Benninghove, the companionship she has with her dogs cannot be understated.

“For seniors, it’s very important because sometimes these animals are the only companions that we have,” she said. “This program has just been so much help I can’t even express it.”

For Benninghove, money is tight in her Sun Valley home, but she always makes a point to take care of her dogs Rambo and Growler.
“I had land taxes due this month,” she explained. “I didn’t know where I was going to go, but they come first; I would do without for them.”

That attitude is not unique, as Washoe County Human Services director Amber Howell explained.

“We took a look at how many seniors we were delivering meals to,” said Howell. “We have about 700 on that program – and a lot of times they would pay for their pet to eat before they would eat so we wanted to take that out of the equation.”

So with that in mind, Washoe County is now offering food for pets of seniors involved in the Meals on Wheels program.

It was made possible by collaboration between Human Services, Washoe County Animal Control and the Nevada Humane Society.

“So many studies show that pets are a great companion for seniors, and we don’t want to break up that bond,” said Kimberly Wade of the Humane Society.

And for Faye Benninghove, that bond couldn’t be stronger, with one of her dogs being a gift from her husband for their 48th wedding anniversary, which happened less than a year before her husband’s death.

“He weighs 106 pounds, and he is all enthusiasm,” Benninghove said when talking about her dog Rambo. “He is a constant reminder of my husband so he’s near and dear to my heart.”

The new program does not just provide food to dogs, but cats as well - and donations are needed. If you want to help out, email cciarlo@washoecounty.us or call 775-337-4500.