The Helen Woodward Animal Center and The Angel’s Depot announced Tuesday a partnership that will expand a program that delivers food for the pets of low-income seniors.

The Angel’s Depot, which provides more than 900 emergency food boxes monthly to low-income seniors, wanted to also bring food for their pets. It formed a partnership with the Animal Center, which has operated the AniMeals program for 30 years.

Senior with pet. Photo courtesy Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Center officials say the expansion of the program is being funded by a donation by the estate of a former AniMeals volunteer.

The program is designed to help keep people and their pets together by eliminating one of the logistical and financial impediments to proper pet care. Currently, 250 pets are served by AniMeals.

The Rancho Santa Fe-based animal center also partners with agencies like San Diego County Aging & Independent Services and five Meals-on-Wheels groups.

According to center officials, research shows that pets are a health benefit for their elderly owners, providing companionship, diversion, and a reason for living. Compared to non-pet owners, those with four-legged friends at home have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, have a better sense of security, are more active, experience less depression and live longer, they said.

— City News Service

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