From Pioneer Park to food pantries, these Utah organizations help pet owners care for their furry friends

Margie Varela, founder and president of Street Dawg Crew in Utah, said she can connect with pet owners she sees living on the street.

“I could have been there,” she said, taking a break from distributing pet food and colorful dog toys to the homeless and their furry friends on a recent Sunday at Pioneer Park.

Even when she was on the verge of becoming homeless, Varela refused to give up her dogs. “My sister helped me pay to fix my house, I got a job, and look what I’m doing now,” she said.

She started in 2017, providing sealed bags of pet food to homeless pet owners in the Bull Park neighborhood, where she works. Now, she can be seen in Pioneer Park with Street Dawg Crew every two Sundays, delivering food, leashes, and other vital supplies with volunteers.

On Halloween at the park, Rachel Cotter said the Street Dawg Crew helped her a lot, not only with dog food but also with access to affordable footage and neutering services for a 7-year-old Chihuahua named Duke – an emotional support dog, as evidenced by a black jacket He was wearing it.

Varela said her organization is busier than ever since the pandemic began, distributing about 3,500 pounds of pet food each month — either at the park or from Varela’s front porch, where cash-strapped individuals and families can take their orders. , she said.

(Colby Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The dog gets a spooky jack-o-lantern from the Street Dawg Crew of Utah on Oct. 31, 2021, in Pioneer Park.

Best Friends Animal also saw an increase in people ordering food from its pet food pantry in 2020, when the organization received an average of 156 requests per month. That average has since fallen to about 120 requests per month, but Ashley Murphy, the organization’s first shelter partnerships coordinator, said pet owners continue to rely on the resource.

She said the pet food pantry was “really good for those who aren’t working, maybe not traditionally low-income, but they’re in trouble.”

pet food

If you need help feeding your dog or cat, many Utah organizations provide pet food for low-income animal owners.

The Best Friends pet food pantry is located at the Life Saving Center at Sugar House, at 2005 S. 1100 East in Salt Lake City. Food is provided only on a temporary or emergency basis, but the owners usually receive enough for their pet for a whole month. You will need to fill out an online form each time you need to order pet food. Applications can be received at the Sugar House facility by appointment.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Chauce Butterfield loads food into a truck at the pet food pantry of the Best Friends Pet Association in Salt Lake City on Saturday, November 6, 2021.

To order pet food through the Street Dawg Crew of Utah, message the group directly on Facebook to arrange a pickup, or visit for more information.

Nuzzles & Co. maintains. With pop-up pet food pantries in grocery store parking lots across the Salt Lake Valley for hardship pet owners. See the events schedule of this Park City-based nonprofit on Facebook. Summit County residents can purchase pet food from Nuzzles & Co. Rescue Ranch, at 6466 N. High View Road in Peoa, seven days a week.

West Valley City Animal Services has begun Operation Pet Supply Drop to assist pet owners who have been furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19, and it is still available as long as you reside in West Valley City or Taylorsville. To order food, you will need to fill out an online form, and your order will be delivered to your balcony.

Hildegarde’s Food Pantry at the Cathedral Church of St.Mark, 231 E. 200 South in Salt Lake City, serves pet food alongside its regular selection of human food, whenever available. You do not need to be a member of the Episcopal Church to order food, but you do need to bring identification. The store is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and on Thursdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Donate food at the Pet Food Pantry at Best Friends Animal Society in Salt Lake City on Saturday, November 6, 2021.

Sterilization / services or vaccinations

Salt Lake County Animal Services offers free spaying and neutering services every two months, which includes vaccinations and a microchip. Pre-registration is required; Stains open a week in advance and fill quickly. Follow Salt Lake County Animal Services on Facebook to view upcoming events; The registration link will be posted under each event.

At the time of service, owners will be required to license their pets, which costs $15 or $5 (for seniors 60 and older). To qualify for these services, you must live in Bluffdale, Holladay, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray, Salt Lake City, or in the towns of Copperton, Emigration Canyon, Kearns, Magna, or White City.

The Nuzzles & Co. Clinic provides. Community Clinic in Biwa Affordable spay/neutering and vaccinations, plus stipends for pet owners who meet certain income requirements. Visit for more information.

The Humane Society of Utah will spay or neuter dogs for $125 and cats for $90 at their clinics in Murray and St. George. The organization also offers low-cost vaccines.

Street Dawg Crew of Utah partners with local veterinary clinics to provide free vaccination clinics each year and can also help cover spay/neuter services. Contact the organization for more information.

Acute and emergency medical needs

Pet Samaritan Fund supports pet owners in Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County who cannot afford veterinary care. In order to qualify, you must be able to show that you receive disability or Social Security benefits, are in financial hardship, or receive government assistance such as Medicaid or WIC.

Best Friends Animal Society has an extensive list on its website of organizations that provide financial assistance for pet medical care.

The Humane Society of Utah’s Pet Retention Program is designed to keep pets indoors, even if their owner or family is experiencing some sort of crisis. Provides pet owners with temporary assistance with access to pet food and veterinary care.

Street Dawg Crew of Utah strives to help homeless and low-income pet owners with emergency medical care whenever possible.

Cat litter, beds, toys, leashes, etc.

Best Friends Animal Society distributes each of these items through its pet food pantry, but the selection varies based on what has been donated to the organization.

West Valley City Animal Services distributes cat litter through its pet supply drop operation, as well as pet food.

Nuzzles & Co. offers. Cat litter through pop-up pet food stores in the Salt Lake Valley, as well as at Rescue Ranch in Summit County.

The Street Dawg Crew of Utah distributes these items at Pioneer Park, along with pet food.

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Margie Varela, founder and president of Street Dawg Crew in Utah, left, poses for a photo with board chair Trachelle Hilton-King in Pioneer Park on October 31, 2021, while distributing pet food and supplies Others for homeless pet owners.

how can I help

Anyone interested in donating to the organizations mentioned in this story can do so through their websites.

Best Friends Animal Society accepts donations of pet food (especially in need of cat food) and other supplies in boxes near the front doors of the Sugar House Life Saving Center, as well as through Amazon.

The Humane Society lists a variety of ways one can file on their website. West Valley Animal Services accepts donations of pet food and cat litter at its facility located at 4522 W. 3500 South.


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