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Portage pet food pantry offers low-cost vaccinations

Heather Hoekstrright keeps secure grip four-month-old Bellas she gets vaccinatifrom veterinarian KatrAsbury left Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry Portage Thursday Aug.

Heather Hoekstra, right, keeps a secure grip on four-month-old Bella as she gets a vaccination from veterinarian Katrin Asbury, left, at the Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry in Portage Thursday Aug. 25, 2011. Bella's owner Michelle Arnold, of South Haven, is at center. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 4, 2011 10:02AM



PORTAGE — Dennis Burton and his rescued greyhound, Rachel, waited in line Thursday morning for Rachel to get low-cost vaccinations at the Kibble Kitchen Pet Pantry.

Burton started coming to the Kibble Kitchen for pet food a couple of months ago. He and his wife also have a poodle they rescued and a cat they found outside in the winter.

“It definitely has enabled us to keep the pets and keep them healthy. Without being able to take proper care of them, we would have had to find someplace to admit them,” the South Haven resident said, adding his household income is “kind of low right now.”

Burton was one of dozens of pet owners on hand for the low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic offered at the pantry, and also was on hand when the pantry received almost $2,000 in supplies and monetary donations from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office, which includes $1,000 donation from the Humane Society United States.

The pantry opened almost seven months ago at 5882 U.S. 6 to provide pet food for pet owners facing financial hard times who wouldn’t otherwise be able to keep their pets. Founder and chief executive officer Michelle Duca said the donations from the Humane Society and Zoeller’s office would help the pantry continue in its mission.

The pantry is working on future low-cost vaccination clinics.

“We would hope to do it every six months, but it could be once a year, depending on donations,” Duca said. The pantry had enough vaccines and microchips for 150 pets.

Burton eventually would have gotten his pets vaccinated without the clinic.

“It probably just would have been a little late and we would have cut somewhere in the budget,” he said.

The pantry offered the low-cost vaccinations, as well as microchips, thanks to assistance from the Humane Society Calumet in Munster and the Humane Society United States.

Zoeller’s office raised the money and supplies through its third annual “Dog Days of Summer” drive. He was scheduled to make a similar stop at the Humane Society Northwest Indiana in Gary’s Miller Beach neighborhood; the shelter there was offering low-cost microchips.

Kelly Williams of Gary brought her Chihuahua Cutie to the Kibble Kitchen for a microchip and the vaccinations, as well as a free nail trim. The dog hadn’t had her vaccinations since she was a puppy, before Williams had her.

“She’s gone without thus far because of the cost. We were planning on getting it done and it was just one thing after another,” she said. “It’s time for her to have them.”



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