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A Thanksgiving ‘tail’

By |2005-11-24T09:00:00-05:00November 24th, 2005|News|

FERNDALE – Over 70 people with HIV/AIDS had a new reason to be thankful as they picked up Thanksgiving baskets for themselves and their pets Nov. 18.
The baskets were provided by Wonderful Animals Giving Support, a Ferndale-based program that helps people with HIV/AIDS take care of their companion animals.
The Thanksgiving packages included a box of “people food” and gifts including grocery store gift certificates and a bucket loaded with treats, toys and food for dogs and cats.
The project was organized by Murray Vaughn, a WAGS volunteer from Eastpointe. Vaughn solicited donations from dozens of local and national businesses in a year-long effort.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of community support for this program,” said Michael Odom, who oversees the WAGS program.
“We always try to do something special for Thanksgiving and something special for Christmas,” he added.
WAGS, begun in 1999 by the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project, provides low-income clients with pet food, pet supplies, veterinary services and volunteer support. WAGS assists clients in keeping, feeding and caring for their companion animals when extended hospital stays, physical exhaustion or daily expenses seem insurmountable. WAGS is based on the PAWS program in Los Angeles.
“For people with AIDS, the psychological and physical health benefits of having pets are very significant,” said Odom. “The WAGS program has helped hundreds of area residents keep and care for their pets, which in turn, helps keep their owners happy, healthy, and engaged.”
The program is growing. “We’re adding new clients every day,” said Odom, adding that he had just picked up three new clients and might come up three Thanksgiving packages short. Odom said that no client would leave empty handed, however.
“It just goes to show the need in this community” for these services, Odom said.

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