Tail Waggers 1990, a Livonia-based non-profit charity, is the result of a promise founder, Laura Zain made that she’d take care of the pets her late aunt, Jean Polka, looked after in Detroit. Zain’s crusade to help needy pets began in 1989 when she organized a bowling fundraiser for the Michigan Humane Society that was so successful, it was decided in 1990 to make the bowling fundraiser an annual event. Ms. Zain met many people who couldn’t afford to feed, vaccinate or spay or neuter their pets. Thus began Tail Waggers 1990, a group of volunteers and their partners who provide low-cost medical care for cats and dogs belonging to pet-parents would likely have to surrender them due to financial hardship.
Tail Waggers 1990 is able to provide assistance to pet parents in need with the help of volunteers, local veterinarian offices and via grants from PetSmart Charities (Target Spay/Neuter Program for residents of Redford Township, MI only), the Bissell Pet Foundation (for residents of Garden City and Inkster, MI only to assist with the cost of spaying and neutering and microchipping). The Petco Foundation gave them a Capital Funding grant in July, 2010 that enabled a move from Zain’s home to the store-front location at 28420 Five Mile Rd. in Livonia. The grand opening on July 28, 2012 was, “put on by the Livonia Chamber of Commerce.” A steady stream of people has come through since then, benefiting from low-cost spaying and neutering and vaccinations and their Pantry 4 Paws.
Pantry 4 Paws was developed four years ago to assist pet parents who face financial challenges by providing food and supplies to pet parents who might otherwise be compelled to surrender their pets to shelters and rescues. Ms. Zain states she began buying food, “to help people while looking for another home for their pets.” She found many people changed their minds once the financial burden was removed as to purchasing necessities for their pets. Resources from Pantry 4 Paws are available year-round, day or night after a Tail Waggers volunteer speaks to pet parents in need over the telephone to ascertain the number of cats (and dogs) in need and if the pets in need have been spayed or neutered. Zain states, “this isn’t a free food giveaway to those who don’t want to go out and make those purchases. People don’t need to prove anything – they need to be honest.” Assistance is confidential. One caveat is, however, that they’ll assist pet parents who have unsprayed or unneutered cats (and dogs) once, with the understanding that cats (and dogs) receiving assistance from Tail Waggers will eventually be spayed or neutered. This leads to a second goal besides keeping cats in their homes, which is assisting in spaying and neutering all cats and making sure they live their lives entirely indoors.
They try to keep the Pantry stocked with dry and canned food, kitty litter, toys, and other supplies needed for the proper care and well-being of indoor cats. Dry and canned cat food, both for kittens and adult cats are constantly in short supply, so donations are welcome any time of the year. Donated items may be brought to the Five Mile Rd. location or to other collection points that change year-to-year. Pantry 4 Paws is in special need of supplies during the holiday season.
In addition to on-site services, Tail Waggers 1990 offers a low-cost, off-site vaccination program beginning in March every year. They travel to several locations between March and September to communities as far away as Ypsilanti and Howell, MI offering low-cost vaccinations and microchipping. Vaccinations for cats and dogs are $12 each, including a thorough check-up. Heartworm testing is available year-round for $18 at their Livonia location.
To further their commitment to metro Detroit area pets, Tail Waggers 1990 has obtained additional space in the same strip mall in which they’re currently located where they plan on opening their own clinic in 2013 so they may provide more services to more pets.
For more information, contact them at 734-855-4077 or via their website.