Humane Society of Huron Valley launches free service to keep pets with their families

Friends for Life to offer free care, supplies to owners needing assistance

Image by KatinkavomWolfenmond from Pixabay.

ANN ARBOR – A new, free program at the Humane Society of Huron Valley aims to help seniors and vulnerable pet owners keep their furry, feathered and scaley companions.

Friends for Life will offer support with veterinary care, pet supplies, in-home support, short-term housing and animal visits.

“So many pets are surrendered to us by loving owners,” said HSHV CEO Tanya Hilgendorf in a release. “Many could have kept their companions with more assistance. While we have a popular pet food pantry, emergency harbor program, and behavior and veterinary assistance, more can be done.”

According to the Ann Arbor animal shelter, studies have shown that pets help their owners fight isolation and loneliness and improve mental health. Volunteers with the program will visit those needing assistance to help with animal care. They will also bring HSHV animals to families who would like a visit.

Friends for Life Program Coordinator Alicia Curley noted that the program will provide access to essential veterinary care to the pets of older community members or those without transportation. More support can also be given to the pets of those facing housing insecurity or who are living unhoused with their pets.

“Though many human services exist in our community, there is little for pets in these situations, and people experiencing homelessness can’t bring their animal companion into the homeless shelter. Some people will choose to live on the streets or in a car over giving up their furry family member. This program can help keep the animal healthy and with their person,” Curley said.

HSHV will grow its partnerships with local agencies and senior facilities to make sure local pet owners have enough food, litter, pet toys, treats and other necessities for their companions. The shelter will also offer special adoption events and educational seminars.

Friends for Life is supported by the Buhr family in memory of Ann Buhr and Kathy Buhr.

“Pets provide critical love and companionship, and our first goal is to keep animals in the loving homes they already have,” said Hilgendorf. “We’re grateful to the Buhr family for helping us do even more to preserve the bond between people and their pets.”

Those interested in supporting the program with a partnership can contact Curley at 734-661-3550 or

Learn more about Friends For Life here.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.