In 2002, a group of compassionate individuals formed The Pet Project. Their original mission was to make it possible for HIV/AIDS patients in Broward County and Miami/Dade to keep their pets. The Pet Project offers financial assistance, help with veterinary costs, vaccinations, and more.
Nearly twenty years ago, the HIV/AIDS virus still had a mark of shame and besmirchment attached to it. Many people living with HIV, especially in the gay community, were alienated from society and, tragically, even by their own families. The stigma caused numerous people to suffer alone. Animals love and do not judge cruelly like people. For many HIV patients, their only companion left was their pets.
However, keeping an animal companion while fighting illness, trauma, and financial burden was difficult, especially for those living with HIV in 2002. Medical treatments for the virus were not as advanced as they are today. Insurance companies could still deny people coverage based on health conditions. The cost of HIV medications and medical treatments left countless victims impoverished, alone, and sick.
How much greater their suffering must have been when they had to lose their pets after already suffering such loss. Courageously, The Pet Project stood up for people living with HIV, as they worked tirelessly to keep pets and owners together. Since 2002, their motto has been “People and Pets, Together Forever!”
Today The Pet Project does not just help those living with HIV/AIDS. They help all those in need. If you know someone suffering from an illness, disability, or financial hardship in South Florida, please reach out to The Pet Project. They will do everything they can to help people and their pets, no matter what unfortunate circumstances they are going through. You can contact them by visiting their website and clicking here.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sue Martino, who is the Executive Director of the Pet Project. Sue is an empathetic and caring soul who knew the founder of the Pet Project. Her passion for animals and human suffering is evident in her dedication to making sure no one loses their pets due to lamentable causes.
After relocating to Florida in 2006, she became involved with the Pet Project in 2007. She helped expand the organization to help not just those inflicted by HIV/AIDS but for everyone in need. People have lost their pets due to illness, disability, and financial burden. Victims of crime and natural disasters have felt helpless as they had to abandon their animal companions. Senior citizens may no longer be able to care for their pets due to many reasons. The Pet Project helps all these people by ensuring they do not lose their pets!
The Pet Project currently serves Broward and Miami/Dade County. They formed a partnership in 2010 with the Humane Society of Broward County. This partnership allowed them to give their clients free pet vaccinations and diminished veterinary costs. The Pet Project plans to expand throughout the entire state of Florida and eventually as a nationwide not-for-profit organization. Every month, they distribute a whopping 7,000 pounds of pet food! For those that are homebound, they offer home deliveries. Currently, they are maintaining over 2,000 pets in the Broward County area alone. During the Covid-19 pandemic, The Pet Project donated food to over 6000 families in addition to their regular clients.
Once a pet comes into their fold, The Pet Project helps them for life! Their Pet Legacy program ensures that a pet will always have a home, even if their owner passes away. Find out more information about The Pet Legacy program here. What about senior pets?
The Pet Project has a senior paws program! Senior Paws showcases older dogs that may not be as likely to get adopted. If someone adopts a senior pet, they get all of the project benefits, including food, reduced vet care, and vaccinations! Volunteers and employees at The Pet Project are passionate in the belief that senior dogs deserve a chance to live in a happy and loving home instead of a shelter. Click here to see some of the Senior Paws that are available for adoption. These are some of their hopeful candidates!
The Pet Project accepts financial contributions of any amount, and you can donate pet supplies. All donations are tax-deductible.
Be sure to attend one of their events. They are a ton of fun, and you can enjoy yourself while knowing you are helping a wonderful cause. For a complete and up-to-date schedule, click here to check out their website.
If you are looking to volunteer, The Pet Project will be happy to have you! There are many different types of volunteer opportunities.
Spread the word about The Pet Project on social media. The more people know about this benevolent organization, the more others can help. Let’s help The Pet Project so that we can keep “People and Pets Together Forever!”
Megan Rebecca is a classical pianist, singer, composer, writer and music promoter. She holds a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Piano Performance. As a performer, Megan has played at many local venues and theaters as both a classical and contemporary performer. She has performed at clubs such as the Open Stage Club in Coral Gables, Jazid in South Beach, and has given recitals at the 92nd Street Y in New York City.
Megan Rebecca is active in the music community as a performer and arts activist and has published articles on music, education and travel. She has also published a thesis comparing and contrasting the music of Disney and Japanese anime.