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Meals On Wheels launches pet wellness program for seniors

Tania Thorne
Kimo Ralston gets a wellness exam inside the Helen Woodward Animal mobile unit parked in San Marcos as part of the Meals on Wheels mobile pet health and wellness program. February 11, 2022.

Meals on Wheels San Diego is partnering with the Helen Woodward Animal Center to bring no cost mobile veterinary services to seniors receiving meals.

“This is a new partnership with Helen Woodward. They're providing veterinary services for our clients who are getting Animeals delivered. And these are services who would typically be extremely difficult to afford for these seniors who are on a fixed income,” said Brent Wakefield, the organization's CEO.

Animeals, meals for seniors' pets, launched a few years ago as part of the Meals on Wheels deliveries.

Meals On Wheels launches pet wellness program for seniors

On Friday, Fallbrook resident William Ralston took his dog Kimo for a free wellness visit to the Helen Woodward Animal mobile unit in San Marcos.

“We’re on a fixed income, and it allows us a little bit more freedom as far as groceries and things like that," he said. "They're wonderful enough to supply him (Kimo) with wet or dry food. And they're also providing food for my cat.”

Ralston lives on his own with Kimo and his cat. They all receive Meals on wheels.

Wakefield said Meals on Wheels saw a cognitive decline in many of their seniors during the pandemic, but the seniors that lived with a pet did much better.


“These animals are a lifeline. So to be able to provide this service and keep their furry friends healthy and happy is really one of the best things we could do for the health of the individuals as well,” he said.

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The veterinary service will be offered to low income Meals on Wheels recipients who receive Animeals.

The mobile unit will be stationed throughout San Diego County on different days for seniors to take their pets.

It will also make visits to homebound seniors with pets.