LINCOLN, Maine — Whenever the economy swoons, pets suffer.
When people who might otherwise be loving pet owners can no longer afford their animals, shelters become burdened with more pets than they usually see, Alan Grant says.
That’s why the owner of the Why Not Stop? convenience store on West Broadway and his wife, Jamie, will donate 3 cents for every gallon of gasoline they sell this month to the Penobscot Valley Humane Society shelter as part of their Paws for Gas program.
“I have a soft spot for animals,” Grant said Thursday. “I know they [shelter workers and volunteers] try very hard and they are very underfunded.”
Running through April 30, the program will help the Park Avenue shelter pay its expenses. To trigger the donations, customers must tell store clerks they want to Paws for Gas during checkout, Grant said.
“They have to go into the store to do it and say, ‘Paws for Gas’ or something about the humane society shelter,” Grant said.
Customers will not be charged extra, but having them trigger the donations might help them feel a little better about having to pay rising gasoline prices, Grant said.
The Grants get the satisfaction of helping a local charity.
“I guess you could say that we would like to adopt the humane society,” Jamie Grant said in a statement.
Shelter manager Meg Crocker-Curtis said she is grateful for the Grants’ generosity. She’s not sure exactly how the donations will be used.
The shelter, she said, can use more cages, animal food, blankets, bleach and paper towels. More funding for its spay and neutering program and to finish its 20-by-44-foot addition would also be welcome, she said.
“We have a lot of things we need,” she said.
The shelter has been more crowded than usual, Crocker-Curtis said, due to pet owners being forced to give up pets they no longer can afford to keep. Nine dogs, 25 cats and kittens, and three cockatiel birds were in residence Thursday.
“There’s a beautiful St. Bernard back there that somebody paid big money for that they just couldn’t keep,” Crocker-Curtis said.
The Grants hope their idea will inspire more charity from businesses and residents. Anyone interested in donating to the shelter, acquiring a pet or doing shelter volunteer work can call 794-3457 or mail checks or money orders to P.O. Box 73, Lincoln ME 04457.