Caring for Pets Through Tough Times

Seer Farms temporarily takes in pets from families in crisis
By JoAnna Lou, December 2010

In tough economic times, we’ve seen an increase in surrendered dogs, a myriad of shelter budget cuts, and the creation of the pet soup kitchen. According to the ASPCA, the recession has added an estimated one to two million animals to shelters.  And that's on top of the six to eight million pets surrendered each year.

I can’t even imagine what I would do if I was financially unable to keep my pets. Loosing your job or house is devastating, but losing a canine family member on top of that is unthinkable.  Unfortunately, many people have no alternative. 

Two years ago, Laura Pople saw people and animals suffering as a result of the economic downturn and decided to create Seer Farms, a facility that would temporarily take in pets from families in crisis from foreclosure, extended medical illness, military deployment, and domestic violence. Within three months she assembled a board of directors and found a property in Jackson, New Jersey, funded by money from her 401k retirement fund. 

When families bring an animal to Seer Farms, they also commit to a timetable for reuniting with their pets. They’re also asked to stay involved by making regular visits. If the owners can afford it, they pay a nominal fee per month to defray costs, but the organization survives on donations from pet supply companies, private donations, and other fundraising efforts.

The need for Laura’s organization was obvious from the start. Seer Farms had a waiting list before they even opened, including requests from all over the nation. Today 175 animals are cared for at Seer Farms and 49 cats and dogs have already been reunited with their families. 


JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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