The residents at Country Manor have volunteered their time to help some furry four legged friends by re-packaging donated dog food to assist families with pets in need.
Volunteer Karen Thierry works at the manor with her three dogs — two Golden Retrievers named Minny and Kelly and Trapper, a Burmese mountain dog. Her dogs are usual friends who visit the manor for pet therapy. The dogs were trained locally for the program that helps to perk up residents.
Country Manor Resident Patty Kuhlsen, of Mohawk, said she loves being with the animals.
“I once had a calico cat named Pumpkin and a beagle. I just enjoy spending time with the animals here at the manor,” she said.
Originally from Herkimer, Country Manor resident Ken Harodecki said he always had a dog growing up.
“My favorite breed of dog is the border collie because they are very smart, easy to train and they love to play Frisbee,” he said.
This past fall, after seeing how much the residents cared for the animals, Thierry decided to approach Kuyahoora Valley Community Food Services Pantry Director Ralph Row to see if it would be okay to collect pet food to donate to the shelter. Row said yes and since then the staff and residents of Country Manor have helped to donate and package pet food for families in need.
The Kuyahoora Valley Community Food Services Pantry has been in existence since 1986 and is run out of St. John’s Church in Newport. It helps to support families in Poland, Cold Brook, Ohio and surrounding areas. The pantry is open every Monday from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
“With the helpful addition of pet food we’re helping families stretch their dollar for other food. Although the food is only enough for one week every little bit helps,” said Thierry.
“The residents really enjoy being with the animals for pet therapy and the fact they are able to help their fury friends is such a good thing. They are very happy that they can volunteer and help those families with animals in need,” said Country Manor Activities Director Diana Gannon.
“This has really become a community project. Not only have residents at the nursing home helped to redistribute bags of pet food, but West Canada Valley High School students have also previously helped as well,” said Thierry.
At Christmastime M&T Bank in Newport and Newport Telephone Company accepted donations of pet food at their businesses. West Canada Valley High School students made posters to advertise the event and over the month of December locals donated pet food for the food pantry.
“As an animal advocate, I love that this has become a community event from the Country Manor staff, to students, to local businesses, everyone has helped the cause which has blossomed into this huge thing and I hope to keep it going,” said Thierry.
Page 2 of 2 - Currently the staff and employees at Country Manor have a donation box that is overflowing with all kinds of pet food. More than 100 pounds of food will be distributed to the food pantry on any given Monday, said Thierry. If interested in helping the public is asked to call Thierry at 868-3333 or visit the Kuyahoora Valley Community Food Services Pantry at 7514 N. Main St. in Newport.
Before press time, Trapper has since died.