Agencies round up goodies for newly adopted pets

By Jim Feehan

The Register-Guard

Published: Monday, November 21, 2005

Some pets will have a barrel of fun this holiday season, thanks to some local animal welfare organizations.

The Bearen Foundation kicked off its sixth annual Presents for Pets drive Sunday, bringing a little happiness to adopted pets. Bearen volunteers at the Lane County Animal Regulation Authority office spent the morning festooning 55-gallon barrels in Christmas wrapping paper.

Starting today, the barrels will be placed at several veterinary offices and pet stores throughout Lane County. Similar to the popular Toys for Tots drive, the Presents for Pets campaign seeks toys, blankets and other pet items that can be dropped into the barrels between now and late December.

Items such as food, flea protection or other medicinal goods must be new or unopened.

"We play Santa for needy pets of Lane County," said Megan Bendtzen, founder and president of the Bearen Foundation.

The donated items are given as gifts to pet owners when they adopt a new dog or cat from the county animal shelter or, this year, the Shelter Animal Resource Alliance. For the past two years, donated goods were shared with the Stray Cat Alliance.

Ginny Cramer, a Shelter Resource volunteer, said food and toy donations are especially needed this time of year. "We have 16 cats at our thrift store on River Road," Cramer said.

The sponsoring Bearen Foundation helps pet owners facing veterinary expenses beyond their means.

Often, the high cost of treatment can mean the difference between life and death for a pet, Bendtzen said.

She should know. Five years ago, Bendtzen's 5-year-old cat, Bearen, suffered acute kidney failure after licking antifreeze from the driveway.

Bendtzen had to decide whether to put Bearen, a Himalayan, down or spend $14,000 on a kidney transplant and dialysis. She opted for the transplant, which was performed at the veterinary research center at the University of California, Davis.

Bendtzen decided to start the foundation after Bearen's successful recovery.

The foundation in past years has collected just shy of 2,000 pounds of food, toys and pet medicine in its Pets for Presents campaign.

Bendtzen said her goal this year is to reach the 2,000-pound mark.



Presents of pet food, supplies and toys may be left in decorated barrels until Christmas

Locations: Amazon Park Animal Clinic, Banfield Veterinary Hospital, Bobcat Pets, Cat & Bird Clinic, Companion Animal Clinic, Delta Oaks Veterinary Clinic, Eugene Animal Hospital, McKenzie Animal Clinic, Mini Pet Mart on River Road, Petco, Zany Zoo Pets, Q Street Animal Hospital and Westmoreland Animal Hospital

Benefactors: Lane County Animal Regulation Authority, Shelter Animal Resource Alliance