Winter is just around the corner, and one pet owner in our area is facing a rough time unless she can get some help. Mary Uhlik, 56, is disabled and homeless, living in her van. She is on a fixed income, making it hard to find a rental property that she can afford.
There have been some community groups willing to provide her a place to live on her fixed income, but only if she gives up her dogs.
During the past three years, more and more pets have found themselves left behind when their owners homes were foreclosed; many found by realtors listing the properties. Pets often suffer and get left behind when things get rough. Shelters across the country are full of discarded pets whose owners couldn’t commit to their care. Uhlik considers her five dogs family, and will not give them up – not even if it makes things easier for her.
The dogs are all friendly and well behaved. Mary says the dogs are her first priority, and that she is willing to sacrifice her comfort to keep the family together. For now, she and her dogs Missy (a 13 year-old terrier), and her four Alaskan Malamute wolf-mixed dogs, Shu-nuk, Dakota, Thunder and Timber are spending their days at an area dog park and their nights in Uhlik’s van. Sometimes they park in a Wal-Mart lot, or at area rest stops. People have suggested that she take the dogs to a shelter, but Mary knows that the senior Missy and wolf-mix dogs would not stand much of a chance at a shelter.
Uhlik suffers from breathing problems and debilitating arthritis that has forced the fingers on her hand on top of each other, making it difficult to even hold a pen or pencil. The cold weather on the horizon is just going to make things worse.
Uhlik is not looking for a handout, just an affordable home for her and her dogs.
“They need a yard, at least a little bit of space outside,” she said.
Several area animal rescue groups are working together to try to help Uhlik, and asking for donations of items. Mary needs both dog and cat food, cat litter, blankets, gift cards for food (with no way to cook, she can use gift cards to McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants). Most importantly, Uhlik and her dogs needs a home now, before winter.
If you have an empty trailer or rental home that allows dogs and cats, or if you can help with donations for any of her more immediate needs, please contact Urgent Ohio Dogs: UrgentOhioDogs@gmail.com
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