Ranger to the rescue: Project helps families facing hardship keep pets

October, 2017 Posted in Other

By Mary Owen

Financial struggles often put Fido on the bottom of his owners’ to-do list and on the top of their worry list.

“Finding the means to feed your best friend should not have to be a concern while faced with mounting medical bills, a family emergency, or loss of a family member,” said Erin Murphy, founder of the local charity, Ranger Project. “No one should have to be faced with giving up their best friend during a hard time.”

Based in Sublimity, Ranger Project helps pet owners by providing pet food and other supplies to pet owners facing a financial or medical emergency, including seniors with limited resources, domestic abuse victims having to relocate, and others facing temporary hardship.

“I have always loved animals,” said Murphy, who grew up in Polk County. “I spent my youth in 4-H animal and leadership programs. That experience led me to wanting to make a difference in my community.”

Murphy and her Golden Retriever, Ranger, have been through a lot in the 11 and half years they have been together.

“I can honestly say that I would ‘live in a van down by the river’ before I would ever give him up,” she said, quoting motivational speaker, Chris Farley. “I also know that life can throw some pretty wicked curve balls and can be downright unfair at times.”

So downright unfair that Murphy was motivated to help pet owners keep their animals from becoming an animal shelter statistic. Approximately 7.6 million pets enter animal shelters each year, according to her website.

To help change the future for these pets, Murphy founded Ranger Project in February 2017 and now focuses on helping families in Marion, Polk and Linn counties.

“We have also helped families in Jefferson County, and hope to expand even further across the state,” she said. “Families are selected based upon referral from caring individuals that have first-hand understanding of a family’s need.”

Ranger Project provides six months of food and supplies to a family for up to three pets. When needed, the project also supplies basic medical supplies, toys, treats, new beds and grooming supplies. Future plans include providing routine veterinary care for pets in need, Murphy said.

“It may seem like a small focus, but we are not only helping the animals,” she said. “We are providing emotional support for these families, showing them that people really do care about their struggles. We have found that several of the families we have helped are hesitant to ask for help (for themselves), but are willing to accept help for their animals.”

Murphy believes the domino effect of such assistance makes the community stronger. Several local businesses agree, and have reached out to Ranger Project with in-kind and financial donations.

“Veterinary Services Inc., based in Albany, is a major sponsor and donates food and supplies every month,” Murphy said. “Ash Creek Animal Clinic in Independence is also a great partner, helping connect us to families in need.”

Since the Ranger Project is all volunteer run, Murphy said help in any form is always welcome.

“We have a great base of volunteers,” Murphy said. “We can always use more people willing to help us spread the word and recommend. The more we spread the word, the more families we are able to connect with and help.

“If you need help or know someone who does, please contact us through the website,” she added. “Also if you are unable to make a donation or volunteer, there are other ways to help. Like our Facebook page and share it with your friends. Also check out our website to see how you can help just by shopping at Fred Meyer and Amazon.”

Sponsorships of $90 provides one month of food and supplies for families/individuals with two pets, and $50 for families/individuals with one pet. All donations are tax-deductible, and any amount given helps the non-profit fund its mission.

“Every donation, regardless of size, makes a difference in someone’s life,” Murphy said. “And we can always use business and veterinary care services.”

Ranger Project also accepts in-kind donations, including new, unopened bags of food, treats, toys, grooming supplies, beds, and Frontline or Advantage flea medicine.

For monetary donations, links to PayPal are on the Ranger Project website. Also, donations can be mailed to: Ranger Project, P.O. Box 423, Sublimity, OR 97385.

For more information, visit www.rangerproject.com.

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