Joan enjoyed a full and independent life until she was suddenly hit by a massive stroke that had her in and out of the hospital for nearly a year. Fortunately, her local Delaware Meals on Wheels program was there for her when she began to struggle and
has been there to support her ever since. Their regular visits and deliveries to the home she shares with her best companion, Snowball the cat, ensure they get the support and care they need.
When her previous cat (also named Snowball) had kittens, the current Snowball was born. Joan and Snowball have built a safe and loving world around each other, living more than 10 years in the same home together.
Like Joan, Snowball is also a survivor. When Joan became ill years after her stroke, she was once again in the hospital and couldn’t always be home. Her sister watched Joan’s companion the best she could, but there was a time Snowball was
left alone for a full week. Thankfully, Snowball is resourceful and independent and, in desperation, survived by ripping open a 15-pound bag of dry cat food.
The unpredictability of her health these days is why Joan is so grateful for the pet services offered by her local CHEER Meals on Wheels program,
who help keep not only her, but also Snowball healthy at home. The local program provides food to 275 pets of their more than 1,000 senior clients. Since 2006, they have grown from providing pet food on an emergency basis only to a twice-annual distribution.
This year, the program will scale up to quarterly deliveries, thanks to a grant from the partnership between Meals on Wheels America and PetSmart Charities®.
“I really appreciate Meals on Wheels bringing food and litter by for Snowball. She even had wet food the other day and she doesn’t get it much, but she really liked it.”
Joan tells us that Snowball is an extremely independent cat. The two even respect each other's space, with separate parts of the house that they know are their own. Joan keeps to the bedroom, while Snowball has the living room – a kingdom
she rules all on her own.
“She doesn’t pay me any mind. Although, sometimes she’ll come up around by my wheelchair.”
One quirk that brings Joan particular delight is that Snowball only likes to sleep in empty paper bags. Joan once set up a cozy bed just for Snowball – but Snowball refused to sleep in it. “Every week when I get the groceries, I take the empty bag and lay it on its side for her. Then she curls up in there to sleep.”
Even though Snowball isn’t the cuddliest cat, Joan knows that Snowball loves her very much.“Every now and again she’ll come lay with me on the bed. It doesn’t happen often, so it’s extra special when it does.”
The difference between living alone and living with a pet is truly life changing. And the support from Meals on Wheels to keep that pet happy and healthy is nothing short of heartwarming. That is why Meals on Wheels, with the support of PetSmart
Charities, works hard to keep seniors and their pets healthy and happy together, just like Joan and Snowball.