The nonprofit’s purpose is rooted in both tragedy and love.
Despite gloomy rain and overlying clouds, positivity and humanitarianism were spread beneath a canopy at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. But due to the nature of the charity, humanitarianism may not be the correct word — furmanitarianism, maybe.
On June 3rd, local nonprofit, Annie & Millie’s Place, held its yearly clinic for houseless pets and their owners, giving away free veterinary care, food, vouchers for anesthesia-based care and smiles.
Two years since its inception, Annie & Millie’s Place is going strong, bringing charity and assistance to houseless pet owners in Longmont and beyond. The mission, originating from founder Kristen Baltrum, is to combat the growing need for animal bonds and the crushing blow of the modern housing market.
“There are rising rent costs and rising needs for the human-animal bond,” Baltrum said. “Together this creates an issue: how do we honor the bond in the face of rising living costs? We’re trying to prevent homelessness as much as helping those that are already homeless.”
The nonprofit’s purpose is rooted in both tragedy and love. Baltrum’s sister, Annie, died by suicide in July 2019. During her final days, Annie was houseless. But, she kept a strong bond with her dog, Millie. She was unwilling to let the pet go, causing a collection of hurdles.
Shelters and services were unwilling to help the duo, but Annie didn’t waver, keeping the dog by her side. Through this, Baltrum recognized the importance of maintaining the human-animal bond, creating help and opportunities for those with the same sentiment.
The annual clinic was just another step in the pursuit, providing both owners and pets with healthcare and supplies.
Baltrum pointed out the growing demand, saying, “Just the response to this clinic shows how big the need is. A lot of people, even if they are housed, are one veterinary bill away from being unhoused. We know the importance of animals, and sometimes families choose to pay the veterinary bill before paying their rent. So, that is the main concern. We are working to keep people and pets together.”
For the future of Annie & Millie’s Place, Baltrum hopes to grow the efforts nationally, pushing for more opportunities for more pet-friendly shelters and resources. They also look to build another clinic each year but continue to do frequent pet supplies outreaches.
Regarding admitting and coming to Annie & Millie’s Place for help, an act that some may be reluctant to do, Baltrum noted that the resources are available and will only go unused if people aren’t connected with them.
“I would rather our resources get used by the people that need them than sit there unused. Even if you just need help with doggy daycare or dental needs, we want to partner with you. Reach out to us,” she said.