Visitors to the annual open house hosted by the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County at 26 Millersville Road, Lancaster, on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be able to tour the organization's new mobile unit.
"We just christened it, and we've been debugging it. We have to tweak (the process) so it's honed," said Pet Pantry executive director Melody Sanders. "We will start scheduling more appointments (after the) fall, and we're hoping to find someone to pull it. (Once it's fully operational), I think it will be a valuable resource for the community."
The mobile unit was designed to serve three purposes. First, the traveling veterinary facility can host feral clinics on farms or in communities where feral cats live in abundance. Spay/neuter and vaccination services will be available during those clinics.
"We're trying to get a trap-neuter-release initiative going," Sanders said. "We're willing to work with communities who can get out there and trap (feral cats)."
Second, the mobile unit can host vaccine clinics for family pets. It is important to ensure animals are current on protection from rabies, distemper, and other viruses.
Third, the brightly colored trailer will be an eye-catching addition to promotional events. It is air-conditioned, so cats that are available for adoption will be able to rest comfortably for folks to meet inside.
The open house will include self-guided tours of the Pet Pantry's headquarters, visits with adoptable cats, a meet-and-greet with canine mascot Sasha, and refreshments. Pets are welcome to accompany their owners and pose together for fall fun pictures for a fee. A limited number of Halloween costumes will be available for pets to wear in the photos. Additional costumes may be purchased in the fully stocked thrift shop.
Folks may also buy tickets for the third annual bingo fundraiser that will be held on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Columbus Association, 1575 New Danville Pike, Lancaster, and order their bulbs for the annual Light the Way to Meet the Need event. Bulbs may be dedicated in memory or honor of pets and people. They will be displayed at the Pet Pantry during December, and a lighting ceremony will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. Pictures with Santa Claus will be available for a fee from 3 to 6 p.m. that day.
There is no cost to attend the open house, but attendees are asked to bring dry food for dogs and cats.
"It's our opportunity to fill our shelves with the food we need to prepare for the holiday season," Sanders said. "We do a double distribution in November and none in December so that everyone has what they need for the holidays."
The Pet Pantry regularly distributes 5,000 pounds of pet food each month. Distributions take place in Gap and Coatesville, as well as at Water Street Mission and the Pet Pantry. The organization supplies food to rescue groups on an emergency basis. The Pet Pantry also supports more than 140 cats that are available for adoption. Most of the animals live in foster homes, but a few temporarily reside at the Pet Pantry. About 15 felines are anticipated to be present at the open house.