WAGS Program In Need Of Support

By Crystal A. Proxmire

Jihannh Jones knows the comfort that having a pet can bring. After a long day of work helping service clients at the Michigan AIDS Coalition, Jones goes home to his adorable Shih-Poo named Buddy.

"Sometimes in life all you have is your pets when your family and friends have turned on you," Jones said. That's why his work with MAC is so important. Jones runs the WAGS program, which means Wonderful Animals Giving Support. And his job is to provide support to the animals that give support to their human companions. The program is designed to ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS are able to keep their furry friends in their lives even though they may struggle financially

WAGS provides a basic supply of food for cats or dogs. When there is funding to do so, they also help with veterinary bills up to $100 a year.

For over a dozen years WAGS has been helping low-income clients keep their pets. Individuals must make less than $1,000 a month to qualify for the program, and they must verify proof of HIV-positive status.

Jones said he knows that animals provide "joy and laugher." Helping support WAGS can also bring the good, warm feeling of helping both a person and an animal have joy and laughter in their lives.

The program costs about $5,000 a year for MAC to run, and currently they are not getting any grants for it. People can help by donating food or money, which can be done by contacting Jones at jjones@michiganaidscoalition.org.

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