FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Humane Fort Wayne has a program for pet owners who are having trouble caring for their animals.

Pet Promises helps provide pet owners with resources like pet food, supplies and in-home care for people who are struggling to cover the costs of caring for a pet, people who are elderly or disabled who aren’t able to physically move around to care for animals but want to keep them or people who just need assistance in general.

“The goal of this program is to help keep pets with families and to help reduce the number of animals in shelters,” said Melissa Osborn, the program’s service administrator at Humane Fort Wayne. “My job here is analyzing the data we have on where these animals come from and why and I have often found that people give up their pets due to financial reasons.”

Pet Promises began in 2015 and have served about 7,000 pets in the Fort Wayne area. She said they typically care for about 750 pets per year.

“Often we get people who come to us through word-of-mouth. People should know that we don’t judge you here and that we are here to help you with whatever your needs are,” Osborn said.

The program is funded through grants and donors. Humane Fort Wayne can help care for your pets through its in-home services where they will send volunteers to your home to help care for your pet. They also do free vaccine clinics for people who need their pets vaccinated.

The program has a food pantry set up for people to come get pet food. They have five locations across the city.

“We often get people who come to us to ask for help. They want to keep their pets and need help so they can continue to own their pets,” she said.

She has also seen situations where people had a housefire or they ended up in the hospital and didn’t have anyone to watch their pets. Pet Promises can care for your pet while someone is gone for a long period of time.

“I’ve seen people come in crying because it had been such a long time since they’ve seen their pet,” she said.

People struggling with the costs to care for pets is a nationwide problem, Osborn said. She has seen the cost of pet food almost double in recent years and Humane Fort Wayne has had to start paying for their own pet food to help keep up with increased demand.

“We never had to buy food in the past,” she said. “When we go to Sam’s Club, we have to send 10 people to get 10 bags of pet food because they won’t allow us to buy 10 bags at once.”

Humane Fort Wayne is in the middle of its capital campaign, where they are raising money to expand its shelter on Hanna Street and eventually dedicate it entirely to its Pet Promises program.

The facility will be the first pet social services program in the state of Indiana.