New food bank with a difference will 'Lend a Paw' to Exmouth pet owners

PUBLISHED: 15:49 07 May 2019

Dog and cat playing together outdoor

Dog and cat playing together outdoor

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Pet owners in need across Exmouth could be lent a paw thanks to new animal food bank launching in the town soon.

Not-for-profit business Whiskers and Wagtails, based in Exeter Road, are launching the innovative service – called 'Lend a Paw Food Bank', in July as a way of giving back to the community.

Owner Kat Waller, whose daughter Blaine aptly named the scheme, hopes the venture will help out pet owners who can't afford to feed their animals every week. Aside from the food bank, Miss Waller has pledged monthly donations to Exmouth-based CJS Exotic Animal Rescue, which is headed up by Jon Spry.

Miss Waller said: “We are downsizing and moving to a unit we were at previously, opposite Krispies. I thought we could set up a food bank – we can help fund it but encourage people to drop food off.

“We welcome anything, such as food for animals that have passed away. We thought it would be a good idea to help people that sometimes struggle to feed their pets that week.

“For some people, like the elderly, their dog or cat is their life.”

The food bank is still in the process of being set up, as Miss Waller is moving shop.

She explained that the plan would be for people to visit the new shop once a week to use the food bank, which would also offer provisions such as medicine and accessories, subject to availability.

“Whiskers and Wagtails has always been a part of the community,” she added.

“The previous owner, Linda, used to help more with paying vet bills. I have gone down the rescue route, but found myself assisting more up-country.

“I want to bring it back more for the Exmouth community.”

Miss Waller, who took over Whiskers and Wagtails in 2017, was inspired to run the business from her childhood experiences of growing up with rescue animals.

Her mother, Maureen, would regularly rescue animals in need, meaning she had a excitable household.

She said: “I am bordering on being vegan – I am against animal cruelty. At the moment, I have two rescue dogs and two rescue cats.

“I have been around animals all my life, from growing up as a little girl to now.”

The new Whiskers and Wagtails shop, in Exeter Road, is expected to open on Monday, July 15.

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