Humane Society Launches Free Services To Keep More People and Pets Together

Innovative “Friends for Life” program helps seniors and vulnerable pet lovers access essential care

Ann Arbor, MI (May 8, 2023) — Having to surrender a companion animal can have dire effects—causing grief, and some say, the loss of their reason to get up in the morning. On the flip side, studies show pets can be literal life savers—especially for seniors, and others socially isolated, for whom loneliness is a silent killer.

So many pets are surrendered to us by loving owners,” says Tanya Hilgendorf, CEO of the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV). “Many could have kept their companions with more assistance. While we have a popular pet food pantry, emergency harbor program, and behavior and veterinary assistance, more can be done.”

“Friends for Life” at HSHV is being brought to life by the generosity of the Buhr family, in loving memory of deeply devoted animal lovers Ann Buhr and Kathy Buhr. The program will provide support for seniors and others in need, including veterinary assistance, in-home support and supplies, short-term housing, and animal visits.

“Pets provide critical love and companionship, and our first goal is to keep animals in the loving homes they already have,” says Hilgendorf. “We’re grateful to the Buhr family for helping us do even more to preserve the bond between people and their pets.” 

The program will be partly powered by HSHV volunteers who will both help people with the care of their companion animals as well as bring shelter animals to those who’d like a visit.

The grant also enables us to provide critical veterinary care to the pets of seniors,” says Alicia Curley, the Friends for Life Program Coordinator. “We believe veterinary access is critical to helping people hold onto their pets and to keep pets happy and healthy. So, for the many folks facing transportation challenges, we’ll be able to deliver needed services where they are.” 


“Further, we’ll now have the opportunity to provide more support to folks in the community who are experiencing housing insecurity or are living on streets with their pets,” says Curley. “Though many human services exist in our community, there is little for pets in these situations, and people experiencing homelessness can’t bring their animal companion into the homeless shelter. Some people will choose to live on the streets or in a car over giving up their furry family member. This program can help keep the animal healthy and with their person.” 


In addition to support services and veterinary care, HSHV will expand its partnership with local agencies, such as Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, and senior living facilities to ensure pet owners have food, litter, treats, toys and other pet necessities. Additional services will include educational seminars and special adoption events. 


For more information on the program or to inquire about becoming a partner to help keep pets with their people, please see or contact Program Coordinator Alicia Curley by email or phone 734-661-3550.




About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:

The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save-rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website( on our annual report(


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