By Jason Cohen
Recently, a pet store in Chester pitched in to help dogs and cats affected by the summer hurricanes in Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida.
Devastation left not only thousands of people in despair, but animals as well.
Wade Deffenbaugh, who opened Pet Supplies Plus in Chester almost two years ago in the Chester Springs Shopping Center, knew that when the hurricanes hit these states and territory in the summer that thousands of cats and dogs were going to need supplies and food.
“Cash is very useful, but it’s better to give things that can be used,” Deffenbaugh said. “We’ve (Pet Supplies) been trying to blend ourselves into the community.”
So, Deffenbaugh who had already assisted local shelters like St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, decided to continue the trend of giving back and held a fundraiser in the late summer early fall.
Many animals lost their homes due to Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey and some were even transported up north to shelters in New Jersey. To aid these furry creatures, customers could purchase food or supplies, which were designated to go to shelters in N.J., Florida, Texas or Puerto Rico. In October, several SUV’s were filled with supplies and taken to various locations.
Deffenbaugh is also participating in a local holiday drive now titled Hounds and Pounds with St. Hubert’s. Just like numerous organizations make sure people are fed around Christmas, he feels it is important that animals command the same respect.
Operating a pet supplies store is new venture for Deffenbaugh. The Basking Ridge resident worked in finance for more than 25 years and was constantly commuting to the city or traveling. While the money was great, it was tiresome and far from his family.
Looking to make a change, he wanted to do something that could impact the community, help others and keep him close to home. His new job does all of that. He noted that he always had a dog growing up and dogs and cats aren’t just pets; they are part of one’s family.
“The rhythm of what needs to get done is different,” he said. “In terms giving back, it’s more of a direct connection because you get to meet more of the people.”
He noted there are days he misses the perks of the corporate world, like the fancy dinners, but nothing can replace being 10 to 15 minutes from his family, getting to know people in the community and making sure animals are safe and fed.
“You got to want to do it (give back) and you have to find your role in doing it,” he said.