LINCOLN PARK — Just in time for Thanksgiving, an all-natural pet food company has signed on to provide PAWS Chicago animal shelter with all of the food it needs.
Merrick Pet Care will provide 100,000 pounds of dog and cat food a year to PAWS, which will fill about 400,000 bowls of food annually.
"It was like a little dream come true," said Paula Fasseas, PAWS Chicago founder. "We had always hoped that a pet food company would come to us with quality."
In the past, PAWS Chicago, which took in more than 5,700 animals last year, relied on individual donations from a number of different companies and also had to purchase food.
The new partnership means the animals will be fed much higher quality food, according to Fasseas.
"There was always the fear when you know that you are not giving your animals the quality they are going to take longer to get healthy," she said.
The new food, which arrived by the truckload Friday, is 100 percent natural without any fillers, according to Greg Shearson, CEO of Merrick Pet Care.
"We don't compromise in anything," he said. "No soy, no wheat, no GMOs, free of any ingredients from China."
PAWS Chicago hopes the higher quality food will result in healthier pets and in turn more adoptions.
"It's so important because so many of these animals come from really tough conditions," Fasseas said. "They lack nutrition. They are very sick and nutrition is everything we believe in."
Higher quality pet food "helps our adopters because they will have less vet bills," Fasseas said. "When you feed healthy, you prevent a lot of these problems."
Merrick will not only supply PAWS Chicago, and PAWS Chicago North Shore, which is projected to open mid-2014, with pet food, but will send each adopter home with a supply of food for the pet's transition.