A Patchwork of Food Assistance for Pets
Photographs by Don Ipock for The New York Times
DONATION Gloria Harris, a manager at the pet food pantry at Spay and Neuter Kansas City. More Photos >
Published: November 11, 2009
ANIMAL shelters have reported a steep rise in the number of cats and dogs being surrendered as owners face unemployment, home foreclosures, evictions and other financial hardships. But animal welfare groups and even churches are stepping up with bags of kibble and containers of cat litter to help owners keep their pets and to prevent more from being sent to shelters, and sometimes death.
No national network coordinates pet food assistance. Instead, efforts have sprung up at a grass-roots level as individuals and groups have recognized the problem. The means of offering aid to pet owners varies with each organization. The Humane Society of the United States keeps a long list of programs on its Web site headlined “Having Trouble Affording Your Pet?” And the society acknowledges that there are probably many more programs the organization is not aware of.
The Tree House Humane Society in Chicago, which focuses on cats, has provided food assistance for more than 30 years, said Ollie Davidson, the society’s programs manager.
The society, which also provides food for dogs, has seen demand almost double over the last year, giving out more than 44,000 pounds of pet food this year, Mr. Davidson said. About 20 percent of the food distributed was for dogs and about 80 percent for cats. If current trends continue, the organization expects the number of those receiving pet food assistance to grow to 200 next year, from 157.
“Most of our food is coming from donations of people,” Mr. Davidson said, but with the sharp increase in demand the organization is applying for grants to help cover the costs.
Mr. Davidson said the grant applications emphasize that the food aid program is about much more than feeding hungry animals. “We’re helping people,” he said. “In times of stress, it’s always good to keep people with their pets.”
Jennifer Fulton, president of the Northland Pet Food Pantry in Kansas City, Mo., said the demand was huge. “We started giving out food in May of this year, and the response has been incredible,” she said. “We had people feeding their pets before they were feeding themselves.” But now 155 families with pets are being helped.
PAWS Chicago, a no-kill animal shelter, started a crisis-care program and a food bank last year, “when we saw the whole real estate thing happening and people were losing their homes,” said Paula Fasseas, who founded the organization in 1997. The organization provides temporary foster care for pet owners who are struggling because of the economy. In addition, the shelter has worked with the Petco Foundation, providing dog or cat food and litter for up to three months, said Rochelle Michalek, executive director of the shelter.
Sandra Jauga, a maintenance worker in Chicago who said she had been out of work since falling off a ladder this year, turned to PAWS Chicago for help when her workers’ compensation claim was denied. Ms. Jauga, a single mother of four, said Roxy, her beagle-pit bull, would not be able to eat without the aid. “I’m really grateful for the help,” she said. “If you have to get rid of the dog, what’s going to happen with the dog? Where is it going to go?”
With a mission of making Chicago a no-kill city, the shelter visits Chicago’s animal pounds regularly to rescue animals that have not been reclaimed or adopted. By providing pet food to people facing financial hardship, the organization is trying to keep more animals from being surrendered to the pounds.
For its part, the Petco Foundation has been involved with pet-food banks since it began in 1999, said Paul Jolly, the executive director. “We have always been involved in the food bank concept simply because it keeps people with their animals.”
Mr. Jolly said that Hurricane Katrina was a drastic lesson for the country about how strong the bond between people and their pets can be. “Katrina pointed out that pets are part of the family, too,” he said.
The Petco Foundation, based in San Diego, has partnerships for pet-food assistance with about 75 organizations across the country. In January, the foundation is introducing a program with Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity whose members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year.
Under the program, “We Are Families Too,” 750 Petco stores will have bins where customers can donate pet food, Mr. Jolly said. In addition, the foundation will supplement the donations with food from Petco and other vendors. Distributors will often donate food approaching its expiration date.
Help is also available from tiny, grass-roots organizations in smaller towns.
The Young at Heart pet rescue of Palatine, Ill., which focuses on finding homes for cats and dogs over age 5, established Nina’s Pet Food Pantry with a donation from Steve and Laurie Weiner of Buffalo Grove, Ill., in memory of their Portuguese water dog, Nina. The pantry collects donated kibble from individuals and pet-food distributors, mixes the various brands and types of food and repackages it in plastic zip-top bags for distribution at two human food banks, said Karen Ortolano, a spokeswoman for the organization. (Combining the food assures a uniform quality and makes it easier for the animal to make the transition to what the group calls its “rescue mix.”)
After Nina died about a year ago, Mr. Weiner said he could understand the pain of separating from a family pet. “I’m thrilled that dozens of pets don’t know how close they came to having their lives changed,” he said, adding that a relationship with a pet is a 24/7 commitment for the life of the pet. “You don’t move away from them or they don’t go off to college,” he said. His family continues to help with the pantry program, staying involved in the rebagging of the food. “Just last week I was knee-deep in pet food with latex gloves on, sifting and sorting,” he said.
Some of the food-pantry programs encourage or even require pet owners to spay or neuter their pets. Spay and Neuter Kansas City is one group that makes pet altering a requirement. Gloria Harris, pet outreach program manager, said the organization provides low-cost spaying and neutering services for low-income pet owners. If there is not enough money to feed a pet, there probably is not enough for a litter of puppies or kittens, she said.
In October, the organization held its “doggy food raiser,” collecting 12,000 pounds of the 20,000 pounds of food it will distribute this year, Ms. Harris said.
Part of the campaign was tied to the Kansas City Chiefs-Philadelphia Eagles National Football League game this season. Fans were asked to pledge a bag of dog food every time the Chiefs sacked Philadelphia’s quarterback, Michael Vick. Although the quarterback was sacked only once, 500 pounds of food was collected.
But the pet-food banks are not simply the work of animal welfare groups. Northeast Community Lutheran Church in the urban core of Minneapolis serves about 300 people a month at its Little Kitchen Food Shelf, according to its Web site. But the church, which also provides vaccines for companion animals, found that people struggling financially also needed food for their pets. Now people are also offered food for their pets.
“We know that pets being dropped off at humane societies tend to be on the rise in this current economy, so its obvious that pets are suffering,” said the Rev. Craig Pederson, the pastor.
Jennifer Schultz, coordinator of the Little Kitchen, said she knew the demand was great because the church had received calls from people who live in the suburbs and needed help feeding pets.
Dwayne Pough, a Chicago cook who has been out of work for several months, said help from PAWS Chicago made a big difference for his American Staffordshire, Malachi. “Man, it was crucial because he’s a big dog and he eats a lot,” Mr. Pough said. “I get food stamps, and you can’t buy dog food with food stamps. Actually, I was down to my last bag with maybe two more feedings when they came through. It was a life-saver, really.”
Posted: Just One More Pet
November 18, 2009 - Posted by justonemorepet | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Nutrition, Pets | assistance for pets, Cats, dogs, Food Assistance for Pets, homeless pets, Pet Food, pet food aid, pet foster care
13 Comments »
Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
Photos By: Marion Algier – The UCLA Shutterbug
There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
Recent and Seasonal Shots
As I have been fighting Cancer… A battle I am gratefully winning, my furkids have not left my side. They have been a large part of my recovery!! Ask Marion
Photos by the UCLA Shutterbug are protected by copyright, Please email at JustOneMorePet@gmail.com or find us on twitter @JustOneMorePet for permission to duplicate for commerical purposes or to purchase photos.
If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
Help Make a Difference
Protect Your Pet From Tarter and Gum DiseasePlaque Attack Triple Care Dental Spray Amazon.com Widgets
Adopt Just One More Pet All Animals All Pets animal abuse animal advocacy animal advocates animal cruelty animals ASPCA Bears be part of the solution Birds California cancer canines Cats cats and dogs Chihuahuas China Chiweenies Christmas cute dog Doggies dogs dogs and cats Dr. Becker elephants Fido fish for the love of a pet German Shepherd Halloween holidays holidays with pets horses HSUS Humane Society Humane Society of the United States JOMP Just One More Pet JustOneMorePet kittens kitties livestock Love man's best friend man's best friends military dogs monkeys New York Pet Abuse Pet Adoption Pet costumes Pet Food pet fun Pet Health Pet Parents Pets pet safety pets and holidays Pets Are Family Pet Therapy Puppies puppy mills pups rabbits reptiles responsible pet ownership responsible pet parents service dogs Stop Animal Cruelty Texas There Is Always Room For One More Pet we are their voice
- Good Dog: Small Dog, Big Heart February 26, 2015Illustration by John Cuneo by Wells Tower – June/July 2014 - Garden & Gun - Cross-Posted at Just One More Pet The nervous work of owning—and finally loving—a Chihuahua For many years, I thought that owners of small dogs harbored stunted souls. Parents of infant beauty queens. Weird bachelors with pet stairs by their beds. […]justonemorepet
- Dog Mourns The Heart-Breaking Loss Of His Brother January 31, 2015Brutus Cries for Brother Hank By Marion Algier – Just One More Pet The message… animals have feelings too. This shows one dog’s reaction to finding out his twin brother had passed during the night. Brutus, does not want to leave his brother Hanks side even after he’s passed away. Brutus stays close, and […]justonemorepet
- GoDaddy pulls ‘lost puppy’ Super Bowl ad after igniting firestorm on social media January 29, 2015Video: GoDaddy pulls hilarious, humorous or tasteless ‘lost puppy’ Super Bowl ad after igniting firestorm on social media -> You be the judge…justonemorepet
- In Memory of Rosie – Until We Meet Again on Rainbow Bridge January 19, 2015Rosie By Patricia D. Gillenwater Our sweet Rosie passed on to the Rainbow Bridge today after succumbing to the Big C. Rosie came into our lives in a serendipitous moment. She needed us and, after two losses of two wonderful rescue critters for extreme health issues, we needed Rosie. She was with us for nearly […]justonemorepet
- There’s Just One Thing That All Dogs Want To Know January 19, 2015By Harrison’s Natural Dog Training There’s just one thing that all dogs want to know, and they need you to answer it. Between raising the kids and making meals, working a shift, going to soccer games, swimming lessons, making time for your better half, going to the gym walking the dog..well.. the list could go […]justonemorepet
- PETA’s Palin Craziness January 7, 2015By Marion Algier – Excerpted from Our Weasel Of The Week Nominees 01-06-15 !! at Ask Marion My Weasel of the Week nominee is PETA!! . Sarah Palin posted a photo of her 6-year-old special needs son, Trig, trying to help with the dishes. Nobody immediately reacted when he said he needed help to reach […]justonemorepet
- Happy New Year 2015 From Just One More Pet January 2, 2015Take a moment to enjoy the beautiful photographic train ride and the accompanying words: HERE.justonemorepet
- Our Favorite Photo of the 2014 Holiday Season – JOMP December 26, 2014 justonemorepet
- Merry Christmas 2014 From Just One More Pet December 24, 2014Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas And a fabulous Holiday Season May you be surrounded with the people, pets and things you love. May your heart be filled with joy and memories of former Christmases And may you be blessed by the story and love of the true reason for this beautiful season. The […]justonemorepet
- Christmas Fun and Wishes From Just One More Pet 2014 December 16, 2014
- Good Dog: Small Dog, Big Heart February 26, 2015
Find Pet Friendly Hotels
artiewhitefox on GoDaddy pulls ‘lost pupp… Dog, truly a gift!… on ‘Until One Has Loved an… In Memory of Rosie… on A Dog’s Purpose –… In Memory of Rosie… on Meowsa! Do our pets go to… In Memory of Rosie… on Celebrating Animals in the…
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Great Book for Children and Pet Lovers… And a Perfect Holiday GiftOne More Pet Emily loves animals so much that she can’t resist bringing them home. When a local farmer feels under the weather, she is only too eager to “feed the lambs, milk the cows and brush the rams.” The farmer is so grateful for Emily’s help that he gives her a giant egg... Can you guess what happens after that? The rhythmic verse begs to be read aloud, and the lively pictures will delight children as they watch Emily’s collection of pets get bigger and bigger.
~~ 2000+ Dog Books And All Things Dog ~~
Buy Now: A Must Have For Every Pet Owner
- February 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!