By Tiana Nelson
About a week ago, I received the following email: “We are in desperate need of some dog food for our much loved pets. We have 3 dogs, 1 miniature schnauzer, 1 Border collie mix and 1 white Pyrenees. The 2 big dogs weigh around 75 pounds and eat about 15 pounds of dry dog food a week. The little dog needs to eat 1 canned food per day. She has an esophageal disease that causes her to vomit if she eats dry food. We are in extreme financial woes right now. My daughter just got a job, but does not get paid for another 3 1/2 weeks. Any help would greatly be appreciated until that time. We love our dogs so much and would absolutely dread having to give them up. Please help us!!”
As a volunteer for the Furry Friends Food Drive, a group of us got the email, and when I followed up, I learned that the woman had sent the email to five different organizations and had not heard from anyone — she was desperate and called me immediately, telling me that she was on the last day that she had food for her dogs, and didn’t know what to do.
I told her that we would take care of it and she would have food to give her dogs the next day. My awesome boyfriend went to Sam’s Club and purchased $70 worth of dog food, enough to keep the dogs well-fed for at least two months. The next day my pups Tonka and Bow joined me in delivering the food.
As I heard the family’s dogs barking inside the home, the daughter helped me bring the bags of food into the garage — saying “thank you” nearly a dozen times during the three minutes I was at their house.
I told her that by volunteering at the shelter, I have seen a lot of dogs that were in wonderful homes and had to be relinquished because the family couldn’t afford to keep them. I told her I really admired their family for caring enough about their pets to ask for help. She told me that she couldn’t imagine her life without her “guys.”
They were just an everyday family — they could have been anyone’s neighbor … it just goes to show the importance of asking for help and the importance of answering the call for help — it can make all the difference.
There are tens of thousands of families facing these kinds of tough decisions, and a little assistance can go such a long way in helping them keep their animals at home. The Furry Friends Food Drive is in its third year and works with the Food Bank of the Rockies to collect pet food to help people keep their animals — you can find out more here: www.furryfriendsfooddrive.org.
Helping families feed their pets keeps animals out of shelters, not only keeping them with their loving families, but also giving other pets in shelters a second chance. It’s an issue that I didn’t think much about before, but something that can make a direct difference in the lives of so many.
Tiana Nelson is from Denver, Colo., and started the Doggie Avenger Blog with the goal of educating people and changing their perceptions about animals. When she began volunteering at a local animal shelter, it struck her that so many people were not actively aware of animal overpopulation. She hopes to change the lives of animals one-by-one through increasing awareness and encouraging people to always adopt — never buy from a breeder or pet store, to always spay and neuter their pets, to understand the depth of animal issues and to know why all of that is important. Tiana currently works in higher education, and in her free time enjoys traveling, running, volunteering with animals, spending time with her two pugs, and her family and friends.