Are there charities to help pet owners in need?
January 4, 2014 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Are there charities to help pet owners in need? I came across a Craigslist ad that really bummed me out.

So, I was poking around the "free stuff" section of Craigslist looking for a compost bin, and I came across a post that said, "free dog" which seemed like a sort of weirdly sparse headline so I clicked on it and read this lady's pitch to send her dog to a better home which made me so. sad. Basically, there was this picture of this little dog, which I gather from the description is apparently sort of grumpy and old and she had written in a sort of earnest way that she'd fallen on hard times and couldn't afford to pay for dog food and shots anymore. She had this list of requirements for the nice home she wanted for her dog. She'd posted it on the day after Christmas. I sent her a message to tell her that her post had really bummed me out and just wondering if she had found a home for her dog. She said that she hadn't, and told me that she's a really sweet and loving dog but if I wanted to adopt her she needed to have "Little Bites" dog food because before she got her she had formerly been a breeder and lost some of her teeth trying to chew herself out of her kennel(!) At this point I felt like I was watching the sad parts of Milo and Otis or something.

Anyway, it seemed pretty clear that the little dog already had a loving home and I wanted to see if there were any resources for pet owners that were going through hard times. I used to volunteer at a food pantry and I remember people coming in talking about feeding their cats cornflakes, and I remembered wondering, is there assistance for pet owners? If I could I would just send her a $300 gift certificate to Pet Co but 1. I don't have $300 and 2. People would probably rightly be a little suspicious of a stranger on the internet giving them $300. I think I would be suspicious of me too. But anyway, is there anything you can do in this situation?
posted by mermily to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
When I was in Michigan, the Humane Society of Huron Valley provided both food and vet assistance. It was called "Bountiful Bowls," and it looks like the program is still running. I imagine that vets or shelters in your area might know about similar programs.
posted by limeswirltart at 9:45 AM on January 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't know about official charities, but I have some Amazon gift cards. If you can coordinate it, I'd be happy to send some food her way. It looks like her dog food is available on Amazon. Memail me if this seems doable.
posted by studioaudience at 9:48 AM on January 4, 2014 [10 favorites]

The Cincinnati Pet Food Pantry exists to help people feed their pets in situations like you are talking about. I think it is a great idea that started small and I really appreciate the spirit behind keeping people with their pets.
posted by katinka-katinka at 9:48 AM on January 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

There are pet food banks in different communities around the country. This site might help you track down something in your area that could help.
posted by carolinecrane at 9:50 AM on January 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

I hope this doesn't stray (pun not intended) too far from your question, but I wonder if in this particular instance you might at least be able to help her find a rescue group that will arrange to have her dog fostered before it's permanently rehomed? There are horror stories about what can happen to animals given away for free on Craigslist. Even if you can't take in this dog, maybe there is a material way you can help it find its new home.
posted by scody at 9:53 AM on January 4, 2014 [9 favorites]

This is what humane societies do! See if the local ASPCA or municipal animal shelter can help. Also, if you want to help personally it really doesn't need to be $300. Just $20 could get her a big bag of dog food that could last her a month. A lot of pet stores (especially the bigger ones like Petco, etc.) will let you call and pay with your credit card over the phone, then she can come pick up the food...
posted by cairdeas at 10:44 AM on January 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

AniMeals is a food bank for pets (also a non-profit shelter). There are AniMeals collection bins in a shelter near where I live. Suggest that she contact AniMeals, her local Humane Society, and any no-kill shelter near where she lives.

I agree with Scody that, if this woman can't keep her dog, that she should contact a shelter or rescue to help her re-home it rather than give it away for free. "Free to good home" pets often meet bad fates. Even if one has to put a pet up for adoption on Craigslist, it's best to charge a small sum (like $25) to weed out the animal abusers.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:55 AM on January 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not directly applicable, but I just found out for emergency pet care after disasters near Philly. I didn't know such a thing existed. There might be a regional similar charity near you.
posted by TheAdamist at 12:37 PM on January 4, 2014

I don't know about charities for this, but I and maybe some other readers would like to help if possible; the Amazon idea is a good one...any way to make this happen?
posted by Pomo at 1:15 PM on January 4, 2014

In NC, there are a bunch of resources that give people pet food:
Pet assistance program
Charlotte pet food bank

And programs that specialize in other things but also give pet food assistance:
Forsyth County Animal Control
The Humane Society of the Piedmont: Greensboro
Friends of Madison County Animals
Community Partnership for Pets: Flat Rock
Animal Compassion Network: Skyland
Animal Protection Society of Durham
Haywood Animal Welfare Association: Waynesville
SPCA of Wake County: Raleigh
posted by rmless at 1:15 PM on January 4, 2014

The Humane Society has a list of state and national resources for this.
posted by bibliogrrl at 1:38 PM on January 4, 2014

In Philadelphia PAWS has a special fund to help low-income folks care for their animals. You can donate to it by specifying "PAWS & CLAWS FUND" with your donation.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:41 PM on January 4, 2014

I'd be happy to ship some dog food her way as well - Amazon has it on prime. If you wind up talking to her, and she'd accept it, please memail me, and I can send the food to you or her if she's willing to give out an address. so sad! :(
posted by needlegrrl at 5:10 PM on January 4, 2014

Thanks for the advice everyone. I didn't know those resources were out there but I am grateful that they are. I'll get in touch with the local Humane Society. Also I will contact her via email and ask her if she'd be willing to accept the pet food donations. (Thanks!)
posted by mermily at 9:38 PM on January 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

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