Eight Great Ways to Reduce the Number of Homeless Pets

With roughly 7.6 million animals ending up in shelters every year, the task of reducing the number of homeless pets may seem daunting. However, there are many steps that you can take to help keep pets in secure homes with the families that love them. Below are eight great ways to reduce the number of homeless pets in your community.

1) Support your local pet food bank.

Supporting your local pet food bank will help keep pets with the families who love them. There are multiple ways that you can offer support, including the following:

  • Make a cash donation
  • Volunteer your time
  • Donate pet food
  • Host a pet food drive
  • Purchase pet products that support your local pet food bank

2) Foster pets for your local animal rescue or shelter.

Fostering pets for your local animal shelter or rescue offers many benefits for pets and pet owners alike. In addition to saving animals’ lives, you help to increase the likelihood of permanent adoption by exposing foster animals to friends, family members, and other potential owners. Additionally, fostering is a simple process and foster families often receive assistance with medical care.

3) Support organizations that help cover veterinary costs.

When your pet is suffering from an illness or injury, your primary goal is to ensure that your pet receives the proper medical care quickly. Unfortunately, many pet owners find themselves unable to cover the costs of mounting veterinary bills. The good news is that there are some great organizations devoted to helping pet owners cover the cost of vet bills. By supporting organizations that help with veterinary bills, you will help keep pets at home with the families that love them. On the Front Range in Colorado, we especially love PetAid and Peace, Love, & Paws.

4) Support providers who offer spay and neuter services.

This step is especially important in low-income or rural areas where pet owners are more likely to avoid spaying and neutering pets because of the associated costs. In Colorado, organizations such as Spay Today, Dumb Friends LeagueCAWL, and PawsCo devote time and energy to providing solutions to low-income pet owners.

5) Microchip your pets.

The microchipping process is quick and virtually painless for dogs and cats. The procedure typically costs less than $50 and can be undertaken at your local veterinary clinic. There are many reasons to microchip your pet, including the following:

6) Train and socialize your pets to coexist with people and other animals.

Exposing your pet to other people and animals at a young age will help your pet develop a trusting, non-aggressive attitude. If you notice any problems with your pet, they should be addressed quickly to prevent negative long-term habits from forming.

7) Purchase pet insurance.

Pet emergencies and illnesses are unpredictable and can be costly. Pet owners can expect to pay an average of $800 to $1,500 for unexpected medical care for pets. Purchasing pet insurance can alleviate the strain of unexpected medical costs and can prevent your family from being ripped apart and financially drained. Healthy Paws Pet Insurance is an example of a pet insurance provider that will donate $50 to Colorado Pet Pantry with each policy purchased.

8) Allow pets in rental properties.

 72% of renters own pets. Unfortunately, many of these pet owners have difficulty securing pet-friendly rental housing. Many landlords have policies that forbid renters to have pets, and owners who do allow pets often impose weight and breed restrictions. If you own rental properties or if you know someone who specializes in rental housing, you can become an agent of change by encouraging owners to allow pets.

Final Considerations

There are things that you can do as a pet owner or an animal advocate to make a positive impact on animal livelihood in your community. By following the eight steps above, you can help reduce the number of homeless pets in our country.


Happy Birthday to Us!

Time is sure flying, and this week we celebrated our 4th Birthday! In June 2013, we held the first pet food bank at Bienvenidos Food Bank in northwest Denver. We didn’t know how it would go. Would anyone come? With a packed box truck, we arrived and unloaded. Soon there was a line. We fed 157 pets that day, and made sure they had food for a full month.

We want to help families to feed their pets and keep them in their loving homes. Four years after we dreamed up this idea, we’ve grown in volunteers, financial support, and partnerships. In 2016, we fed 6,335 pets for a month. This year, our goal is to feed 11,000!

Thank You for Helping Us Celebrate Our 4th Birthday. This was only achievable through the support of you and the community.


Colorado Expression Magazine Writes about the Colorado Pet Pantry

By award-winning writer, and President of the Dog Writers Association of America, Jen Reeder, published in Colorado Expression Magazine!

A FEW YEARS AGO, Anthony Valle’s career was booming. With a doctorate in business administration and years of experience as a successful senior project manager for numerous Fortune 500 companies, his skills were in demand. So when he was offered a lucrative contract to work in Denver, he drove from New York with his wife, young daughters and their beloved dogs to the Centennial State.

But fortune can be fickle. A week after arriving, Valle found himself unemployed due to legal wrangling between his employer and another company. Suddenly job offers dried up; aside from managing one major fiber-optic project, he hasn’t found work in his field for two years. Instead, he maintains a low-income job to help keep his family afloat until something more promising pans out. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Valle said. “We went from having a beautiful home to living in a hotel. It’s been a really hard road.”

The Valles have stayed close throughout their hardships—both with one another and with their dog, Cleo. The American Staffordshire Terrier is a registered emotional support dog who loves to snuggle, take walks and sleep in bed with Valle’s daughters every night. But due to allergies, Cleo needs special dog food, which became increasingly challenging to provide. “It would have been extremely devastating to every one of us if we would have had to give up Cleo because we couldn’t afford to take care of her,” Valle said.

Fortunately, the Colorado Pet Pantry stepped in. The nonprofit, founded in 2013, helps keeps pets in the families that love them by providing dog and cat food to people in need. The pet food bank “brought us peace of mind,” Valle said. “We’re sure that Cleo’s going to be healthy and taken care of.”

Read more
Share this image on Social Media (just copy & paste the link!)


Spotlight on Pet Pantry Supporter: Dog-topia

By Amy Hempe

Entering Dog-topia one encounters loud, persistent barking punctuated by the occasional silence. The silence does not last for long as there is often something happening at this busy doggy daycare and boarding facility located in Denver on Lincoln and Alameda. Owner Erin Loughrey wouldn’t have it any other way.

Loughrey began her business back in 2002 on Fifteenth and Platt and moved the current location on Lincoln in 2010. People looking to work there have to possess a necessary blend of good customer skills first followed by dog skills, and it is shows as both customers and dogs are always greeted with big smiles.

Opening at the crack of dawn, or even before, at six-thirty in the morning, and closing at seven at night, dogs can spend their day socializing with up to one hundred other dogs, although the average day sees about seventy.

“Even though they have good bonds with the people who work here, the dogs usually just want dog time,” Loughrey explained in her typically cheerful manner. “Generally they don’t even want to hang out with humans.” They are closely supervised though. Rather than being separated by size, the staff puts them into groups based on the dogs’ temperaments so that calmer dogs can have a relaxing day while the more playful pooches can spend their day chasing one another. The dogs have roughly ten thousand square feet to play, and during the summer, swim in wading pools that the staff sets up outside.

About 1 p.m to 3 p.m. seems to be a down time for many of the dogs as they have burned off a lot of their earlier energy. Then they get revved up again for the late afternoon pick ups. Owners are happy to have a tired dog at the end of the day although Loughrey laughs and is quick to point out that dogs are “completely different here than they are at home.” Considering most of us do not have seventy dogs to hang out with at home, this is completely believable.

And while most of the dogs belong to Denver residents, a few of the pups who hang out at Dog-topia have been rescued by the Aurora-based dog rescue organization DMK Rehoming and are looking for forever homes.

Dog-topia is one of many businesses that accepts pet food donations on our behalf–see the full list of partners here. We then distribute the pet food at pet food banks. Learn more about this important Colorado Pet Pantry supporter Dog-topia or visit their FaceBook page.




Perfectly Good Pet Food is Better in Bellies than in Landfills

duct-tapeIn honor of Earth Day 2015… Here’s one of the beautiful side effects of the pet food bank, and this is why we spend so much time at the warehouse after every large donation.

We use a lot of duct tape at the Colorado Pet Pantry. It’s a small price to pay for the tens of thousands of pounds of pet food we’re able to salvage.

Almost all of the pet food bags that are donated from pet food suppliers or stores are damaged in some way. Accidents happen. Bags fall off store shelves and split open. Forklifts miss their mark. Glues don’t always hold. Zippers get caught.

We duct tape the heck out of things. Sometimes it’s not pretty. But it’s secure.

Then, separate from physical damage, there are pet food bags that are instantly ruined by an expiration date… When’s the last time you went through your pantry and chucked everything that was a few months past its “Best By” date?

In all of these cases, pet food companies and stores can’t sell it.

But nonprofits like us can absolutely use it.

And the landfills are grateful for the reprieve.

Happy Earth Day, and thanks for helping us to recycle!


Database Vs. Endless Paperwork | Wish List

The work behind the scenes of a pet food bank is immense. I was describing the work that we do to a volunteer today and my words were, “It’s pretty simple. The client needs pet food. We have pet food.” But it’s so much more than that. We need to find the pet food, store it, keep a decent inventory, transport it to pet food bank locations, find volunteers to distribute, keep track of how much food we give out, take the remaining food back to the warehouse and fundraise for all the above.

I always wish there was more time in the day. One thing we really need, and it would save hours upon hours every week, would be a database. Three to four more hours a week for myself and volunteers would mean more time for all of the other things on the list that need to be tackled.

Because in the end, if it was as easy as “they need pet food, we have pet food” we could help so many more pets and families. And that’s good for everyone.

I would be very happy to explain in-depth what we need in a database to any developer who would be willing to listen and potentially work on this project with us. The gist is we track and report on how much pet food we distribute at each pet food bank and how much each client receives (for as long as they come to the pet food bank).

It started out as a nice little Excel spreadsheet.

Now, for our largest pet food bank (which is just one out of five locations) we have 481 clients, which when printed so that we can check people into the pet food bank, is 24 pages.

Our ideal scenario (at least the way I am imagining this) would be to scrap the paper and use electronic tablets to record this information and input it directly into a database. We would need to be able to enter new clients, and then to be able to search and add to current clients each time they visit the pet food bank. And we’d need to be able to report totals on the various fields.

If you have ideas, please contact us. We would be grateful for any help or advice.

Thanks!

Eileen, Colorado Pet Pantry Executive Director