Sharing Food and Supplies Hurts So Good

By Amy Hempe, Colorado Pet Pantry volunteer 

There really is such a thing as giving until it hurts (our muscles at least!).

Not that that’s a bad thing.

We are thrilled to have two incredibly generous donations this month: from UNFI and Animal Supply Company. In all, we had 40 pallets of pet food – that comes to 60,000 pounds of kibble.

Despite having sizable warehouse space and volunteers who have done some serious organizing in there, we knew that we would not be able to store all of that kibble and use it quickly enough. The donations were simply that massive.

However, we do not like to turn food away, and we knew that others might be able to take a large chunk of it. We sent the word out to our Animal Welfare Share Program partners in the area and told them that on Wednesday, May 9, we would be at the warehouse all day if they wanted to come by and grab a pallet or two. Our forklift and muscles were ready.

Some of the early arrivals included Soul Rescue and Circle 2 Rescue, both of whom arrived with their large vans. Eileen operated the forklift while volunteers Amanda, Shanna, Sarah, Amy, and Ernie loaded individual bags. The rescue vehicles were packed to the absolute (legally allowable) brim, ensuring that rescue dogs and cats they serve would be well fed.

We also happily loaded up the trucks for Happy Haven Farm & Sanctuary, Metro Denver CAT, Moms and Mutts, Team Leo, Retriever Rescue of Colorado, Forgotten Felines Rescue, Colorado Animal Care Foundation, Sugar Dogs, Arlene’s Angels, Ho-Bo Care Boxer Rescue, Duncan’s Place, Colorado Pet Food Bank (a separate organization that serves the Eastern Plains), Front Range German Shepherd Rescue, OutPaws, Hope For Animals, Steel City Alley Cats Coalition, and Cooper’s Companions. We carried hundreds of bags, loading trucks, vans, and cars past sunset. The warehouse was toasty and we might have all smelled like pet food at the end. We got dirty and sweaty, and our arms felt like limp rubber bands by the end of the day. And it was all completely worth it.

This is a huge part of what makes our mission at Colorado Pet Pantry so rewarding. When we can work with other rescues to help them accomplish their missions, then we know that we are spreading the love. We all want to help dogs and cats in need, whether they are living with families already and just need a little help with getting food, or they are in foster care awaiting their forever homes. We all share the belief that pets are family.

The Colorado Pet Pantry definitely hit the jackpot with those fabulous donations. And the best thing about that was we could share this with others.

Dogs and cats are getting fed, and we got our workout. It was a pretty great day.

Huge thanks to UNFI and Animal Supply Company, and all of our volunteers who make this work possible. Many thanks as well to Cheryl at MaxFund who has mastered the art of connection and helped us to secure these donations.

We Need You!

Want to volunteer with us at a pet food bank or event? Or email us if you would like to help in the warehouse or with administrative work.


Myth-Busting for our Pets: Spaying and Neutering Edition

Bob Barker was a great game-show host and entertainer extraordinaire and told us daily to spay and neuter our pets. So, did he have a point, or was he just playing us like we were a game of Plinko?

To spay and neuter your pet can help control the animal population, relieve pressure on shelters/rescues, and give pets quality lives. But indecision to go forward with it can come from the result of constant myths, lies, and exaggerations that have been spread through the grape-vine for what feels like decades. But hey, who can blame you for worrying? A pet is a member of the family. Our furry loved-ones impact our lives in so many ways; of course, we want the best for them! And we’d never want to hurt them. Well, fear not! We’re here to provide our own version of myth busting — with a furry spin on it.

But before we go to said myth busting, know that ultimately it’s up to you; we’re simply here to provide a little information for your consideration.

So with that, here are a few myths you may have heard over the years, and why they’re wrong:

MYTH: It’s better to have one litter before spaying a female pet.

This is just false. Studies have shown that not only is this not true, it is actually healthier for a female pet to be spayed before their first litter. It ultimately leaves them with a better quality of life. As a result, some vets will now sterilize dogs and cats within 8 weeks of age.

MYTH: Male dogs will lose their “masculinity” if they are neutered; they need to have sex.

The only thing that will be affected if your male pet is neutered will be the influence of hormones. Your pet will retain its personality that is unique to him. Evidence points to this fact and underlines that your pet will not lose its temperament or training. The benefits of unlocking the best of your pet by neutering are wide, including:

  • Less likely to roam away from home
  • A drop in the need to urine mark
  • A drop in unnecessary aggressive, and violent behavior

And of course the various, indirect benefits to the pet community and general public.

MYTH: Spaying and neutering will cause my pets to gain weight.

Also false. Your pet will only gain, r lose weight, depending on the amount of exercise he/she receives, as well as your pets nutrition regimen. As long as you keep your pet active and eating healthy, you should not see any noticeable gain in weight.

MYTH: Spay/neuter operations are expensive.

Often times, you’ll find that spaying or neutering your pets can be less expensive in the long run than caring for one who hasn’t had work done. The effects of your furry loved one who remains unnecessarily aggressive, or that continues to urine mark, will add more stress emotionally, and to your bank account, than anyone wants.

MYTH: Spaying/neutering is unhealthy for pets.

Just the opposite! There are numerous health benefits accompanied by spaying and neutering.

  • Pets live a longer, healthier life
  • Pets are more friendly, kind and focused
  • Neutering male dogs helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer
  • Spaying female cats helps to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, and greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer
  • Females in heat will show nervous behavior, often cry incessantly and attract unwanted, male attention. Spaying will free them of such a burdensome trial.

These are just a few myths that we hope to have cleared up for you. Doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, right? Maybe that Bob Barker guy knew what he was talking about, after-all.

At Colorado Pet Pantry, we work with Spay Today and Dumb Friends to help our clients spay and neuter their pets. We are very grateful for their partnership in this important effort to reduce the number of homeless pets. See more in the video below:


Horkos is Heading to the Pet Food Bank

A note from Horkos who is heading to our pet food bank at Jewish Family Service of Colorado today:

It’s Service Dog Horkos here with a brief “Thank You Montage”… At the bus stop on our way… 

I love it when I get to see Colorado Pet Pantry at JFS… 

Visiting Colorado Pet Pantry is like being a dog-kid in a dog-candy store… (Note from Colorado Pet Pantry, this is not a photo of the pet food bank!)

Excited! Can’t wait to get going and see the crew!

Our ride is here! Yay! It’s time to go to Colorado Pet Pantry!!! 

Dad, you’re the BEST!

 


The Financial Benefit of Keeping Pets Out of Shelters

Anyone who has ever welcomed a pet into their home understands the value that animals offer to their families. Many people assume that most pets are brought to shelters because of behavioral issues, family changes, allergies or simply due to their caregiver’s lack of understanding about what it takes to care for an animal. Pets certainly end up in shelters for these reasons, however, a startling number of pets end up in shelters because their heartbroken families cannot afford to care for them.

A Common Scenario

The sudden loss of a job, divorce, injury or death of a family member can all lead to financial havoc. During times of stress and grief, it’s the pets in our lives that can provide just the comfort and unconditional love that we need. Unfortunately, when faced with a crisis, many families are forced to make difficult choices, and the cost of feeding a dog or cat can become so overwhelming that families feel that they have no alternative but to turn to a shelter.

Fostering a pet, or finding a new permanent home are two options for pet owners who are unable to care for their pet, but in reality, shelters have far more resources than most families who are trying to re-home a pet and are better equipped at ensuring that each pet ends up in safe hands. It’s a devastating decision for most families. Fortunately, there is another option that is far less costly for shelters, and far less traumatizing for pets and their families.

The True Cost of Sheltering and Re-homing a Pet

Every time that an animal enters the shelter environment, no matter how healthy they are, there are specific costs incurred. Beyond intake vaccinations and medical exams and lab work, animals who reside in shelters often receive preventative treatments to avoid infection from parasites and illnesses that may result from many animals living in close proximity. All of the costs associated with sheltering and re-homing a pet quickly add up, especially when you consider factors such as the marketing required to find a new home, screening potential families and administrative fees.

Along with the financial cost, sheltered pets also pay a hefty emotional toll. Animal shelters do their best to care for pets, provide training, a comfortable place to sleep and to enrich their lives during a stay, but nothing replaces a home and family. If you have a pet, you’ve probably had to provide comfort at some point because of unexpected loud noises, changes around the house and other startling conditions that can be stressful for anyone! Imagine how often pets in new and confined spaces experience extreme stress. In some cases, this emotional cost translates into even more financial cost, when pets end up getting sick or on anti-anxiety medication.

A More Cost-Effective Alternative

Pet food can get pricey, but for just $4.00 a month, we can provide pet food for a family in need, while they work toward getting back on their feet. By partnering with “human” food banks, leveraging relationships with pet stores, pet food suppliers, corporate donors and other organizations while utilizing the resources of dedicated volunteers, our team is able to help thousands of struggling families to keep their pets at home.

Through outreach to those who might be considering taking their pet to a shelter, we can prevent pet homelessness, reduce pet shelter overcrowding and allow pets to continue to bring love and joy into their homes. It’s a great alternative and a realistic one, and it’s already making a huge impact on pets and their humans in Colorado. If you’d like to hear more about the benefits of keeping pets out of shelters or would like to learn how you can help, please contact us for more details.


New Year Resolutions For Your Pet – Pawsitively Perfect 2018

Happy New Year!

Making a resolution for the new year is no small feat. Less than half of Americans actually make a resolution and less than half of all resolutions are maintained past June. What is it that makes it so difficult to establish and follow through with choices that will improve our lives? Some say it’s a matter of money, some say it’s a matter of time, some say they feel guilty putting themselves first. But, what if you could make a resolution that was technically not for your benefit, but for someone else’s yet, in turn, benefited you both? You can! Make a resolution to take the best possible care of your pet and you will both reap the rewards. With that as your overarching goal, here are some ideas for bringing that goal to fruition.

1. Organized activities and enrichment opportunities

Just as people do, pets crave routine and structure. They like to know when meals will be served when bathroom breaks will be taken, when walks will be taken, and when it’s safe to lie down and take a snooze. Many pet owners, however, do not think to schedule a time for their furry friends to play and socialize. Pets need outlets for their energy and opportunities to interact with other pets and people. Wonder why Fido chewed up your new boat shoes? Wonder why Whiskers whizzed in your suitcase? It’s possible that they are bored. Give your pets a positive outlet for their energy and curiosity by trying some of these activities:

  • Play times – just like children, pets LOVE to play. But how often do you see children who want to play alone? Not often; and pets feel the same way. More than anything, your pet wants YOU to play with them. You are your pet’s best friend and vice-versa, and who doesn’t want their best friend to be their primary playmate? Every few hours, take 10-15 minutes to pal around with your pet. Toss a ball or play tug-of-war with Fido. Wave a feather or blow catnip bubbles for Whiskers. Just do any activity that your BFF loves to do with you.
  • Play dates – To be honest, Whiskers is probably not going to be enthusiastic about a play date with your coworker’s cat. Fido, however, would most likely be thrilled to get together with one or two neighborhood canines for a romp in the park. Dogs are social beings and need lots of practice and opportunities to engage with other dogs. Not only do they release pent-up energy, they also learn how to interact with and behave around their peers. Make sure to introduce your dog to other dogs slowly and on neutral turf. A dog in his own yard may feel territorial and his visitor may feel unsure of which areas he is welcome in. Be certain to provide plenty of toys so there are fewer chances they compete for a certain toy. Also, do not leave your dog alone with a new dog. Your dog needs you present for reassurance and as a safe haven should he become scared or shy.
  • Enrichment activities – Even if your pet has plenty of play time, he needs opportunities to use and expand his brain power. Just as learning a new language, working a crossword puzzle, or assembling a desk from a Scandinavian superstore challenges our human brains, enrichment activities for pets offer them ways to make connections and use their reasoning abilities. Find a dog treat puzzle for Fido or help him learn some agility stunts such as jumping small hurdles, navigating a play tunnel, or weaving through poles. Hide treats for Whiskers in a puzzle feeder or create a safe outdoor space where she can chatter at the birds and stalk through the plants.

2. Create a home-grooming routine

Keeping your pets in good health doesn’t just mean getting them vaccinated, feeding them a balanced diet, and making sure they get plenty of exercise, it also means keeping them groomed regularly and properly. Grooming can be a challenge for many pet owners, though. While some pets love being bathed and brushed, others (note – almost every cat) run and hide when they hear the bathtub run or see the brush in your hand. The best way to get your pets to feel comfortable, or simply tolerate, grooming is to start when they are young (or new to you) and have a routine so your pets can anticipate your next move and not panic. A few tips for your safety and theirs are to:

  • Keep the grooming session short – Bathing, brushing, nail-clipping, and tooth-brushing all in one fell swoop may be overwhelming and stressful for your pet. One or two of these activities in a row is the most you should expect your pet to calmly sit through.
  • Stick to a regular routine – If brushing or tooth-brushing needs to be done every day, do it at the same time every day. Try scheduling a time right after your pet eats breakfast or right before everyone turns in for the night.
  • Praise your pet for his compliance – Being still is not easy for most pets, so offer yours a treat after a grooming session so they feel rewarded and loved.
  • Be willing to alter the routine – Is Whiskers super active before bedtime? If so, that’s not the best time to groom her. Does Fido like to nap right after breakfast? Let him lie.

3. Create a budget for your pets that includes emergency funds

We all budget for our pets’ regular vet visits, medications, food, and other necessities, but it’s not until Fido eats a super-sized chocolate bar and needs to have his stomach pumped that we realize we should have budgeted for emergencies. It goes without saying that your pet will take at least one trip to the emergency vet during its lifetime. If your pet is high-energy, excessively curious, or a talented escape artist, you may even average one visit per year. Since a bill for the emergency vet can run two to three times as much as your regular vet bill, you don’t want to get caught unprepared. Just as you set aside emergency funds for yourself, your kids, or your parents, keep one for your pets so you never have to choose between overdrawing your account or making your pet suffer. Pet insurance is a terrific option, and we have one to recommend! Healthy Paws Pet Insurance will donate $50 for every new family that signs up.

4. Watch your tone 

Pets do not understand our words. They understand our tone, our inflection, and the repeated sounds we make. Yelling during sports games, shouting at one another, and being overly loud or animated when addressing your pets can make them stressed or scared. For your pets’ sake (and for everyone in your home), lower your voice and speak calmly to create an inviting and pleasant home.

Here’s to you and your pets in 2018!

Source for resolution statistics: https://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/


Dear Santa: We’ve Been Very Good This Year!

Dear Santa:

We’ve been really good this year. Our staff and volunteers have organized new distribution and drop-off locations, forged relationships with new partners in our state, and have worked hard to educate Coloradans about the importance of helping families keep their pets home and healthy in times of financial stress.

We’d like to share our Christmas Wish List with you in hopes you can spread the word, and maybe reach into your big red bag and help us meet our end-of-year goals!

Cash Donations

Nobody knows for sure, but we suspect Santa’s Workshop is a nonprofit, just like Colorado Pet Pantry. We’d love it if you’d tell your friends and family about us, and let folks how they can make tax-deductible donations online through our website or through PayPal.

Does your employer have a corporate donation matching program? Find out here! 

It costs $4 for the Colorado Pet Pantry to help feed a pet for a full month, and it helps lessen the burden on local animal shelters who state that re-homing a pet costs upwards of $500.

Amazon Wish List

We’ve heard rumors that you’ve got a T1 connection up in the North Pole, and that you’ve contracted with Amazon to help with your workload. We can’t blame you…outsourcing is a good thing! We have an Amazon Wish List for our packaging supplies, and we’re always grateful when patrons (and oversized elves) send us these much-needed items! The next time you log on to buy something special, please think of us. Cat food, dog food, toys, pet food drive containers, and other small items don’t add much to your shopping cart, but make a huge difference to us when we portion out meals for our canine and feline clientele.

Pet Food Donations

Next time you make a run to the feed store to pick up reindeer chow, we’d really appreciate it if you grabbed a few bags of quality, non-perishable dog or cat food for Colorado Pet Pantry. You can drop it off at any one of our collection sites, and while you’re there, you can do some last-minute shopping to thank the businesses who make room in both their locations and their hearts to help Colorado pets!

Is Mrs. Claus’ cantankerous cockapoo a picky eater? We’ll happily accept open bags of kibble, as long as you seal the bag and make sure the contents and reason for the bag are clearly noted with your donation.

We also accept non-perishable dog and cat treats!

Shop HoundAbout

Santa, we’ve got a tip just for you! If your elves are behind in production this year, or you want to add some variety to your Workshop’s product line, come shop on our HoundAbout page for high-quality gifts for all the pets on your “Good Dog/Good Cat” list. Colorado Pet Pantry receives 50% of the proceeds from every sale. With free shipping available for hundreds of items in our HoundAbout online store, you’ll save wear and tear on your reindeer!

Loan us some elves?

We’re always looking for help at our warehouse, events, pet food banks, and behind the scenes at Colorado Pet Pantry. Sign up to volunteer at a pet food bank or contact us for other opportunities such as helping in the warehouse, helping with events, picking up pet food donations, etc!

Other ways to help

  • Are you getting ready to upgrade that sleigh? Donate your old vehicle, whether it’s working or not. Contact us!
  • Help get the word out by distributing posters or flyers! Contact us!
  • Does your organization want to encourage a theme of giving this season? Organize a pet food drive! Contact us!
  • Open up a corner of your workshop for a donation station! Contact us!

Happy Holidays from Colorado Pet Pantry

We love giving as much as you do, Santa. We like to think that, like you, we make families’ lives more joyous. This Holiday season, we all have a lot to do to meet our goals. Any help you can give us will make a huge difference.

Stay warm, stay safe, and spread the word!

Sincerely,

The Colorado Pet Pantry Family


5 Reasons to Donate on Colorado Gives Day

We’re really excited to spread the word about Colorado Gives Day on December 5 and how it benefits Colorado Pet Pantry and hundreds of other wonderful Colorado nonprofits.

Colorado Gives Day is a program operated by Community First Foundation, who, in partnership with FirstBank, developed a $1 million donation-enhancing Incentive Fund. This means that nonprofits receiving donations on Tuesday, December 5 through ColoradoGives.org will receive an additional financial boost from the Fund.

As if that’s not a good enough reason to make a donation to CPP on Colorado Gives Day, here are five more!

1. It’s a day when Colorado steps up to make a difference

Colorado Gives Day has raised more than $200 million for hundreds of nonprofits since its inception in 2010 and has become the largest single-day online donation campaign in our state. Your donations go the extra mile on this day because every nonprofit that receives a donation on December 5 receives a portion of the $1 Million Incentive Fund.

2. Make all of your year-end donations in one swoop

ColoradoGives.org allows you to select all of your favorite nonprofits, and a few that you’re learning about, and donate to all of them with one credit card transaction. It might be the easiest thing you do all day!

3. It’s Colorado Pet Pantry’s single biggest donation day of the year

“Year-end charitable giving is important to many nonprofits, as most charities receive more than 40 percent of their annual contributions the last few weeks of the year,” wrote Blair Shiff for KUSA in a 2015 article addressing Coloradan charitable giving statistics.

Colorado Gives Day brings in Colorado Pet Pantry’s largest annual financial windfall. CPP attributes year-end tax planning incentives, the Community First Foundation and FirstBank partnership donation enhancement fund, and the simplicity of the ColoradoGives.org website for the spike in donations from CPP’s growing base of compassionate, enthusiastic supporters.

4. We’ll send the Card!

On your donation, include the name and address of someone you want to honor in the Comment line, and we’ll send them a holiday card about your gift in their name.

5. Give with ease & confidence

We all want to make sure our hard-earned money is spent judiciously by the charities we support. ColoradoGives.org allows donors to learn more about local charities so you know your donations will really make a difference. ColoradoGives.org provides current, comprehensive, and objective information about our state’s nonprofits, and the website lets donors search for charities based on keyword, county, and cause.

The site has the added bonus of allowing smaller nonprofits with modest marketing budgets to connect with generous Coloradans, and lets donors feel confident in supporting budding organizations who are only beginning to build their reputations and following.

Year-end and year-round support for Colorado Pet Pantry is always easy

We really hope you take advantage of Colorado Gives Day’s incentives on December 5, but if your end-of-year budget is a bit too tight, it’s easy to support us any time of the year through ColoradoGives.org, or directly through our website.

We’re always looking for volunteers, and if you’ve got furry friends on your shopping list, visit our partner HoundAbout. Your purchase of any high-quality pet product in our HoundAbout online store helps fund our programs, allowing us to keep pets at home with their families and out of shelters.

Thank you for thinking of us during the traditional Season of Giving!


How to Reduce 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
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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