Throughout the pandemic we have seen exponential growth in the amount of people and pets in need of our services. What has surprised us just as much is the amount of giving that has accompanied this growth. As people are in higher need of assistance, people are also stepping up and giving what they can in ways we’ve never seen before. We have been in awe of the support we have received in light of many missed fundraisers, due to COVID.
The people who have been helped through your support of the Colorado Pet Pantry are your neighbors, sisters, brothers and friends. People like Heidi from Weld County who visits us at the Longmont Pet Food Bank.
Heidi is the graceful guardian of four wonderful dogs. Heidi’s dogs are more than wonderful companions. They are also “Colorado Mountain Dogs” who protect Heidi’s flocks of chickens and doves from predators.
Heidi lives in Eastern Colorado and says, “before I had my Colorado Mountain Dogs (CMD), I would regularly lose birds to predators, but have not lost a single one since the CMD’s began their guarding duties.”
In 2016, Heidi found herself in an unfortunate, yet very common situation. After going through a divorce and being unable to work, due to a chronic medical condition, she was at the point of not being able to afford food for her four dogs. “They go through a 50lb bag of kibble every ten days! While I worked hard to get back on my feet, Colorado Pet Pantry made it possible for me to not only keep my dogs, but keep them well fed.”
We are so fortunate to have the ability to help amazing women like Heidi. It is thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we can do this work, which we are so passionate about.
Without the help of Colorado Pet Pantry, Heidi estimates she would have had to re-home at least three of her four dogs. “It would be devastating to see them go. Especially because my daughter and I are already facing so many difficult life changes. Having pets provides an emotional cushion for us, so it goes without saying that this program has truly made a huge difference in our family.”
“We take misfit dogs..” says Mitzi, owner and guardian of Lady Mae the German Shepherd. Lady has a unique set of thumbs on both her front and hind legs. Due to this deformity, if you can even call it that, her previous owner cast her as useless to him and her guardian angels (his neighbors), swooped in to her rescue.
“When we got her she was just bones, skinny. You could see her hip bones, her ribs, and she had a big arch in her back because of the small kennel she had stayed in.” Her previous owner’s brother managed to get Lady to safety in the hands of Jefferson, Mitzi and McKayla. After less than a year in their care, and with the help of Colorado Pet Pantry, Lady showed incredible signs of love, care, and thank goodness – some weight.
Mitzi has been coming to Colorado Pet Pantry’s Jewish Family Service food bank and says, “having the food is a tremendous help.”
Thanks to the love and support of our Colorado community, we are able to continue to help so many dogs like Lady stay in homes they deserve and with people who care, love, and are able to feed them all the food they need to thrive.
As Christy waits in line at our Community Ministry Pet Food Bank with her best friend Paco, it’s clear these two are meant for each other. As she describes how Paco’s soothing energy saved her husband, while lying with him in the hospital bed, their true friendship and bond shows through. There is a calm and quiet understanding between these two as they wait among several excited and barking dogs.
Christy has been coming to our pet food banks for three years now. “I have to take care of him. Vet payments and food costs are money that I don’t have. With Colorado Pet Pantry, there is a resource for someone like me to take good care of my dog,” Christy shares.
It’s stories like these we hear time and time again at our pet food banks. These stories continue to encourage us to push further, expand our reach, and continue to be a resource for those who love their pets, and despite financial hardships, strive to do the best for them.
Lucien and her family walked into the Dumb Friends League with tears in their eyes and said they needed to surrender their beloved dog. The staff member at DFL quickly realized it all came down to food. Lucien’s family was going through hard times. They had a few pets, and she was the one that needed the most food. Without money to buy pet food, let alone human food, the family decided they needed to bring her to the shelter so that another family could love her.
But Lucien already had a loving family.
The staff member at DFL handed Lucien’s family a Colorado Pet Pantry flyer, and there was a pet food bank the very next day. The family had never heard of the pet food bank, but it was the answer that solved their most heart-breaking problem.
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.”
“We live month-to-month but normally everything works out somehow. This month there was just no way for us to make rent and buy dog food (which has to be one of the worst feelings in the world)! They are our family and we love them like family. I just don’t even know what we would have done without you guys and can’t thank you enough! I hope you know how important the work you do is!”
A lot has changed since Gabriel came into my life. “Gabe” was born April 8, 2008 at 4 lbs., and I was 500 lbs+. I was working in sales for a tech start up and in social work as a crisis counselor. We trained, hiked and went to the dog park multiple times a day. Gabe became an incredibly well-socialized 200-pound lovable giant and I lost 200 lbs.! Talk about the health benefits of owning a pet.
Recently, after caring for my dad who has now passed away, working two jobs, and undergoing surgery to truly get my weight in check, I found myself physically burned out. Drastic measures were necessary to heal. This meant leaving both social work and sales; high-stress, demanding careers I’d been in for 20 years. Although I was 40, all of the starting over had me feeling closer to 4.
Learning to live a very different life — without my dad, nearly 400 lbs. lighter, and in deep need of new career skills knocked me on my butt! Thankfully, in the past year, the Colorado Pet Pantry provided quality kibble for Gabe when my income didn’t allow me to buy it.
Gabe IS the family I have here in Colorado. He’s my bright spot. From weight loss to stress reduction, he has literally saved my life time and again. All that I’ve faced has been tough, but the Colorado Pet Pantry has eased my load as I get back on track. To think of how the Colorado Pet Pantry is assisting others through the difficult parts of their own journeys encourages me. It’s crazy how hope can be found in a bag of dog food! During this time of bright lights and offering hope, may we all receive a joy as rich as what I receive from Gabe. And, in turn, may we all have the fortune of spreading such joy.
Here’s a note straight from one of our wonderful clients. She ran out of pet food yesterday and has been using her family’s small supply of ground beef to feed her dogs. We told her about our new pet food bank near downtown Denver at DICP that begins tomorrow, so she’ll be able to get what she needs sooner than later. “I love my dogs with my life. I want them to be healthy. Thank you for being so concerned with the health of my pets.”
A woman and her two kids, six and two years old, came to one of our partner food banks, Denver Inner City Parish, in 2014. While she was getting food for her family, she was relieved to learn that the Colorado Pet Pantry pet food bank was also there that day to help with pet food. She’s had her 10-year old female Shar Pei, Mocha, since she was a puppy. But when they moved from Florida to Colorado in hopes of finding a better job, the family was left with even less support and now teeters on the edge of not being able to feed the furry family member. It had been three days since Mocha had a solid meal. But mom couldn’t imagine giving her up and didn’t want to contemplate what that loss would do to her children.
“I’m barely feeding my children, it’s nearly impossible to feed the dog,” she said.
That day, she left the food bank with food for her family and Mocha, and she knows that we’ll be there, in the same spot once a month so she and her family will be able to stay together even when times are tight.