We’ve all been there.
Lawd… you cannot get the kibble out of the bag fast enough or the smelly food out of the can. Big eyes stare up at you and the meowing begins. Maybe someone gets on the counter just in case you forgot where you keep the food. You walk in the door and it’s like you found the Donner Party even though you left her just after her breakfast 8 hours ago. Your cat rubs against your leg and weaves between your feet purring and looking up. There is never a doubt that you’ll solve it—that dinner will come—even if she has to wait for you to get out of your dress clothes.
But what if you had nothing to give them?
What would you do to feed your animals if they were hungry?
Our animals rely on us. We rely on people or circumstances that sometimes let us down.
What if you just had to sit down on the floor with that hungry kitty and pet her? What if despite her purring, hinting and asking, the best you could do was be there and be hungry with her? You might even put your cat’s bowl where she couldn’t see it –just because her looking at it and then at you was unbearable –because you cannot fill it for her. You might pet her, brush her and maybe you’d play a little string chase together to get your mind off of it. That would work for a while because—cats. But when you finish the game, she remembers. She goes straight to the place she normally eats her dinner.
But you have nothing for her.
You know it has been a couple days like this and eventually, she will give up. She’ll curl up next to you, loving you just the same, and go to sleep.
After a while you start to worry. You can’t let her go too long. You get her scraps and people food—when you have food, she does. But that’s not always. So you make the hardest choice—the unimaginable choice if you have not been there—you decide that you love her enough to give her to someone who can do better by her. You tell her as you drive to the shelter that you love her more than anything and that you will come back for her as soon as you can. You say, “They have so much food in this place, baby, your bowl will never be empty!” As she blinks up at you through the carrier, you promise that she will will never go to sleep hungry ever, ever again. You feel you have utterly failed her.
When you get to the shelter you sit in the parking lot with her a while. Your heart races and you think you might throw up. You feel guilty and hopeful and desperate. You are completely vulnerable. You are about to walk in and surrender total control of the only being in your whole life who has loved you unconditionally.
You get out of the car and this usually vocal cat is silent. Somehow, that makes it worse. You walk in holding the carrier with two eyes staring widely outward and tell the person at the counter that you need to turn this cat in.
“Is he your cat?”
You flush with shame.
“Yes. She is.”
“Why are you bringing her to the shelter today?”
Again, your face feels hot but now you start to cry.
“She’s hungry. I lost my job.”
And then it all comes flooding out—the job, the divorce, the loss after loss after loss…all leading to this final and horrible loss.
The loss of this most precious friend.
“Would it help if we gave you free food for her while you get back on your feet?”
“We also have beds, flea preventative and some other things if you need them.”
You are trying to process what she just said.
This is not the day.
that you must let go of your best friend. But oh crap, paperwork. Your mind races. You drove here in a car. That must disqualify you for aid. The light bill is not in your name. WIC? You’re not on WIC. What will she ask?
“What do I need to do to qualify?”
“You just did it. You asked.”
Last year we gave out over 11 tons of food to keep pets in homes. Sometimes it was job loss, illness, divorce, natural disaster—and sometimes we never know. Why? Because we don’t ask. Because that is not our business. Our business is connecting people who love their animals with resources to keep them.
Our pet food bank is entirely donor supplied. We need your help. Any brand. Any size bag. Even bags that are already open.