Arts & Entertainment
Keeping people and pets together
Pet food pantry helps struggling owners feed their pets
Originally printed 2/24/2011 (Issue 1908 - Between The Lines News)
The tough economic times mean that people may have to go without the extra niceties in life: Cars get repaired instead of replaced, dinners are eaten in instead of out, pets are even dropped off at the pound instead of kept at home -after all, they are another mouth to feed.
Kay Brady, a longtime pet lover and shelter volunteer, saw pets being dropped off because owners could no longer afford to take care of them. So last December, she created New Beginnings Animal Rescue, a pet rescue that also offers a pet food pantry to "keep people and their pets together" by keeping pets fed. The pantry also supplies litter.
New Beginnings Animal Rescue, a newly minted 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, doesn't even have a facility yet. Its staff consists of a few volunteers and Brady, who describes herself as a "retiree who didn't want to sit around." Most of the activity takes place on Brady's cell phone, which people call to ask for food for their pets.
"I don't ask them anything with regard to income, but (callers) usually volunteer," she said. "They will say they're having a difficult time, and the only thing I ask is how many pets they have, what kind and what they currently eat." Brady tries to keep pets fed with the same food; changing food can upset some pets' stomachs.
"I also ask whether or not they have transportation, if they can pick it up, and if they can't, then my husband and I will deliver," Brady said.
Upon delivery, "We get big smiles and hugs. It makes you feel very good that you're able to help," she said. "We're not seeking gratitude. My husband's and my family is 3 cats and 2 dogs, and I can't imagine having to give up any of them."
The pantry has helped more than 40 families keep their pets.
"We say we're helping folks in South Oakland County, but we're not turning anyone away," she said. "Anyone that calls, we're more than happy to assist."
The non-profit also helps place animals in new homes when shelters and individual owners can't afford to keep them. Brady laments not having a facility to keep the animals in yet, but she is able to put a listing up on http://www.petfinder.com. She likes that the website allows owners to choose their pets' new owner.
Just like any nonprofit, the food pantry needs funding. "We're so new, we need to raise money to keep the pantry going and ultimately we would like to have our own facility to be able to help more with rescues," Brady said.
The non-profit is holding a fundraiser and silent auction at Farina's Banquet Center in Berkley, Mich. on March 10 from 5 to 9 p.m. There will be complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. The silent auction includes an autographed Detroit Tigers' ball and photo, jewelry, wine, original art, spa packages and gift cards. Attendees who bring a bag of cat or dog food will receive a door prize ticket for a chance to win a 40-inch flat screen TV.
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