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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Home Van Pet Care Project News & Update - November/December 2011

Elizabeth Howard, Project Coordinator

Dear Friends – Greetings from Home Van Pet Care Project. During this special time of year when we are reminded to be thankful for the goodness in our lives, of the giving and receiving that means so much … we at Home Van Pet Care Project send heartfelt thanks to all the individuals and groups who support our work with the animals of the homeless and low income pet owners in our community. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!

This last month, two young women responded to our request for help to clean up our Tent City Cat Colony area and two volunteers have responded to our need for help in feeding the colony. This is the only colony that we maintain and we love those kitties very dearly. We are very grateful for the help.

Please keep the cat colony in mind this year as you are making Christmas gifts. We need helpers to visit and feed this cat tribe and the time is coming when we may need to relocate them and find homes. This will be a tough decision and an arduous process. We will need helpers, adopters and funding to do this properly. Our primary feeder has been absent and so we do need to think about the future of the tribe. (Read more on Page 2 of this Newsletter and on our blog.) We will keep you advised.

Dog-wise we are keeping our eyes on the best of care and sometimes less than the best. Your donations help us provide wholesome food and then more: license tags, running lines, treats, tarps and bedding. When we help the pets we set the minds of their “owners” (caretakers, guardians) at rest, relieve some of their stress and show them how to do the best possible job even with limited resources.

This month we had a table at the annual Breakfast on the Plaza that is sponsored by the Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry. The coalition donated a quantity of dog food and we matched this with cat food, treats and samples that were given on the spot to dog and cat owners. We gave information about spay/neuter and about our Wednesday pet distribution time and location.

In addition, the Honor Society at Howard Bishop School invited us in for a brief talk about the Project. This is a great group of students who do many community service projects. They are sponsoring a pet food drive for us in January and February. This will require a volunteer to pick up the donations on a weekly basis and deliver to our storage address. Please consider volunteering for this task.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas we need extra quantities of dry food for both dogs and cats as well as small cans of food for both. Cold weather and rain call for more nourishment for both animals and people. We love to have treats at Christmas as well as extra collars and leashes. Tarps and running lines and rope are always handy. We give these with the pet food on Wednesdays when requested.

For more information, to volunteer or to donate pet food and supplies, contact Elizabeth Howard, Coordinator, or 352-473-9423 for drop-off locations or for pickup. Financial donations can be made payable to Home Van Pet Care Project, Inc., and mailed c/o Elizabeth Howard, P.O. Box 14305, Gainesville, FL 32604. You can also donate through our PayPal at our blog, We are a 501(c)3 charitable corporation so all donations are tax deductible.

IMPORTANT POSTSCRIPT: Immediate foster/permanent home needed for the two young kitties at the Tent City Cat Tribe. Call Elizabeth 352-473-9423 for info.
THE TENT CITY CAT TRIBE November 22, 2011 P. 2, Nov/Dec Newsletter

We started Home Van Pet Care Project in Spring of 2007, four and one half years ago. We wanted to help the homeless people and we are very concerned with the lives of all animals.
Our primary mission is to provide pet food for the pets of the homeless and low income people in our community. Care of the Tent City Cat Tribe became our responsibility early on.

Elizabeth says: “I remember going to a gathering of support for the homeless people in our community. A woman who lived in a nearby homeless encampment was there, holding a little kitten that she had found. She was looking for a home for the kitty. I didn’t adopt that kitty, but one thing led to another, and soon I was joined by Operation Catnip staff and volunteers who had a grant to help trap, spay/neuter and return. At that time there was Mama Kitty (Margaret) her four sons and one little girl. The girl came home with me and that was my first gift from the Tent City Cat Tribe.”

The Project has grown. We feed and assist with the care of many cats and dogs. There have been many changes in the Tribe. There has been some sadness, like the death of Sunshine Bright and the recent disappearance of Goldie and Boots. These kitties have given us a lot of joy and love over the years and we feel it is time to remove them from the woods and find them homes.

Here is a bit of the story of the Tent City Cat Tribe:

Margaret is the matriarch, the “Mama Kitty” who has taken such wonderful care of her family. Margaret once had a house and home and deserves to have that again, with a soft pillow to lie on in safety. Of her four sons, only two now survive. Sunshine Light and Mr. Grey are very close to each other and to their mother. They should go together to a wonderful home.

Little Bit came in after the great eviction two years ago. She is not so tiny now, and eats well to keep in shape. She is the one who welcomes us and escorts us down the path when we come to visit and feed. She throws herself down in the path with joy to see us! We want a safe and comfortable home for this little tabby.

The Beautiful Mercedes and her friend Noble Noble are very close. They both came to us after the great eviction. These two might prefer an outside environment with a safe living accommodation for sleeping and hiding. They enjoy a regular diet and plenty of water to drink.

Silver and Gold just came to the tribe recently. They are only about six months old and must be taken soon for spay/neuter. They are very grateful to find a place to eat and they will tame easily in a home. Can you foster these two youngsters or even give them a permanent home?

Please help by volunteering to foster, adopt or help with feeding and transport. Call Elizabeth Howard, 352-473-9423,, Coordinator for Home Van Pet Care Project for more information.

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