The other day at Dignity Village a precious little black dog named "Bear" peed on my foot. I’m sure it was a “thank you” for the food I had brought him. It made me laugh and I was glad I had worn my oldest shoes. A day when I can laugh and feel grateful is a good day in my book, especially a day when I’m distributing pet food to dogs and cats of our homeless friends.
Unfortunately when I returned a few days later, I learned that Bear had been stolen. He is a six year old, neutered, long hair black Pomeranian. He was with his owner all his life. He is not at Animal Services. It is a sad fact of homeless life that “things” (including living beings) are stolen. Try to imagine that you leave your beloved pet tied at your campsite while you go into the dining hall (no pets) to eat. When you return, your little dog is gone. Part of our job is to help keep pets with their people. Could you volunteer to befriend a person and her or his pet? Perhaps you could offer “pet watch services”. Let us know.
It’s hard to believe that ten years have gone by for Home Van Pet Care Project, and of course it has been an education for our group. We go downtown and we go to Dignity Village to distribute pet food and supplies. We re-home pets in need, but only when this is clearly the best alternative. We work with a monthly clinic at Dignity Village where pets receive vaccinations and are picked up and taken for spay/neuter. When that is done, we buy each of the animals a County tag. We are still a small project, but we can do a lot thanks to your donations and gifts of financial support, goods, time and caring. We thank you very much for helping the animals.
Now we'd like to tell you a couple of stories about the work we do.
Home Van Pet Care Project works to make it possible for pets to stay with their owners. We've seen over and over again how pets and people take care of each other through good times and bad. Such is the case with Heart and Shadow, a man and his dog we've known since we started ten years ago. The two are inseparable, and have managed to get by with a little help from Home Van Pet Care Project.
Recently, Shadow, a black lab mix, started getting lethargic and thin. Heart thought it was old age and was struggling to accept the fact that he might not have his best friend and companion much longer. However, when he took her to the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine for testing, it turned out Shadow had swallowed a rope toy and it was blocking her intestines. Immediate surgery was needed, but Heart had no way to cover the cost. Happily, UF was able to discount the surgery and Home Van Pet Care Project was able to help pay part of the fee. The dog is well and the bond between Heart and Shadow continues stronger than ever.
Jammer came to Dignity Village last Fall and was tied to a post 24/7. He had no shade, nowhere to get warm, and nowhere to relieve himself except within the short range that his rope allowed. Needless to say, Jammer received very little affection or care. After supplying Jammer with blankets, food, clean water and gentle hugs numerous times, Home Van Pet Care Project decided we needed to get this sweet big boy out of there. Thanks to our friend Linda at The Groom Room, we were able to board Jammer until we could find a permanent home for him. At The Groom Room, Jammer received food, clean water, a big yard to run around and lots of love. Jammer is now in a wonderful home and his family couldn’t be happier with him.
Here's Jammer before and after. We know he's saying, "Thanks!"
Baby, like some of the animals we meet, was not being taken care of properly. She was taken away from her dog mom when she was only 7 weeks old -- way too young and against Florida law! Then she was tied out on a short lead and, of course, became a barker. All she wanted was attention and she got it -- she was yelled at, kicked and teased.
Home Van Pet Care Project and Alachua County Animal Services monitored this situation for several weeks, hoping to convince the owners to surrender the little dog. Finally, when they were able to move from Dignity Village to an apartment, Baby's owners decided they did not need a barking dog. We had told them that if they ever needed to find Baby another home, to please call us. Thank goodness they did! Now she is being loved and cared for until she is deemed ready for adoption, which may take a while.
Because of Baby's background, she has many special needs. She is fearful of people, noises, and objects, but not other dogs. She needs people who will understand her, care for her and give her lots of attention. It would be great if she could have another dog to run around and play with. Baby is a tri-colored Terrier mix, approximately 9 months old and super cute! She is spayed and is up to date on her vaccines. She is not a candidate for a rescue group because of her personality. Please contact us if you are interested, or know someone who might be. (Contact information is at the end of this newsletter.)
Spring and Summer Food Drive
These items are always welcome:
Special Needs: People are asking for dog shampoo. It can be mild, not medicated. Dry Dog Food: Any size bags, we use primarily the Purina Dog Chow, green bag (not the “natural”) Canned Dog Food: The small size cans of Mighty Dog have become a favorite. The whole can will be used and no need for refrigeration. Dry Cat Food: Purina Friskies Seafood Sensation, any size bags, long time favorite. Canned Cat Food: Small size cans are loved by all.
Financial donations can be made by check payable to Home Van Pet Care Project, Inc., and mailed c/o Elizabeth Howard, P.O. Box 14305, Gainesville FL 32604; or by PayPal on this blog. For more information or to volunteer, call or text352-246-2727.