I have a really soft spot for grass-root organizations that strive to help pet owners who are faced with challenges and adversity. Back in Vernon, British Columbia, where I lived for several years, I had the pleasure of being a part of a group that launched the first ever "Pet Soup Kitchen". We didn't actually serve soup, of course, but it was tied in with the local Mission drop-in center, where the homeless and those on low income could get a warm meal on a daily basis. We recognized that many who attended had pets that they loved dearly and that they struggled to find the funds to feed them. And for many, they said they would go without food before their pets did.
One such organization that help those who are struggling to care for their pets is Nova's Heart. Nova's Heart is nonprofit that provides food, collars/harnesses/leashes, blankets/sweaters, vaccinations, spay/neuter, minor vetting and other pet supplies to pets of those experiencing homelessness, are in a crisis (i.e. flooding, fire, domestic violence, etc) and low income. They also help out their local rescues when possible. They are a volunteer run-donation based program, and over their 2 1/2 year, they have spay/neutered over 50 dogs. They have well over 70 dogs and cats they take care of on a regular basis and weekly, they hand out between 600-1,000 pounds of dog and cat food!
How did Nova's Heart come about? Rebekeh, the Founder of Nova's Heart, tells this story on their website:
"One fall day I was getting gas and noticed a young man with a beautiful but skinny dog in the grassy area near the service station. I always carry dog treats and food in case I find a stray needing food or need to use a treat to help lure a rescue from its hiding spot. I approached the young man and asked him if I could give his dog a treat, he said I could and it would be much appreciated. She was very happy to get it and greeted me with a wag of her tail, I asked him if he could use some food for her and he said that would also be very much appreciated. When I returned with the food, he and I chatted a minute about her, him saying that she was his best girl and her name was Nova. After I spent a minute petting her and saying goodbye I turned and went back to what I had been doing.
I thought about the two of them constantly for a week and then decided to see if some of the other rescuers in our area would join me in providing something for the pets of our cities homeless. Through the resources of the HUB we are going to be able to help feed, give warmth and minor veterinary care to those who need it. Named after that beautiful Furr girl, Nova’s Heart is a group of individuals from various rescue groups around the Shreveport/Bossier Louisiana area who want to help the pets of our cities homeless."
I am so impressed with what they are doing and with their dedication to continue helping those who need it. And I can only imagine the demand is increasing.
In order to survive, volunteer-based organizations such as Nova's Heart rely on donation of time, pet items and money. They have a variety of ways you can help, with their very creative Buckets of Love or Tubs of Love monthly donation program. (I just signed up for the Buckets of Love monthly donation of $7.77) Who's with me?
You can also check out their Amazon Wishlist, making it easy to send items that they truly need, such as pet food, freezer bags, leashes and other items. And of course cash donations are always appreciated, to help cover vet costs and other such expenses.
I hope you'll check them out and think about what you can do in your community to help the pets of those in crisis. To learn more about Nova's Heart, visit them on their website, www.NovasHeart.dog and their Facebook page. They are now on Twitter too! @NovasHeart
"Until you are down and out and have no other options...