Category Archives: The Pongo Fund

The Pongo Fund Saves Lives and Keeps Families Together

CANIDAE partnered with The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank 3½ years ago to help feed the hungry pets in Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas. They helped its founder, Larry Chusid, stock the shelves by donating a massive amount of their premium quality dog food and cat food.

Although that initial shipment of pet food is long gone, CANIDAE continues to support this worthwhile charity because they know it is saving many animals’ lives. Since opening their doors in November 2009, The Pongo Fund has served millions of quality meals and more importantly, has enabled countless dogs and cats to remain in their home with the people they love.

We wanted to share this touching note from The Pongo Fund with our readers. It’s just one example of many, of how this pet food bank is making a difference in the lives of animals and families, but it’s a beautiful thing.

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A 14 year-old Boston Terrier. A 12 year-old Lab. A 7 year-old Pit Bull. And two kitties. What do they all have in common? They all belong to a family that has endured a run of incredibly bad luck. Desperate and heartbroken, they called the shelter to find out about giving their animals up. What did the shelter say?

Call The Pongo Fund.

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The Changing Face of Animal Shelters

By Linda Cole

For many years, animal shelters have been a place where pet owners could take their dog or cat when they could no longer care for them. That’s still the case, but today’s shelters have expanded to become more than just a shelter by providing other pet related services in addition to finding new homes for pets.

Animal Education 

Shelters are developing humane education programs to help teach kids how to respect animals and have compassion for all life. Children are taught how to handle a pet, the proper way to pet them, and when they may need to give a pet their space. Responsible pet ownership is the focus in each program, and some shelters include responsible stewardship for all animals, domesticated and wild. These programs help teach kids empathy and why it’s important to have compassion for the animals we share our environment with. Programs vary from shelter to shelter, with some offering classes on pet first aid and disaster preparedness for pets.

Safe Haven

Since the downturn in the economy, some shelters have come up with a way to help struggling owners keep their pets. Instead of surrendering a pet to a shelter and adding to their population, safe haven programs are giving pet owners a better option and hope by boarding or fostering pets for people who are in a temporary situation. Home foreclosures or a loss of a job is already a stressful situation. Surrendering a pet to a shelter only adds to a family’s devastating economic loss. Safe haven programs also give military personnel preparing to deploy overseas a way to keep their pets while they’re away. Instead of worrying if a pet they had to surrender to a shelter has found a good home, soldiers can concentrate on their job knowing their pet is safe and waiting for them to return.

Training Classes and Behavior Evaluations

One reason many pets are surrendered to shelters is because their owner doesn’t know how to correct a behavior problem. However, most behavior issues can be easily resolved once you know how to help a pet. Even aggression can be corrected. Some bad behavior is due to medical reasons and some is simply a matter of the owner taking the lead role with a pet. Many shelters now have an animal behaviorist on staff to help with pet behavior issues. Training classes give pet owners the tools they need to teach basic commands and learn how to control their dog.

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URGENT! The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank Needs Help

By Linda Cole

CANIDAE has been a huge supporter of The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank since 2009, when their initial donation of $125,000 worth of premium pet food helped this very important charity open their doors. Larry Chusid founded The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank to help people feed their beloved pets, so the animals can remain with the family instead of being surrendered to a shelter. Although many who receive the lifesaving pet food from The Pongo Fund never imagined they’d ever be unable to feed their pet without help, it can and does happen to all walks of life.

To date, The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has provided meals for over 50,000 hungry animals throughout Oregon & Southwest Washington. Now it’s our turn to give back to Larry and The Pongo Fund, and I’m asking for your help.

The Pongo Fund is entered in the Chase Community Giving contest for a share of $5 million in grants to the winning charities. A win for The Pongo Fund would come at a very good time, because the charity was recently forced out of their building after it was severely damaged by rain and slated for demolition. The pet food bank has located a new home, but will now have to pay rent and restock the warehouse.

CANIDAE will continue to lend a hand with donations of their premium pet food and treats, but it takes more than one company to keep Larry’s lifesaving work going. Winning $50,000 would go a long way in helping The Pongo Fund get back on their feet so they can continue to feed pets in need.

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The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, 2.5 Million Meals Later

By Julia Williams

Years ago, a kind-hearted pet lover had a dream. Where some might hope to strike it rich or “make it big,” Larry Chusid’s dream was more altruistic – he wanted to help the needy feed their pets. He wanted to make a difference in their lives by helping them keep the animals they dearly loved.

In November of 2009, Larry’s dream became a reality when The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in Portland, Oregon. I’ve written about it here before, because were it not for CANIDAE and their initial $125,000 donation of pet food, Larry might still be in dreaming mode. But he isn’t, and it warms my heart to know that many, many people and their pets have benefitted because one man dared to dream, and a caring company generously gave what was needed to get this pet food bank going.

As often happens in life, seemingly chance events are life-changing moments. So it was with Larry when he met some CANIDAE folks at a pet-product trade show. The decision CANIDAE made to support The Pongo Fund has greatly impacted not only Larry’s life, but countless thousands of people and pets in their time of need. Now, just two years later, The Pongo Fund partners with more than 100 emergency food agencies, shelters and rescues in Oregon and SW Washington. By providing pet food to anyone with an honest need, Pongo succeeds in both reducing shelter populations and keeping people and their pets together.

I recently caught up with Larry to ask how things have been going.

Me: How many pounds of pet food have been distributed since opening day? 

Larry: We focus on individual quality meals, because each meal is a lifeline. In total we’ve provided more than 2,500,000 quality meals for approximately 42,000 animals belonging to nearly 19,000 families.

CANIDAE has been our primary partner since Day One. We could not do what we do without their consistent generosity and support. Our relationship goes well beyond simply donating food. They are our partner in the fight against hunger.

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Feeding Pets of the Homeless

By Langley Cornwell

Have you heard of them? How about Pets of the Homeless? This outstanding national nonprofit organization—known by both names—is a volunteer-based group intent on providing pet food and veterinary care to the homeless, transitional and less fortunate on a local level.

It all started when animal lover Genevieve Frederick noticed a homeless man with a dog. She wondered what the man fed the dog and whether it was nutritious. She wondered how the animal stayed healthy and what the man would do if the dog needed medical attention. After her initial research, Frederick decided to act on her findings. She turned her simple questions into a national organization with over 290 collection sites in the United States, several in Canada and one in Australia. Since 2008, Pets of the Homeless has collected over 76 tons of pet food and provided more than 2,500 animals with vaccinations and medical care.

While the number is a moving target, the Pets of the Homeless website reports that approximately 3.5 million Americans are homeless. Of that 3.5 million, between five and ten percent have pets. That’s a lot of hungry dogs and cats! Moreover, studies show that many homeless people are in a transitional stage and are without a place to live for only a short period of time. Finding temporary housing or a rent subsidy is difficult for those with pets.

Pets of the Homeless wants to help underprivileged people keep their pets with them, well-fed and cared for. They believe in the healing power of companion animals and of the strength of the human/animal bond. Another important consideration is that they want to keep homeless people’s pets out of overcrowded animal shelters.

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Lifesaving Dog Ceili Gets Nominated for an Award!

By Julia Williams

A few months ago I shared the touching story of a devoted dog named Ceili who became a hero when she saved her owner’s life. Ceili’s “dogged” determination prevented Danny from going upstairs to bed, and when he suffered a massive heart attack a few minutes later, she ran to alert Danny’s wife Gayle. Well, I’ve just received some exciting news about Ceili that I wanted to share. Because of Ceili’s lifesaving actions that night, she is a Top 10 Finalist for a national award given to dogs that have shown extraordinary courage or resolve to help a person in need!

I really hope Ceili wins, because she is a true canine hero and definitely deserves this wonderful award. But what I find most intriguing about this story is that several very important things had to happen before Ceili could save her owner’s life. I’m always fascinated by miracle stories that illustrate how things could have turned out differently “if not for X.” The “X” is always different, but the end result is pretty much the same. 

So what needed to happen in order for Ceili to be able to help Danny? First, a great man named Larry Chusid had to have both a dream and unwavering resolve to see it become a reality. Larry wanted to open a pet food bank in Portland, Oregon, and his passion and vision for achieving this dream attracted the attention of CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company. CANIDAE donated $125,000 of their pet food to Larry’s nonprofit organization to get the ball rolling, and the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank opened in November of 2009.

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