Category Archives: The Pongo Fund

Hero Dog Saves Owner, Thanks to Pongo Fund and CANIDAE

By Julia Williams

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank in Portland, Oregon is a non-profit charity created to help people who are unable to buy food for their pets. They opened in November 2009 with a donation of $125,000 worth of premium pet food from CANIDAE. In just one year, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has distributed more than one million meals to help feed hungry dogs and cats in Oregon and southwest Washington! 

CANIDAE continues to support The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank with large donations of its premium dog and cat foods. The charity then gives the food free of charge to anyone who expresses a genuine need. The goal is to keep families and pets together in challenging economic times, and judging by a touching letter The Pongo Fund received recently, they are succeeding in ways they couldn’t even imagine.

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The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank: A True Success Story


By Julia Williams

Last November I told you about a wonderful Portland charity called The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank. In seven short months, what started as one man’s heartfelt desire to help two homeless men feed their starving canine companions, has blossomed into Oregon’s largest charitable pet food resource. Thanks to the Pongo Fund and CANIDAE, more than 500,000 premium quality meals have now been scarfed up by hungry pets in Oregon and southwest Washington. That, my friends, is a lot of fortunate dogs and cats who not only have full bellies but are able to remain with a loving family instead of being given up due to dire financial circumstances.

I recently spoke with Larry Chusid, The Pongo Fund Founder and Executive Director, to ask him how things have been going. Larry said “The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank is only open two days a month for three hours. In other words, we’ve been open to the public for the equivalent of 42 hours. That’s it…42 hours. We know that we provide food for thousands of families with pets that are at risk of being abandoned or surrendered because their families cannot afford to feed them. But how do we really measure success after only 42 hours?”

Well, I’ll tell you how. You measure success by the hundreds of people who, rain or shine, come to stand in line for their pet food every two weeks. You measure success by their radiant smiles when they receive the pet food, because you can see how much it uplifts their spirits to be able to feed their beloved dog or cat. You measure success by realizing that, because of your pet food bank, more than 50,000 premium quality meals are being provided to family pets each and every month.

You measure success by the unprecedented accord the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has been able to establish and maintain with a long list of major human services agencies and charities – organizations that have direct contact every day with people who need help feeding their pets. You measure success with your recent donation of seven tons of pet food to the Oregon Food Bank for statewide redistribution, which means that you’ve now extended your reach far past the Portland city limits.

You measure success with the knowledge that The Pongo Fund has already achieved two of their primary goals: 1) using premium quality food as a lifeline to keep family pets from being abandoned or surrendered because their families cannot afford to keep them fed; and 2) reducing shelter populations without using euthanasia or other fatal methods. And you measure success by each human life that’s saved because now they can use their money and food stamps to feed themselves instead of giving their own meager provisions to their pets.

So you see, it’s really not that hard to measure success, is it? Of course, all of these things only scratch the surface of the impact the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has on people and their animal companions. It’s not just the people and pets of Oregon who are being helped either. As word spreads, the Pongo Fund has begun receiving pleas for help from as far away as Florida, from people concerned about their Oregon friends and relatives in dire need of pet food. Knowing that help is at hand enables those who live far away to feel less helpless, and gives them peace of mind.

CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods is a vital part of The Pongo Fund’s mission to keep family pets from starving or being surrendered to a shelter because their families cannot afford to feed them. Their initial donation of $125,000 worth of pet food was the lucky break this humble nonprofit needed to turn a dream into reality.

But why did a California-based company decide to support an organization in Oregon? For one thing, the Pongo Fund’s founder has unmistakable passion for his humanitarian mission, and it’s this unbridled passion that creates incredible momentum for the organization to grow and succeed. CANIDAE wholeheartedly believed in the Pongo Fund’s vision from the start, and they believe in it even more now. The company continues to provide donations of their premium quality pet food, and recently expanded to include a $20,000 shipment of Snap-Biscuit® dog treats. “What would dinner be without dessert!” quipped Chusid.

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has achieved some truly remarkable things in seven months. But mark my words – this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the best is yet to come. To quote a hit song from the 80s, “the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades.”

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Save a Life: June is “Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat” Month


By Julia Williams

As an animal lover, I’ve always hoped I might live to see a day where very few cats and dogs languish in shelters waiting to find their forever home. Although the number of homeless animals is much smaller today than several decades ago, there are still far too many healthy animals in shelters that would make perfectly wonderful family pets. There’s no central data reporting agency for animal shelters at this time, but the Humane Society of the United States estimates that between six and eight million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters every year, and only a fraction of those end up finding homes.

Those aren’t rosy statistics by any means. However, I prefer not to dwell on the negative but focus on the positive. Low cost spay-and-neuter programs, along with extensive public outreach and education, helps the numbers get smaller each year. And with generous companies like CANIDAE around to sponsor animal charities like the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, many more pets get to remain in their home instead of being surrendered to shelters.

I may not live to see that utopian day I dream about, but I can still celebrate the small victories. I can feel happy for those fortunate few shelter dogs and cats who do find loving homes. And lastly, I can encourage those who have room in their house and heart to visit their local animal shelter this month during Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month.

In order to raise awareness of all those healthy, affectionate felines who need homes, the ASPCA sponsors Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat each June. It’s timed to coincide with the start of “kitten season,” when shelters are inundated with beautiful feline babies born in the spring and summer.

Many animal shelters across the nation celebrate Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month by reducing the fee charged to place felines in their new forever homes. All of the shelter cats available for adoption have been spayed or neutered, and thoroughly evaluated by a veterinarian. All they need is to find a family.

Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat month is a purrfect time to fall in “feline love” with one of the millions of homeless cats living in animal shelters nationwide. Whether you prefer a young and frisky kitten or a cat that’s mellowed with age, you’re sure to meet your perfect match. After you fill out some paperwork, you can take your new friend home to discover the many benefits of being owned by a cat: happiness, companionship, amusement, never-ending purrs, and love that fills your heart to the brim.

This June, why not make your way to your local shelter to find the feline of your dreams!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Great Careers for Animal Lovers


By Julia Williams

Children who dearly love animals often dream of becoming a veterinarian when they grow up. It’s a logical choice, since it’s likely the one they’re most familiar with. But there are actually thousands of other animal-related occupations to choose from. It’s an interesting field in that it includes animal-related jobs that require no education and very little training, those that call for college degrees and years of experience, and many that fall somewhere in between. Here are just a few careers for animal lovers.

Groomers turn dirty dogs and scruffy cats into clean, well coifed pets, be it for creature comfort in everyday life, or high profile shows where appearance is everything. Pet groomers can learn the tricks of the trade by attending a licensed grooming school or by apprenticing with a professional. Groomers may work for a vet, pet store or specialty pet grooming “salon.”

Pet sitting and dog walking businesses are perfect for independent types who want to be their own boss. Pet sitters care for animals while their owners are away, which may include feeding, walking, playing, petting, giving medication and cleanup. You typically visit the pet a few times a day, but may also be asked to stay in the home. Busy people hire dog walkers to give their canine companions much-needed exercise. Although it is possible to make a decent income as a pet sitter or dog walker, it takes dedication and hard work to build a steady client base, and your schedule needs to be extremely flexible.

Doggie daycare workers supervise canine playtime, feed and clean up after them, and generally just make sure the dogs are kept safe during their stay. Training is often offered on-the-job, and with experience a dedicated worker could even become a manager or open their own doggie daycare center.

Trainers: this field includes a host of different jobs, working with all types of animals, from dogs and horses, to dolphins and sea lions. Jobs include obedience training for private clients, service dog training, working with canine and feline “actors” in show biz, training exotic animals to perform at amusement parks, and training horses for shows and competitions.

Animal control officers (think “Animal Cops”) investigate the mistreatment of dogs, cats, horses, roosters and other animals in their city, rescue strays and deal with wild animals that endanger humans. These jobs can be rewarding for those with a sincere desire to help animals, but can also be demanding, stressful and heartbreaking, and are not right for everyone.

Animal Educators work at wildlife parks, sanctuaries, zoos and aquariums to educate the public. These jobs require a high level of confidence, and you must be comfortable meeting people and speaking to large groups.

Zookeepers feed animals, clean enclosures, and observe animal behavior. Most have a college education and prior experience as an animal caretaker.

Zoologists are biological scientists who study the behavior, diseases, genetics and life processes of animals in their natural habitats as well as in laboratories. Zoologists may work for universities, museums, zoos, government agencies or private companies.

If you’d like to work with animals but have no idea which job you’re best suited for, your local library and/or the bookstore is a good place to start. Books are a valuable resource for information on animal related careers. They contain detailed descriptions of specific careers for animal lovers, along with the education and training needed, typical salaries and job outlook.

Here are some to look for: Careers for Animal Lovers, by Louise Miller; Careers With Animals, by Ellen Shenk; 105 Careers for Animal Lovers, by Paula Fitzsimmons; Careers With Animals (for grades 3 to 8), by Willow Ann Sirch. For the entrepreneur, Joseph Nigro’s 101 Best Businesses for Pet Lovers provides information on starting an animal-related enterprise – from popular choices like pet photographers and doggie daycares, to unusual careers like catnip farmers, doggie fashion designers, pet furniture makers and pet party planners.

If you’re already established in a non-animal-related field you love, you can still work with animals by becoming a volunteer. There are so many worthwhile animal charities and organizations that rely on volunteers in their quest to help pets and the people who love them. Consider volunteering at your local animal shelter, rescue group or wildlife rehabilitation center. Those who live in Oregon could volunteer at the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, a wonderful organization CANIDAE supports in its mission to provide meals for every hungry pet in Portland.

I’ve been an animal lover as far back as I can remember. I’ve felt profoundly connected to animals in a way that is often difficult for me to achieve with people. Had I not discovered an affinity for writing at a very young age, I might conceivably have chosen any one of these careers for animals lovers instead. As it is, writing about animals offers me the best of both worlds – I get paid to do something I dearly love, while immersing myself in a topic that I care deeply about.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Responsible Pet Ownership: The Year in Review


By Julia Williams

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of this CANIDAE-sponsored pet blog. I didn’t begin writing for the blog until April, so I’m not sure if the starting date of February 14th was intentional, but it seems fitting. Why? Well, most of us associate Valentine’s Day with love. CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods was founded out of love for pets, and they created this blog as a way to aid those who love their pets! Further, they chose to call it Responsible Pet Ownership because those three words perfectly personify the company philosophy, and are the heart and soul of CANIDAE.

The purpose of this blog is, and has always been, to provide helpful tips and advice for caring pet owners, be they dog lovers, cat fans or “pet people” who refuse to choose their favorite animal. We strive to offer a diverse mix of educational, inspiring and entertaining articles on all aspects of pet ownership and care. Although the old adage “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” may be true, we do try our best to offer something for everyone. We want our readers to keep reading, after all, because that’s why we do what we do. Without you, this blog would have no meaning.

The writers who contribute to the Responsible Pet Ownership blog may come from all walks of life, but we have two things in common: a deep love for pets and a commitment to responsible pet ownership. Another thing we share is the desire to enrich people’s lives with our words. As a writer, I can tell you that nothing moves me more than knowing someone got “something” from my words – whether it was information on how to care for their pet, a laugh or a smile, or just a few minutes of reading pleasure in an otherwise harried day.

I’ve been a longtime fan of the CANIDAE brand. Well, FELIDAE actually, which is their cat food label. My three cats have eaten FELIDAE exclusively for about five years, and I am positive that I’m giving them top-notch food. But being part of the blog team has enabled me to see what a great and giving company CANIDAE is too. In addition to promoting responsible pet ownership through proper nutrition and care, CANIDAE also supports many worthwhile pet-related organizations and “pets in need.” This includes scholarship programs for veterinary students, donating their premium-quality pet food to wonderful charities such as The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, holding charity raffles to raise money for canine cancer research, and so much more.

On this one-year anniversary of the Responsible Pet Ownership blog, we’d like to express our appreciation of you, our valued readers. If you’ve been reading this blog from the start, thank you! And for those who may be new to the blog, we encourage you to poke around our archives and discover what you may have missed. Moreover, we welcome your comments, so let us know if there are subjects you wish to read about, and feel free to suggest ideas for how we can make this blog better.

I am honored to be a part of the Responsible Pet Ownership blog team, and look forward to sharing my words with you in the future.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Portland’s New Pet Food Bank Gets “Two Paws Up”


By Julia Williams

Throughout the year but especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas, many compassionate souls step up to help those who have fallen on hard times. Food banks and soup kitchens ensure that the homeless, jobless and low-income families all have a nice holiday meal. But what about the beloved pets of those less fortunate? If they are lucky enough to live in Portland, Oregon, they too will have plenty of good food to eat this Thanksgiving! Thanks to The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank and CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods, no companion dog or cat in Portland has to go hungry this holiday season.

This new food bank for pets officially opened on November 8th, and plans to be open on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month. Reflecting on their first day, The Pongo Fund Founder Larry Chusid said it was a “perfectly joyful opportunity to help the community. We were able to effortlessly guide each person through the facility, providing them with food and nutritional advice, in only a matter of minutes. Providing a respectful and efficient experience will be critical as we expect to help more and more people as news of the pet food bank spreads.”

Although this past Sunday was only the second day The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank was open to distribute high quality dog food and cat food to the needy, it’s already clear that it’s going to have a huge positive impact on the lives of many – humans and animals alike. The number of customers on the second day doubled that of opening day, and in November alone The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank provided more than 10,000 meals to hungry pets who might not otherwise have any food.

Anyone with a genuine need can receive a two week supply of premium pet food for their four-legged friend. What’s more, the warehouse full of kibble and cans generously donated by CANIDAE will allow people to come back to get more food every two weeks, so long as they have a need.

Keeping pets and families together in tough economic times is a challenge. Although many may still have a roof over their heads, the loss of a job can drastically impact a family’s financial stability. Families are torn apart, because there’s just no money to buy pet food. “If people can’t afford to feed their pet, they have to give them up. The Pongo Fund fills a unique need… they help keep families together by feeding the pets,” said Lael Concordia, Director of Social Services at William Temple House, another Portland organization that helps individuals and families in crisis.

I read a touching story in the Oregonian that illustrates just how critical it is for cities to have a pet food bank like The Pongo Fund. A social worker told of parents who had explained to their children that they didn’t have enough money to feed their dog and didn’t want it to go hungry, so they were giving it up for adoption. The children had become despondent, not only because they’d lost their cherished pet, but because they feared they would also be “given up” if there wasn’t enough money for food.

Until our economy recovers, this family is probably not the only one whose young children might have that same concern. Children just don’t understand adult worries such as the need to put food on the table or in the dog’s mouth. Nevertheless, when a family is in dire straits financially, kids do feel the anxiety and the anguish of their parents, and having to give up their pet only adds to their fragile emotional state.

Organizations like the Pongo Fund are so important right now, because they help both the pets and the people who love them. By providing quality dog and cat food to families in need, Larry Chusid knows he is saving lives and lifting spirits. He recently received an email from a family who had been loyal CANIDAE customers for years, but were experiencing true financial hardship. They had run out of dog food and were feeding their two dogs oatmeal and rice. Larry knew The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank would be able to help them, but it wasn’t going to be open for another 12 days. Not wanting the dogs or the family to suffer, he opened the food bank just for them.

This Thanksgiving, many needy families in Portland, Oregon will have a lot more to be thankful for. The Pongo Fund and CANIDAE have not only given them the food they desperately need for their dogs and cats, but renewed hope and joyful hearts too.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.