Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Feel Good Story

The Pongo Fund is an organization here in Portland that I am proud to support.  I hold an annual food drive for them at the shop & send broken bags their way as often as I can.  The Pongo Fund is not a rescue; they are an emergency pet food bank that distributes pet food to those in need.  Their work is vital to ensuring that many pets do not have to be relinquished due to financial difficulties.  They are led by a man with an amazing heart and an ability to inspire others.  This week, he posted a wonderful story (and it's just the beginning) on Facebook, recounting an encounter with a homeless couple and a new litter of puppies.  I am truly inspired not just by his actions but by the beauty of his words.  I've copied and pasted that story from The Pongo Fund's Facebook page here (I couldn't screen shot it because it's lengthier than the screen).  I hope it warms your heart like it did mine.

Posted Yesterday:
Puppies in a box. For those of us that care about animals, puppies in a box are not something that we look forward to seeing.

Yesterday I met a young homeless couple. And they had a box of wiggly and squeaky puppies tucked tightly next to their doting momma. For privacy I am not going to use their names here or share the location. Because they’re all doing ok for now.

But before I continue, please make sure you understand something. This posting is not about the homeless, or about the frustration that you might have for a young couple living on the street that is simply trying to survive while they also fight for the survival of their puppies. This is not a time to share your politics or rhetoric or criticisms.

This is not a moment to judge, but rather a moment to feel thankful that it is not you standing in the cold with a box of puppies. And I ask you to please be very careful with the things you might post in response, because I read them.

They had registered their dog to be altered at a clinic, but as is too often the case, things happened and she got pregnant. They were not pleased by this; they did not want puppies in a box. We talked for a while and shared dog stories, connected in our combined love for the animals. I gave them my personal business card packed with all my contact information, and told them they could reach me 24 hours a day. And I told them I’d be back today with supplies.

And today, that’s exactly where I was. The young man, about 25 years old, was surprised to see me; I don’t think he thought I would actually return. His girlfriend was not there at that moment, but I could tell he was glad to see me.

I brought food, blankets and supplies, and something to replace the cardboard box that the puppies called home. And I stayed a few minutes and we talked. I told him that I didn’t know what it was like to face the challenges that they were facing, but I could tell it would not be easy. He said it’s been worse, and I believed him. But I did not want to know what he might be referring to or what he might remember.

I also talked with him about their dog and the pups, about how hard it might be for them to find them good homes while they also were trying to find a home for themselves. He nodded in agreement. And then I asked if he might consider letting me find them homes instead, keeping them all together until they could be adopted.

He smiled and thanked me for that offer. But the dogs actually belonged to his girlfriend, and he’d talk with her when she returned. But I could tell how he felt.

I told him I knew it would take a brave decision to give up their dogs, and I would do anything I could to help them make the decision. That I was in this with them, not against them. They were no longer just two; they were three because they had me too.

I also offered to put them up in a hotel for a few nights so they could get warm again, a chance to sleep in beyond 5:00am. A chance to enjoy a decent meal and a long, hot bath. Get them some clean clothes and also some laundry service for the clothes they were wearing, clothes that might not have visited a washer for a while.

It was clear to me that I was talking to a proud young man today, a man that did not want or expect charity. But he was a man that wanted to do the right thing. So instead of offering him charity, I offered him kindness.

It sounds funny, but I look forward to visiting them tomorrow. I’ll be ready for whatever happens, but I hope to leave with a box of puppies. I’ll keep you posted.

Mother Teresa said we do not have to do great things; only small things with great love. Today I tried to do that, and I will try again tomorrow too. And in some fashion, I hope I can live up to that goal every day.

In the interim, please think good thoughts. And remember, if you post comments, please think long and hard about what you post, because we are not here to judge or criticize this family. I’m here to help, and I hope that you’ll join me in that effort. Thank you.

My name is Larry Chusid, and I am the Founder of The Pongo Fund. And Pongo was my dog.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

Posted Today

A symphony of happy squeals and little wagging tails greeted The Pongo Fund at 1:00pm today as we welcomed beautiful Freya and her four precious pups.

All five look great and appear to be in fine health. And that is the most important thing.

Although their circumstances were not ideal, these little balls of fur with their sharp teeth and tiny tongues were loved. Not just by their Mom, but by the two people dedicated to their care.

So before I say anything else, I first want to salute and thank the young homeless couple that despite their own daily challenges made sure to give their four-legged family the very best care possible. And I ask you to please join me in sending them love!

This little family, Freya and her girls, are now safe and warm, eating and drinking and resting. Seeing them together, curled up in a giant ball, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

All will receive full checkups tomorrow and next week Miss Freya will receive the full spa treatment because she’s done an awesome job and deserves a little relaxation.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your kind and gracious Facebook comments. I am honored by your compassion and so very proud to call you friend. Please continue to send good thoughts, because we can never have too much of that.

By popular request we are setting up The Freya Scholarship Fund for Freya and her four girls, and donations can be made here: or sent by mail to The Pongo Fund, PO Box 8244, Portland OR 97207. Please note donation is for Freya.

This story is pretty amazing and you’ll be stunned by some of the details and we will share more later. But for now, for this one moment in time, please join me in celebrating the good fortune that we all have experienced by meeting this young couple and Freya and her girls.

The Pongo Fund is Oregon’s Pet Food Bank. Because hungry people have hungry pets. Our award-winning and volunteer driven charity has provided more than 4 million nutritious meals for some 50,000 animals, allowing them to stay safe at home with their families and out of the shelters.

And now we count Freya and her girls as part of our family.

I hope Larry's story touched you as much as it did me.  We can all use the reminder to act out of compassion & kindness first and foremost.  In the world I exist in, we all care deeply about the lives of dogs; Larry's words remind me that it's just as important to care that deeply about the people.  As Larry always says, Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.  And I would like to add Love.  Thanks, Larry, for doing what you do!


  1. Thank you for sharing their story... it's so nice to hear about considering all the negative stories that seem to be about.

  2. Such a heartwarming story - Larry is an amazing man! Thank you for sharing :)

  3. That is such a great thing! I know from my experience in dumpsters how much perfectly good food gets thrown away because not one person was resourceful enough to create a fund to supply the needy with stuff for their pets. I am going to check to see if such an entity exists around here!

  4. The Pongo Fund is amazing! I can only imagine how much good could be done if each city were able to put together an organization like this. So happy for Freya & her babies ♥

  5. Oh, what a sweet story. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Very well said. Sometimes it is easy to just see the animal and not the person as a person doing the best that they can do at that time. Thank you for sharing this story.

  7. What an inspiring and lovely story. The Pongo Fund is awesome and I'm looking forward to following the story of Frey and the girls.

  8. I can say that the grace and charity with which the the founder of the Pongo fund acted was is pretty amazing. I will admit when I walk in our downtown areas and find homeless people with dogs I often think things that I probably have no place thinking. I get angry. I stopped to offer a treat to a guys sweet well-behaved pit and he told me how he was planning to breed him to sell puppies yet the dog was not even well-fed. The way this man was able to step away from those types of judgmental thoughts is admirable. What a great foundation with a very grounded man at it's front.

  9. Wow. That is amazing! Larry sounds like a pretty awesome person!

  10. I LOVE the Pongo Fund and have contributed to it several times AND follow it on FB. What a worthwhile cause and those puppies are something else!

  11. What a amazing story, and a amazing thing you did saving these puppies lives and giving them a real chance. What a grea great thing you did!!!! :)

  12. I don't look down on these young folks. But for the grace of God, there go I. But I do want to thank you for being so kind to those people. xxx

  13. That was a wonderful story!! I hope somehow through this facebook page, there might be an opportunity for shelter or employment for this young couple, so Freya can stay with those who care so much for her.

  14. What a wonderful story and Larry is quite amazing!