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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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. thepongofund.org
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.
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: http://www.thepongofund.org/contact/donation-page 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!