He approached the garbage can outside the store in a way that told me he had done it many times before. Gently pulling the lid to the side and peeking inside, seeking the treasure he would redeem a nickel at a time.
But this particular garbage can was messy. The lid was askew and there was garbage on the ground outside the can. It wasn’t pretty.
I was stopped at a red light and watched it happen. Lid off. Peek inside. Lid on again. I could quickly see by the man’s actions that this can held no treasure.
Yet when he was finished he didn’t just walk away. Instead he bent down and picked up the loose garbage and placed it inside the can. And then he made sure the lid was on straight and secure when he was finished.
And then he and his best friend rolled off, having left this little piece of the world in better shape than they found it.
But before I saw any of that, what I saw was the dog. A sweet boy riding around in a shopping cart. That’s what first caught my eye.
At the next block I caught up with them, parked and said hello. His name was Tim; he’s the one on his knees behind the cart. And inside the cart riding like royalty was nine-month old Ted. They’d been together since Ted was a tiny 6 weeks old.
This happened in Portland, Oregon. But it could have been anywhere. But luckily it was in Portland. Because The Pongo Fund was there to help.
On the road with a dream to get back home to Iowa. But not too fast. First they were going to visit some old friends and make some new ones. And then they’d hit the road for the highway home.
I asked if Ted needed food and Tim said they would be honored. And when he opened his Oregon Public Broadcasting logo satchel to put the food inside, what I saw was a meticulously organized bag filled with Ted’s supplies. Food and more food. Water bowl. Extra leash. Vet records. It would have made every organizing expert proud.
And the best part? The food they already had was our Pongo food. Food they’d received earlier from one of the many other groups that we provide food to.
We talked for a few moments but what I really wanted to know was more about Ted and the shopping cart. Because I wanted to make sure that he was ok.
And that’s when Tim gave me a funny look. Like maybe I’d asked a question that I should not have asked. Like maybe there was something hidden inside the cart that Ted was sitting on to keep it hidden. But I was wrong.
Because at that moment Tim reached down and pushed on and lifted and fluffed the assorted goods that Ted was sitting on to show me how cushy and comfortable it was for Ted. And at that same moment Ted turned his head backward and gave Tim a smooch. But that wasn’t all.
Because Tim then went on to say that it was way too hot for him to let Ted walk on the already scorching sidewalk. Kindly explaining to me that a dog’s paws are no different than our own bare feet. Further explaining how easily a dog’s paws can become burned and how painful that would be and how we need to remember if it’s too hot for us then it’s surely too hot for them.
He then said his own feet were hot and he was wearing shoes. And there was just no way he’d let Ted burn his paws on these hot days. And upon hearing that I broke into the biggest grin because it was just what I wanted to hear.
A man living his life in a way that surely was not always easy. Yet making sure along the way that his dog had it easier.
But Tim wasn’t a large man, and Ted weighed a good 65 pounds. Meaning that getting Ted into that cart could not be easy. And I asked him about that; how he gets Ted into and out of the cart?
And he looked at me again with his easy smile, and said “we do it together.”
Tim and Ted. Ted and Tim. On the road together. Fueled by The Pongo Fund.
And this is why we Pongo.
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live. thepongofund.org
This sweet creampuff is Luna. A four-year-old pitbull that’s known far more than her share of tough times. But not anymore. Because her life today is filled with love. And that’s why she never stops wagging her tail. Wag. Wag. Wag. Hi! My Name Is Luna and I’m A Happy Girl. Wag. Wag. Wag. I Must Wiggle My Butt and Dance. Wag. Wag. Wag. I Must Kiss Your Face. Wag. Wag. Wag.
But without The Pongo Fund Luna’s tail would not be wagging. And there would be no more dancing. Because without The Pongo Fund, Luna would be going hungry. And worse.
In many other communities across the country, dogs like Luna don’t have a chance. But thanks to The Pongo Fund, things are different in Portland. And that means when Luna’s family found her but could not afford all of her needed care, The Pongo Fund worked to get her spayed and vaccinated. And we continue to be here for her during those times when her family is temporarily unable to afford all of the food to keep her fed.
Today Luna is happy and healthy and loved. She has a wonderful home and a family that loves her. A family that she loves very much in return.
Luna is just one of the many hundreds of beloved pitbulls that have been helped by The Pongo Fund. They are alive today because we were here to help them when they had nowhere else to turn.
Helping Luna and tens of thousands more family pets just like her. Keeping them safe at home and out of the shelters. That’s the work we do. And your generous contributions keep us going. Because the truth is, we’re all in this together.
Peace. Love. Kibble. thepongofund.org
It was back in January when we began the year with puppies in a box. There were four of them, all little girls just a few weeks old. Tucked tight next to their exhausted Mom Freya. A Mom that was only 14 months old. Really still just a puppy herself. All were living inside a small cardboard box, the property of a homeless couple that took them along as they stood on a bridge onramp asking for money. And sometimes they got loose and ran onto the bridge as cars zoomed by. That is where we found them. They were filthy and hungry and sad.
But the sad stories were quickly left behind as all received full vet exams, vaccinations and were spayed. And each one of those puppies found new homes. And so did Freya. She now leads a life of luxury, spending her days going on long walks and eating like a queen. She goes to daycare, gets massage, plays with BFF’s and has more beds and blankets than anyone can possibly count. She hit the jackpot. But so did her new Mom. Because Freya is awesome!
Your donations for the Freya Scholarship Fund helped us provide the lifesaving care this little family needed. Food, medical and more. And thanks to you they’re all doing fantastic. Just take a look at the photo of Freya, sunning in her backyard. A real backyard. Not a cardboard box. From where she was to where she is…it’s a world of difference. Doesn’t every animal deserve that?
We’ve quietly rescued many more since then. And our Freya Fund is now depleted. Please consider a donation to help us build that fund back up so we can continue to step in and save the lives of those little innocents when they need us most. Because you know they would do it for you. Even better, every single Global Giving donation until December 31 will be matched by a generous Pongo donor. Won't you please help?
Sometimes cranky people are cranky only because they hurt. Sore neck, aching back, bum hip, bad knee, impacted tooth, infected ear, broken dentures, sinus infection. Even just a mild headache that has ached for days and still aches because a small bottle of ibuprofen is $3.00 more than they currently have in their pocket.
Paul is that sort of cranky person. He’s new to Portland, a United States Veteran, and he carries some wounds with him. Wounds that he carries both inside and out. Paul has a service dog named Henry and Henry needed food. Paul did too, but he told his caseworker that he was more concerned about Henry. So Paul’s caseworker called The Pongo Fund because we had been added to a list of resources exactly for times like this.
Paul’s caseworker said the Resource List is their Bible, the place they turn for help in solving the problems they don’t always know how to solve otherwise. Helping disabled veterans feed their dogs is one of those problems. But just because a name is on the Resource List doesn’t mean it will always be the right resource. But in this case there were five stars ***** next to the words “Pongo Fund.” And the caseworker said that when you’re helping Military Veterans and you see five stars, you know that’s going to be a great resource.
We got the information we needed to dispatch our Emergency Kibble Response Team. With one last warning from the caseworker. He said Paul was pretty much cranky all of the time. He just wanted us to know that.
We met Paul and Paul was cranky. But then Henry jumped up on his lap, licked his face and Paul giggled like Cindy Brady. A proud man. A proud man in pain. Pain that came from serving our Country. And deeply embarrassed that he needed our help. But Henry was not embarrassed.
We think Henry’s primary role as a service dog was to lick Paul’s face and turn his frown into a smile. Because that’s what we saw. And Henry did it so well that we knew he was well practiced at it.
There were many questions we wanted to ask, many conversations we wanted to have. But our job was to deliver the food and get on our way. To let Paul and Henry get back to their day. So we said our goodbyes and exited.
A few days later there was a note waiting for us at The Pongo Fund. It was just three words, a simple thank you from Paul. How he managed to carry himself with all his hurts to our door to leave us a note is something we’ll never know. But he did. And this is why we Pongo.
They are Daisies and they adopted The Pongo Fund as their Community Service Partner during their recent Girl Scout Cookie Sale. Not yet Brownies. Not yet Girl Scouts. Just kindergarteners. But despite their young age Troop 45066 packs a massive amount of spirit. And they brought their spirit of service to The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank for an inspiring day of Kibble Packing. With a goal of empowering and teaching them that contributing the skills they have is of great value. What a great day!
Because each one of these Daisies has pets of their own and told us how much it would hurt them if there was not enough food to keep their pets fed. Even telling us that they would give up their own food so their pets would not go hungry. Powerful words from a group so young.
And when all was done these hard workers had packed a mountain of kibble, more than 500 pounds all in an afternoon! Kibble that is the lifeline for families that cannot afford to keep their own pets fed during these tough times. But it gets even better.
Because before they left they presented The Pongo Fund with a check for $300. They told us to use it to buy another pallet of kibble so the next Girl Scout Troop could enjoy a Kibble Packing Day too. How cool is that?
Five and six year olds paying it forward. Awesome!
Thank you Troop 45066 Daisies and friends. You make us PONGO PROUD!
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