Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Society • Animals Feel Impact of Recession

Little Known Philanthropy Assists Woman and Her Pets,
by Guest Writer Cathy Taibbi

Lawrenceville, Georgia. When my boss came to me moments after I’d settled at my desk, I knew with a sinking feeling in my stomach that a fourth round of layoffs was underway—and this time I was one of the unlucky ones. I gathered my things and stoically listened to the reassurances that it had nothing to do with my performance (the company was in serious trouble) and that I had one last paycheck coming my way.

But my mind was spinning the entire time. While losing my job and even my health benefits was bad, it was worse knowing that my four adopted dogs were at risk if I couldn’t find work again soon.

As the weeks dragged into months, and I could find no more ways to skimp on essentials (being a single home-owner, living alone). I began tearfully to make plans to re-home at least one of my friends. This time I couldn’t imagine how else I could keep things together. I might starve but at least my dogs wouldn’t. And they would NOT end up on the street!

Then a friend called to tell me that he had heard about a place called, Daffy’s Pet Soup Kitchen. With a tremor of hope I dialed the number he gave me. I learned that with Daffy’s, plus the generosity of individuals, vets and corporations with a heart, I wouldn’t have to give up my dogs.

Brainchild of Tom Wargo (Founder), Daffy’s Pet Soup Kitchen (based right here in Lawrenceville) is an offshoot of the SOS Club. Daffy’s (named after Tom’s dog) is growing and expanding nationwide with the intent of keeping people and their pets together during times of financial hardship. So far, hundreds of dogs and cats have been able to stay with their families (rather than sent to shelters) because of Daffy’s good work.

After I got there and filled out some paperwork, I explained my situation, and the various conditions of my dogs. The volunteers were very understanding and more than helpful. Before you qualify for the free goodies, Daffy’s makes sure all vet care and shots will be kept up to date and that you aren’t producing litters for profit or through negligence. They insist upon responsible pet ownership. Once assured, they left me in the office, browsing useful business cards from vets and pet services, flyers and news releases, while they headed into the warehouse to round up some kibble.

Since Daffy’s relies on donations, the selection changes week to week. Some of it is bargain-basement and some may be premium brands, canned or dry, but all is clean and fresh, depending on what’s available and what your pets are used to eating or need. For instance if you have a very large breed, like I do, or seniors, young pups, cats or kittens, they will do their best to match you up with appropriate products.

Of course there’s a ‘catch’ (although, truly, it is a blessing for those of us in my situation); Five hours charity work a month for ANY charity you care about, not just Daffy’s. This is a chance to get out, do some good, meet people, network and—most importantly—feel useful again after the demoralizing months of isolation and dwindling self-esteem that job-loss entails.

Daffy’s mission is to help, and they do. It’s a life-saver. It might just be what’s needed to get us over the hump until we can find work again. So what Daffy’s has given us is a ‘win-win’ situation that everyone can feel good about.

As for us, we got more than we’d hoped for. We ended up with enough wet and dry foods of excellent quality to last over a month without rationing. We even got some yummy chewies and crunchies. To see my dogs fat and sassy when things had looked so bleak is a true joy!

That new job may be just around the corner, and thanks to Daffy’s, I’ll still have my best friends when that happens. It’s hard to put a price on a gift life that.

If you need help keeping your pet family together during this time of crisis, contact Daffy’s. A kind volunteer can help get you into the program.

Those able to help Daffy’s with donations, food, supplies or volunteer hours, are welcome to call (404-345-6821 or 678-725-4992) and talk to Tom about how you can assist in keeping pets with their families—and out of shelters. A daffy solution? You bet!
http://www.daffyspetsoupkitchen.com
***
Cathy Taibbi has a background of zoological work and has written essays on that subject for professional journals. However it was when she wrote this story that the AGN-TCL Newswire Service noticed her and published her story world wide. Her rise in prominence was meteoric as the world discovered her. She now writes for two international news services, Allvoices and Examiner and is considered the foremost authority on wildlife and the enviornment.

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