When my golden retriever is hungry, he stands in front of his dog bowl and lets out a distinctive bark that says, “Hey, this thing is empty!” As far as Spencer is concerned, the key to being fed is simply to be in the right place and make some noise.
A few days ago, when the temperature hovered around 0, I found myself worrying about pets left outside and reflecting on how lucky Spencer is. He has never known what is like to be unloved, cold, hungry or in pain. Overall, the pets in Centre County also are very fortunate. There are numerous agencies dedicated to their welfare and countless people who work tirelessly to help ensure that our companion animals are warm, healthy and valued as members of our families.
While the FaithCentre isn’t direclty engaged in animal rescue, we are committed to helping pets stay with the people who care for them. Although I sometimes jokingly tell Spencer that I have to go to work so I can afford his dog food, the expense of pet food can be a real problem for families facing misfortunes or seniors living on limited budgets.
A few years ago, this concern became clear to those volunteering in our food bank. An elderly woman, after collecting her food, commented that the canned chicken she was given was a great help because she could feed it to her cat. After a conversation with her, we realized that she sometimes sacrificied her own food to make certain that her calico, Snuff, was fed. Snuff was her best friend and the one source of affection and companionship she could count on every day.
We appreciated her devotion to her pet and the importance he held for her. To make certain that our clients were getting the nutrition they needed and their beloved pets were also eating well, the FaithCentre began distributing small amounts of dog and cat food.
Over the past five years, the effort to help people feed their animals has grown and developed into the Pet Food Pantry of Centre County. Relying primarily on donations from individuals such as Gerald Lyons and organizations such as Nita-Nee Kennel Club, we now distribute supplemental pet food at several regions throughout the county and serve hundreds of families.
For more information, please visit our website at www.faithcentre.info or call me at 355-0880. Donations of pet food and monetary gifts are always welcome and accepted Monday through Saturday at the FaithCentre, 110 West High St., Bellefonte.
Nicole Summers is the director of FaithCentre.