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Her Daughter’s Cat

She called about her daughter’s cat. Her daughter died 15 years ago.

She got the cat after her daughter died. But to her, it was still her daughter’s cat. Because it was.

Her daughter had just graduated from college. Getting the cat was the first adult thing she said she was going to do. Her Mom asked her to not get the cat. She said she would not have time to take care of her while she was out living her life. Her daughter disagreed.

Now her Mom is thankful her daughter got the cat. Because all these years later, she still has this piece of her daughter.

The past couple of years things have gotten harder, especially after the woman’s husband passed away. Life got harder, money got tighter. And she never imagined she’d be calling a total stranger to ask for help paying to put her cat to sleep. Those were her words. But we’ve heard them before.

She said the emotional part was hard enough. But the financial part. Even harder.

We talked for a few minutes. She said it wasn’t time, but she knew it would be soon. The cat had been battling some ongoing health issues and nothing seemed to help. She shared several details but all that mattered is she knew she would soon be saying goodbye to her daughter’s cat and it made her feel like she was losing her daughter all over again.

A few weeks later she called again. It was time. She said it was a beautiful day outside, and not the kind of day you’d expect to be thinking about saying goodbye. On a lark, I asked her what the cat was doing? I expected her to say she was sunning in the window or napping on the bed. Something like that.

She said she was licking the bottom of the couch again. And then she said she already knew a little bit later the vomiting and seizures would start, just like always.

Those words that she said, again and always.

What did she mean when she said again? And what did she mean when she said always?

And with those questions came another question. What was she licking exactly?

Turned out to be the leg of the couch. One of four old wooden legs that had been painted sometime earlier by her husband, one of his weekend projects. One day the cat decided to begin licking them. And then we asked her one more question.

Could there be any connection between the licking and the vomiting and seizures? She did not know. She said the bloodwork had some small concerns but nothing completely out of whack.

Of course it was a silly question. The cat was older, it could be any number of things. Sometimes we just never know.

Then she found the paint her husband had used.

The next step was removing the legs from the bottom of the couch. No more legs meant no more legs to lick. And over the next few weeks there was no more vomiting and no more seizures.

The woman said she never thought about the painted legs. We told her it was a total lark to even ask about them.

She said we saw her words.

That we did not just hear them, but we saw them.

Because sometimes listening is with both ears and eyes. And if we’re lucky, sometimes we remember to do that.

Time has gone by and both the woman and the cat are doing well. Good health is their friend and for that we are grateful.

The Pongo Fund is a port in a storm. Sometimes the storm is a sick cat. And sometimes the cure has to do with the legs on a couch.

She called for help to say goodbye. Instead we found another way to say hello.

And a woman and her daughter’s cat are enjoying all the days because of it.

Thank you to everyone who joins with me on this journey called The Pongo Fund. It is moments like these that mean so much. I can’t really put it into words. And maybe it wouldn’t even make sense if I could.

But I thank you for always being here too.

Because everything we do, we do together.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, OR

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Mitzi With The Broken Whiskers

She was the cat everyone loved.

Mitzi with the broken whiskers and crooked tail.

And she never met a lap she didn’t love.

Thankfully she had about 30 of them to choose from. The house cat for a low income walk up in the kind of neighborhood you don’t frequent unless you need to. The kind of building often invisible. Not really invisible, just invisible by choice.

A reminder of the hard life so many face.

Many choose not to look. Mitzi didn’t care.

Mitzi was maybe 13 when her Mom died. Her Mom was gone, but Mitzi stayed. No one really owned Mitzi. She was the Queen and wandered the halls picking and choosing which lap she would adorn for the next hour. First floor, second floor, third floor, you get the idea. Or maybe she curled up on the couch in the lobby. The door to the street right there. Yet she never left.

She knew where home was. This place with 30 laps.

Why look for anything else?

Everyone chipped in for her care. Bottles, cans, social security, money from giving blood. Whatever it was, they gave what they could. One month maybe a little less. Another month maybe a little more. It all evened out. No one kept track of who gave what. All that mattered was Mitzi.

When she developed a dental abscess there wasn’t enough time for them to rally together to raise the money for her surgery. Cats are stoic. You know they are. That’s why we love them even more. For a cat to complain, well, you darn well know things are bad. Yet Mitzi never complained. Just that someone noticed something didn’t look right and got her to the vet. They got the bad news.

That’s when they called The Pongo Fund.

We treated her to a new mouth and a clean bill of health. We loved Mitzi and we helped every chance we could. Every now and then we’d get the call for food, litter, flea meds, vet care. Whenever a little extra help was needed, we’d get the call.

And every time, what an honor it was to help.

We met Mitzi about four years ago. We knew then she wouldn’t live forever. We hoped she would but the numbers don’t lie. And we knew one day we might get the call to say she was gone.

The call.

It only happens sometimes.

When someone wants us to know that the dog or cat we loved like our own, had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Those calls were hard to make. And just as hard to receive. Asking someone to relive those moments all over again. But they did, just so we would know. So we could say goodbye too.

We got the call for Mitzi last month. It was a voice we’d never heard before.

He said you know Mitzi, right? Yes, we said. He said I’ve got some news and wanted to let you know what happened.

We steeled ourselves for what we knew was coming. Because Mitzi was about 17 or 18 now. And we knew how the math works.

He said he’d taken Mitzi for a walk.


A walk?

When did Mitzi go on walks?

He said one day he slipped a harness on her and took her outside just to see how she did. He carried her inside his jacket and just stood in front of the building. She watched everything. So he put her down and she started walking.

Never more than a block or so, just to check on things. Anyway, those walks were a special time for her. Until this last one. There was a dumpster on the corner behind the building and that’s where she wanted to go. How did she know it was there? But that’s where she went. She sat down next to one of the wheels and meowed.

And out popped another cat.

Somehow Mitzi knew that cat was there. We’ll never know how.

That cat followed them home, back into the building. They took him in for a checkup and got a clean bill of health. He had some bumps and oowies, they suspected he’d been under that dumpster for a while. No one knows. But Mitzi did.

It had been a hard month. A few residents were sick so they weren’t able to can and bottle the way they had in the past. Not only could they not help with Mitzi’s food, but they needed help themselves. And now they had this other gentleman to feed. They called him Henry.

Could we help with more food?

Absolutely. Happily. Joyfully.

Food. Litter. Toys, A giant scratching post. And a new leash, collar and harness for Henry too.

For Mitzi. For Henry.

And for the 30 laps they both call home.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon

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They Were Hungry Together

When the end of the month begins in the middle of the month?

When the 28th is now the 15th?

What do you do then?

The answer?

You eat when he doesn’t.

And he eats when you don’t.

Maybe every other night. Those are the good nights. You celebrate each other’s full tummy, even when only one of you has it.

She said when you get older, you eat less. She’s 84. So according to every statistic, she’s older. But she’s still hungry.

“But don’t you dare feel sorry for me because I know a lot of people right here in my building who have less.”

That every other night meal. The one where they celebrate each other’s full bellies.

It’s not her husband. He’s been gone for 20 years.

It’s her cat.

It’s been going on this way for a while. Used to start around the 28th. There were just a few days end of month where they had no money and no food. So whatever they had, they both ate.

A bowl of noodles.

A can of tuna.


They ate what they had.

Ten minutes into the conversation and she had not complained once. And she’d not complained once because of all those other people who have less.

She just learned about The Pongo Fund. She said she was glad to find us now. But I’ll only need you once, I’ll get this figured out, she said.

She lived simply in a low-income, rent subsidized apartment. She said she’d been there for several years and she loved it. She waited a long time to get to this building and now that she was there, she said she never wanted to leave.

Her cat was 15 and she wanted to make sure he had more food. That’s why she called. They were both hungry but she was mostly hungry for him.

She asked if I knew that you could hear a cat’s empty tummy rumbling at night. She said it was an awful sound. She said he never complained. He never tried to take her food. She loved him very much.

His name was Henry.

The call lasted longer than it needed to only because I kept pausing. I would put the phone down and wipe my eyes. On the other hand, this call could have gone for three hours and it still wouldn’t have been long enough.

We got all the info we needed. Henry loved pate most of all but stew was good too. Tuna was his favorite, chicken close behind. She also brushed his teeth so if we had a tiny toothbrush she would appreciate it. I thought about the tiny toothbrushes from my dentist and how happy I would be to send one her way.

We sent her 48 cans of cat food. Henry will eat.

But she will still be hungry.

Say what you will, but no one should go to bed hungry. Especially not at 84.

I called one of The Pongo Fund’s crackerjack volunteers. When I called her she saw my number and she answered, “Emergency Kibble Response Team.”

She always knows.

This woman lived close to her. If I got her 48 cans of cat food could she get them delivered. Of course, she said.

I said there’s one more thing.

She said there always is.

She’s been doing this work with us for a few years now, she knows the drill.

And she repeated to me what I was just going to say.

“Hungry people have hungry pets.”

The Pongo Fund has been saying it and living it since Day One.

And every time I say it, it’s true. Please don’t ever forget it. Because hunger hits everyone around the dinner table.

So our Emergency Kibble Response Team (EKRT) Volunteer already knew that before she delivered Henry’s dinner, she needed to do some shopping for Henry’s Mom’s dinner. And this woman, our volunteer, she lives for those moments.

One time when she delivered food to an older gentleman he mentioned how much he missed his wife’s lasagna. So of course the next day there she was with a giant tray of lasagna all portioned out into small freezer totes so he could do the lasagna dance for many days to come.

Have I ever told you about The Pongo Fund volunteers?

They are AWESOME!

She finished her shopping and delivered the food to Henry’s Mom. Henry’s Mom waiting in the lobby with the community shopping cart to ferry things up to her apartment. She knew she was getting cat food. She didn’t know anything else.

As it was explained to me, Henry’s Mom was blindsided when one bag, two bags, three bags, four bags of groceries wedged into the cart. With two cases of cat food sitting proudly on top. She did not understand what was going on and when she did, she broke out in tears.

Others in the lobby came to check on her. This woman, she was a giant in her building and when others saw her cry they immediately came to see what was wrong.

Except nothing was wrong and everything was right.

A few moments went by until our EKRT Volunteer explained what the groceries were for. They are for you, she said. So now you and Henry can both have dinner tonight.

Henry’s Mom pushed her cart over to a table and began to unpack the bags in the lobby. She was so stunned that she wanted to see each item, to touch each item.

And then she did what hungry 84 year-old women do.

She began to gift her groceries to others who she knew were also hungry.

We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again.

And when it happens you step back and fight your tears that will pour out later. But you never tell the person you just gifted groceries too that they should not regift them to others.

Because a bag of groceries brings joy to more than just the receiver.

Our EKRT Volunteer got a ton of joy from her shopping. And now Henry’s Mom was overcome with joy seeing all the groceries for her. And now everyone in her building found their joy too, as they received a tub of cream cheese or package of frozen raspberries or quart of half and half or small jar of 21 spice herb mix and they walked away with those items as if they were carrying the Crown Jewels.

Four bags of groceries. Many happy people.

Even some of Henry’s food was given away for other hungry cats.

But all that news came to me second. When I say second, I mean it wasn’t the first thing I heard from our EKRT Volunteer.

No, the first thing I heard was something like, “I think we have a problem and I’ll need to go back again.”

A problem?

What happened?

And then I pretty much fell on the floor as the moment was recounted to me.

I’ve been the EKRT Volunteer a few times myself. It is both a joyous and heartbreaking experience. It’s not for everyone but most people who do it once can’t wait to do it again.

Yet every time I hear the stories, it still floors me.

For The Pongo Fund, it’s just how it goes.

Joy. Heartbreak.

Just another day.

For Henry and Henry’s Mom.

Everyone has dinner.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon

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Two Women

Two women came to The Pongo Fund. They walked more than an hour because they had no money for the bus. They needed cat food. But they had no cats.

But there were two women in the building they lived in downtown who did. Both were disabled and facing the reality of everything being more expensive. Especially cat food. Both were older. Both had older cats. So the two who could walk, walked for them. As good neighbors do.

We knew the building well. They used to have a Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank Annex onsite and every month it was restocked by The Pongo Fund. There were more than two dozen hungry animals in that building. The person who managed the building retired. The new person did not think feeding pets was important.

That meant all the pet food that had been there for many years was no more. And that hurt.

So these two women did what they could to help their neighbors. They didn’t know all of them but they were good friends with the two women with cats. One of the women had a backpack. We loaded the food inside. It was heavier than she thought it would be. The two women agreed they would walk more slowly to get back home.

But even with that, they asked if they could come back again and get more food for their other neighbors, many of whom were disabled and could not get to us. We said yes.

They said they would both bring backpacks the next time.

One of our volunteers grimaced at the thought. She drove past downtown on her way home. Could she set up a time to drop more food off for them, and maybe they could reopen the pet food annex from their apartments? They reacted as if they’d just been offered a winning lottery ticket.

They can’t have much food as these are very small SRO’s. But they loved the idea of being of service to others. One of the women asked if she could have an extra label that we put in the pet food bags. We said sure, but why?

She said she was going to tape it to her front door. That way everyone will know where to go so their pets don’t go hungry.

Two women with little money but such big hearts.

Doing what they could to make life a little easier for others.

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” — George Eliot

Before they left we gave them bus passes for the ride home.

Being a helper.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon

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Answer The Phone

Sometimes you just need to answer the phone.

She was young but her words were old. Like old as in older. Like from someone else. She was calling about Henri, her Mom’s cat. I couldn’t let go of how youthful she sounded but the words she spoke were the opposite.

In that moment I did not know she was reading her words before speaking them. When I asked about it she panicked, worried she had done something wrong. She said everything had been going wrong lately and she was just trying to help.

Her Mom died.

And now she was reading the words her Mom had left behind.


Named for Henri Matisse.

Her Mom was a painter. She painted for love not money. She knew that about her Mom. That’s pretty cool.

Her money job was in an office but in her heart she was a painter. Henri was her assistant. And now she was gone and this girl who was far too young to be making this call was doing all she could to be there for Henri.

Her Mom had called The Pongo Fund many months earlier. She wasn’t sure exactly what we did but she wanted to talk about Henri. She was worried about something going on and the fear she could not afford the vet care needed. Things were still ok then and she was just being proactive. We didn’t have enough information to know what was going on but we asked her to stay in touch. And now her daughter was making that call for her.

Apparently her Mom had left some notes about The Pongo Fund and Henri. Mom and daughter had talked about them and now the daughter was making the next call just to keep us updated. They lived states away and there was no assurance we could help but somehow the Mom was touched by our first phone conversation and told her daughter to call us again. She’d even written our contact info in Henri’s journal.

So now this young girl was on the phone reading words that built on previous words about this cat who spent a lot of his time in a makeshift art studio in their home. He loved it there.

In the midst of it all as this special young girl talked about Henri and what he was eating and how his poops looked, I asked her a question she didn’t see coming. I didn’t either.

I asked her how she was doing.

She was a young teen and now without a Mom. She had family and everyone was grieving but it was her that was going to be there for Henri. Keeping him healthy was her way of honoring her Mom.

When she said that I knew exactly what she meant.

Because I’ve been there too.

The Pongo Fund continues to be a tiny group. In the animal welfare world you could fit us on the head of a pin. We are unabashedly small and probably always will be.

But it’s being small that allows us to talk to a young girl about a cat named Henri while we listen to her talk about her Mom who passed away. Henri was her legacy. It’s just that she never knew what that meant because her Mom was far too young to die.

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” – Thomas Campbell


Ends too soon.

For Henri.

And the girl who loves him.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon

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She said his name was Duper but it wasn’t.

She, being about 3 years old. She could not easily say S’s.

His name was Super Duper. But without the S, it was just Duper.

We told her Duper was a very good name.

We were at the homeless camp doing some outreach work. The little girl and her Mom lived there too. The girl’s preschool had a class project to do something nice for someone else. She decided she would buy a can of cat food for a hungry cat.

Three years old. Being a helper.

She knew hungry cats because there were several where they lived. That’s why The Pongo Fund was there. We provided food to the people so they could keep the cats fed. They were people and well loved cats who due to any number of circumstances had lost their homes and were now doing the best they could to get by.

The little girl did not focus on living outdoors. She went to school nearby, she had a mobile shelter to sleep in, she had books and crayons and toys and cats nearby to love.

She looked like pretty much every other 3-year-old girl.

She could not have been any cuter.

I know you can see her clear as day.

And yes, she could have been your daughter too…

I wasn’t sure why she did not use the can of cat food she bought for one of the cats where they lived. Maybe because that would not have completed the circle of giving. Maybe she gave this to me specifically to give to someone else.

How do I know that?

I asked her.

I asked if we should open the can of food right then for the cat only a few feet away. She emphatically said no because the food was for another cat. I looked at her Mom for help.

Mom explained that the food was supposed to leave the camp and be given to someone else, someone they did not know. It was supposed to be an anonymous gift, the kind of gift filled with love but not an expectation of thank you.

That was the project.

To do something nice for someone who will never know it was you who did it. It will just be a complete surprise and they can just enjoy the gift.

What a fantastic class project that was.

So this little munchkin handed me the can of food that I know cost about $4 and that’s a lot of money. And my part in the gift was to carry it forward to give to someone else with a hungry cat. I asked her if there was any particular cat she wanted it to go to. She said yes. I asked who?

She said Duper.

We left behind 48 cans of cat food that day, 25# of dry cat food and a lot of cat litter and some other supplies. A family had just done a canned food drive for us, it was a family that gets together every few months and goes to the store together to buy food for The Pongo Fund to give to others.

It was a beautiful assortment of people food, whole beans, tuna, chili, stews. It was hearty fare for hungry people and we were happy to be able to leave those cans behind along with all the cat food.

Because it’s hungry people who have hungry pets.

But the can of cat food I left with, the one for Duper?

I think that was the most special can of all.

There are thousands of hungry Dupers waiting for cat food from The Pongo Fund. We have a matching donation in place right now meaning every dollar donated will be matched and doubled. And more dollars means lots more food.

If you would like to help us, please click here for our Give Guide Fundraiser or please click here to donate via our web site.

EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR will be doubled for the Dupers.

Checks can be mailed and they will be doubled too.

The Pongo Fund has helped more than 211,000 hungry and hurting animals so far. And we know there’s another 211,000 waiting for help. Please help us so we can help them.

For all the Dupers.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, OR

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She told us she was old and she was angry but we didn’t know which of those things was most important.

She called for help with euthanasia. She said her older dog had tried to bite her several times and she was done with it. She said she didn’t deserve that after all she’d done for him.

Then she said if we couldn’t help she was going to take him to the park and leave him there. The answer to our earlier question about what was more important, her age or her anger, well, let’s just say we got the answer to that one.

When does your dog try to bite you?

When I pet his head.

How long has this been going on?

A few weeks. Maybe longer.

When you pet his head, is it in the same way you’ve pet his head before?

Yes. Well, sort of. Mostly he tries to bite me when I pick the scabs off his face.

She also said he had stopped being happy. He wasn’t eating as much food. He was just moping around. She said he was dying and she knew it was time to let him go but she could not afford the euthanasia. What she said, those are hard words to say.

His name was Cabot. A 14 year-old mix of several other mixes. A little guy. And as we figured out after asking a few more questions, for the last several weeks he had been fighting the intense pain from an infected mouth and a messy abscess.

She was doing what she could do to help. Please remember that. She could have done more but the anger part, that was making everything a lot harder. And in that moment, we had a feeling she also was battling a lot of pain and sadness of her own.

But for now, we needed to focus on Cabot.

She said her vet had sold his clinic and she could not afford the prices the new vet was charging. She was impatient, she wanted this done. We understood. She had finally made the call to ask for help and she did not want to chit-chat about it. She was ready to say goodbye.

But from across the miles, we had a sense this dog was not dying from illness. He was dying from anger. Not his. Hers. And we needed to keep this call going to find a way to help.

Oh yeah, one more thing. They were several states away.

She went to the vet. She told them her version of what was going on but that’s what she wanted to share. She told them to call The Pongo Fund. A little while later they did.

A sweet vet tech told us she was calling about Cabot. She shared what they were told. That The Pongo Fund was going to help pay for the euthanasia. We said not exactly.

We told her we wanted to know more about him. Was he happy? Was he healthy? What did he need?

She let out a big sigh and said she was so happy to hear that. Because he didn’t need to be euthanized. She said he was great. She said he even laughed at her jokes. She said she tells really corny jokes and not every animal appreciates her sense of humor but he did.

She shared what she could. We shared what we could. She said they wanted to treat his issues because he was in good shape otherwise. She suspected his appetite and malaise was most likely from the abscess, the pain, and the infection. His bloodwork came back great.

He just needed some better care than he had been getting.

The woman had a lot more going on than anyone knew. Taking care of Cabot was no longer possible for her. It had been that way for quite a while, likely leading to some of her anger. Because those kind of conversations are really hard.

The CVT said a few more things. But then it seemed like she was kind of beating around the bush. We sensed that she was having a hard time asking about who was going to pay for his care. So we took the next step and asked how much the bill was and what was still needed. We wanted her to know we were there.

And that’s when she got silent.

She said it was nothing.

The bill was zero.

She was beating around the bush because she had fallen in love with this little guy and she wanted to take him home and love him every day for the rest of his life. Because that’s what you do with a dog that laughs at your jokes.

We helped connect the rest of the dots. The woman knew the importance of this opportunity and she made the hardest decision that any of us could make. And Cabot is now happy and healthy and running and playing and spending his days laughing at jokes.

And sometimes he tells some pretty corny jokes too. They are the perfect match.

Did you hear the one about the dog who loves to laugh?

Well, now you have.

For Cabot.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon

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She’s 17 going on forever with the kind of compassion that brings goosebumps. With a soft tone and measured words that let you know she cares deeply.

Her email mentioned her #EagleScoutProject and a pet food drive to help those in need. She asked about bringing pet food to The Pongo Fund and of course we said yes. We work with a lot of #BSA Scouts and we were looking forward to working with Isabella too.

But my oh my, her email did not compare to her visit. For what she did spoke far louder than her words. And in the most gracious way.

With her Mom as co-pilot, they arrived with a trunk bursting with the kind of pet food drive success that told us this was a very serious project. More than 400 pounds overall. But what they brought to The Pongo Fund was only part of it.

Because before coming to us, they also stopped at several local homeless shelters and personally distributed pet food to those who needed it most.

I’ve been in those homeless shelters too. Meeting people where they are is deeply rewarding. But it’s also not easy. Yet Isabella did it with love.

I asked her about it, how it felt to be there, to see things she could not forget. I know of what I speak because I’ve been there too. Many people drop things off. To stay and visit, to become one with those you help, that’s not easy. Yet that’s exactly what Isabella did.

She did not just give out food. She shared compassion with each person and pet she met.

As Jane Goodall said, “We have a choice to use the gift of our lives to make the world a better place.” And championing those words into action, is exactly what Isabella did.

Thank you Isabella and #Troop351, for being the compassionate people that you are. And for making the community a better place.

Please feel free to leave a comment below for Isabella, as our words today will help carry her forward to more good deeds.

Being a helper.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon

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The man is blind in one eye and half blind in the other. But this post isn’t about what he can’t see. It’s about what he can see. And boy oh boy, does he ever see!

It was an 10 minute call to start. But we covered a lot in 10 minutes. His 11 year-old Service Dog had just been at the emergency vet. The growing abscess under her eye was bad. They told him that his friend Tiny needed some help fast.

They told him about The Pongo Fund.

The first minute of the 10 minutes was him telling us he didn’t know what we did, but he was hoping we knew some Angels because he needed a huge favor. And then he talked about Tiny.

Not as a dog. But as his best friend.

He said he had some money saved and could pay part of the bill. It was all he had but he didn’t know how much it would cost and he suspected it would not be enough. He didn’t even know where to go because he didn’t have a regular vet.

He said the emergency vet gave him our number and he made the call. For whatever we could do, he would be more than grateful. He said that we answered the call was a good start.

We thought that he made the call, that was a good start too.

We asked him if he had transportation. He said he did. But it wasn’t what we were hoping for.

A car? No. Not a car.

A friend to drive? No. Not a friend to drive.

The bus and the train. That was his transportation. And his feet.

And best if he didn’t need to go too far. That’s when he told us about his blindness.

For some reason he didn’t lead with that. Probably because he didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him. Instead, he wanted all the attention on Tiny. Because without Tiny, things would not be good.

We gave him the name of a vet and asked him to update us after his exam. To please call us back and let us know what they told him.

He said he would work on a plan to get there.

We never expected it to be so fast.

On the bus and the train. With plenty of steps in between.

The dental got scheduled right away. And that’s when The Pongo Fund stepped in to cover whatever balance was left beyond the money he had.

One of our donors asks us to call her in these moments. So as this man called us, we called her. She said how much do you need? We told her. She said consider it done.

For a tiny group like The Pongo Fund, moments like this are a dream. We are smaller than you realize. We have no marketing or fundraising or PR pros helping us. To have donors ready to help us so we can help others, that is the Blessing of Blessings.

And how grateful we are for our tiny group to be helping a dog named Tiny.

From one tiny to another.

They arrived a few days later for the surgery. Like many people they were there bright and early. But unlike many people, the man did not leave when Tiny went to get prepped.

He could not see well. He had no money. He truly had nowhere to go.

So he sat in the lobby for the next several hours.

He sat there until he got tired.

Guess what happened then?

This compassionate team of veterinary professionals ushered this kind man to their sleeping couch, so he could take a nap. They made sure he had some snacks too.

Bet you never saw that one coming.

Either did he.

A few hours later they both boarded the bus to the train and with many more steps they arrived back home. Exactly where they started many hours earlier.

Tiny is doing fine.

Tiny’s Dad is doing fine.

To each one of you who generously donates to The Pongo Fund, we thank you.

Tiny thanks you.

Tiny’s Dad thanks you too.

And if any of you would ever like to donate to us, please know you can help the next Tiny. Because this month alone we’ve had more than 50 calls for surgery. And we can’t do it without you. All the info is on our website, including the donation link and mailing address. Or you can always call us with questions.

If this calls to you now, here is the donation link:

For Team Tiny.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon

Posted on

The Ricky Taco

Sometimes the hardest work we do is the work we don’t do.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

It’s not supposed to.

The kindest woman called about getting dog food for her 16 year old Chihuahua. She called him Ricky. She also called him Taco.

Ricky Taco.

That’s a cool name.

She shared many stories, but her favorite story was Ricky. She needed wet food desperately. She had no car but could take the bus to us. It would be a couple of hours.

She asked if we knew how expensive dog food was. We said yes. She said she didn’t understand how anyone could afford it. We told her we understood.

She told us all about Ricky Taco’s favorite foods. We knew we’d have a good selection for him.

We set a time to meet.

She never arrived.

We called her back. She answered. We said this is The Pongo Fund, you were going to meet us at 2.

She said who?

We said The Pongo Fund. With dog food for Ricky Taco.

She said who?

A man got on the phone, he asked who was calling. We told him The Pongo Fund. That we were supposed to meet his friend for dog food for Ricky Taco.

He said Ricky Taco had died many years earlier.

His friend was battling some memory issues. Every now and then she had vivid memories of Ricky Taco and she must have been thinking about him when she called us. He apologized for her call. He said she never would have wanted to inconvenience us.

We told him we were not inconvenienced at all.

What we were, was heartbroken. But we didn’t tell him that.

He was such a kind man on the phone. We could tell he was a good friend to Ricky Taco’s Mom.

But all we could think about then was Ricky Taco. For the dog who had crossed the Rainbow Bridge many years earlier. Now we had vivid memories of him too. Of the dog we never met.

We had two dozen cans of wet food ready for Ricky Taco. All his favorites right there, ready to go.

But no Ricky Taco.

One of our Kibble Couriers took the food to a low income apartment building hear her house. She knew there were a lot of dogs there, she’d see them outside all the time.

We could have put the 24 cans back on the shelf for another time.

But there will never be another Ricky Taco.

So in memory of the dog we never knew, a lot of other dogs got to enjoy his favorite dinner.

In loving memory of Ricky Taco.

Because we miss him too.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, Oregon