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Small But Mighty

2013-11-24 13.23.16--Crystal and dog Precious--(FB 3-16-14; 4-1-14; 9-15-14, 12-24-14, 7-28-15, 10-10-16, 12-31-16, 9-10-17)Sometimes it’s hard to tell people what The Pongo Fund does. To explain what The Pongo Fund means. To describe the work we do and why we do it. We’re a small-but-mighty volunteer driven team that has no marketing or public relations staff to tell our story. We’re just the little guy that has developed a new way to save lives by keeping animals safe at home and out of the shelters. But maybe the real challenge is not in speaking the words that tell people what we do. But in reliving the memories that those words bring. Because the stories are many. And sometimes they hurt.

Sometimes those stories hurt so much that they are never told. Instead they remain locked away in the heart of the few that were there. Left unshared because we did all we could do and sometimes it was enough and sometimes it wasn’t.

We help seniors and veterans and the mentally and physically disabled. We help young children whose only reliable friend is their dog. We help victims of disaster, both natural and otherwise. We help single moms, couples, families and far too often we’re called upon to help victims of domestic violence who sometimes have had almost everything beaten out of them save for the love they have for their animals.

We’ve rescued a dog named Dutch unintentionally left locked in a truck when his truck driver dad Francis faced emergency surgery. We’ve provided food to people when their homes have burned down and all they cared about were their pets that survived and now they needed food to feed them.

We’ve rescued a sweet 17 year-old, Gandhi like Beagle named Scooby, set to be euthanized the next day. Thankfully he wasn’t. And he went on to live for many more years, he’s a timeless 150 years-old now.

We’ve bought litters of pups stacked in boxes on freeway ramps, refusing to let them become commodities for the unethical people who held them captive. And for each one, we got them safe and healthy and into loving forever homes. Most recently it was a litter of pibbles who had no idea they were destined for Hell, thankfully we succeeded in preventing that. Adding to the sweet and sour of that moment was when their person, a young, innocent homeless boy, told us the Momma dog’s name was Heaven. Yes, we got her too.

And then we personally introduced him to the help he needed to get off the streets, help he was too ashamed to ask for himself.

We’ve helped a mom keep the secret of homelessness away from her young daughter who was happy to believe they were car camping with their dog.

We’ve amputated diseased and damaged limbs that needed to be set free, and we’ve watched with absolute joy as those animals continued unfazed, happily sporting three on the floor instead of four.

We’ve healed abscesses so serious they had eaten through skin, causing enormous pain and infection for brave animals too stoic to ever let their parents know they were in pain. We’ve pulled failing teeth, repaired diseased gums, removed countless tumors and other masses, and brought an end to more fleas, mites and worms then we can count.

And we were there to comfort a broken-hearted octogenarian when both his elderly wife and elderly cat died within days of one another. He said he wanted to honor them but could not afford to donate money. So we brought bags of kibble to his home and worked with him so he could honor their memories by being part of our kibble packing team. Maybe the most loved kibble we’ve ever packed.

We’ve been there to provide high-quality food for exhausted search and rescue dogs, and our kibble couriers have answered the call many times when help was needed beyond our borders.

And we’ve helped spay and neuter more than 1,000 dogs and cats too.

After a week’s worth of delicate conversations a broke and broken hearted woman allowed us to drive her and her best friend to a loving veterinarian that released her dog from pain and helped him cross the Rainbow Bridge. Without us she would have had to carry her 50 pound dog on the bus. And as she said, she knew she could not do that either physically or emotionally.

And when it was over we introduced her to a grief counselor to help make sure that she too got the help she needed.

Our emergency kibble response team has helped countless strong willed and proud seniors with senior pets who together were living on scraps because they were too proud to ask for help. And each and every time we helped one, we helped all. Because bringing dog food to a disabled military veteran who had no food for himself or his wife didn’t seem right. So we fed them all, two and four-legged alike.

We’ve returned ashes in urns to best friends who have lost best friends. And sometimes we’ve brought the shovel to help dig the hole and say the prayers before another one was laid to rest.

We’ve answered the call late at night when a young boy living on the streets needed help when his dog was sick and he didn’t know where to turn. But he knew we were safe and would not judge.

And we were there to help fight for The Howard 22, a group of 22 starving horses that had done nothing wrong except find themselves without food due to an extra rough winter. And since then we’ve quietly provided hay for dozens of hungry horses who had little more than weeds to eat otherwise.

We’ve rescued boxes of kittens left in parks and we’ve received letters from people asking if we would look after their pets if anything happened to them. We’ve sent food to areas pummeled by hurricanes, fires and landslides. We’ve walked the streets in the middle of the night when we knew there were people and pets out there that needed us.

We’ve hiked into the forest to softly say hello to a group of angry veterans with happy but hungry dogs and cats and reminded them it was still ok to have hope. We’ve fostered pets while their people faced emergencies. We’ve rescued newborn puppies from cardboard boxes being pushed in shopping carts and made sure they found their forever homes.

And we’ve mourned each and every one that we could not help. Each and every one that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

The list of what The Pongo Fund has done during these past 7½ years is likely longer than anyone realizes. But we’ve touched tens of thousands of people and their pets in a way they had never been touched before.

We have given a chance to animals that did not have a chance and given hope to families who had little left to be hopeful for. To our volunteers, our donors, to all of our friends and supporters who offer words of hope and encouragement, we thank you, because everything we do, we do together.

The Pongo Fund is Oregon’s Pet Food Bank and so much more.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#pongofund #oregon #portland #rescue #dog #cat #petfoodbank

#love#hunger #charity #donate

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2017-08-30 15.26.59 -- Lindy DeMoss -- FB 8-30-17I call this The Schmaboopie, that’s the scientific name for the 90 degree deep neck turn when you hit the right spot. Just kidding, I made that word up. But when you hit the right spot, when the eyes close, when the purrs grow louder, oh man, pick whatever word you want. Because when a kitty cat friend gives you the 90 degree turn, JACKPOT!

She can’t get out so we go to her. She fights through adversity to win every day and make sure her kitty cat friends are well cared for. She could give up; no one would criticize her for that. She’s young. She’s disabled. A bulky wheelchair her transportation. But she fights on because those cats depend on her. When the food runs out we get the call.

I admit, being part of our Emergency Kibble Response Team brings a tremendous satisfaction. And that’s why I like to do it too. We Emergency Kibbled six different calls today, I got one of them. You show up with bags of food and you leave feeling better than when you arrived. This guy waited for me, on the porch, greeting me with purrs of appreciation. The truth is, when one of these special four-legged friends offers words of thanks, it makes it even better. We all spend our days doing different things, fighting different fights, battling different battles, even though sometimes the battles are within. We all carry our scars, of course we do. That’s why we must count our blessings, because for some, those scars are harder to carry than for others. So if you had a good day, you are luckier than most.

The driver in the other car drove like crap. 20 people in front of you waiting for coffee, then the last pear scone got grabbed by someone who will never appreciate it as much as you. And your hair, your huge mess of a head morning hair that lasted all day. Right there, there’s plenty to complain about.

She’s in a wheelchair and can’t afford cat food.

The cats are happy, they don’t judge drivers or long coffee lines or morning hair. That’s why we want to be more like them. Their pure love is everything. Seriously, The Pongo Fund is the best job in the world. Even on the days it’s not, it still is. And right here, doing The Schmaboopie with a new friend, that’s the bonus.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you for being here and for letting us do this work. Because we couldn’t do it without you.

The Schmaboopie. And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#pongofund #petfoodbank #love #cats #portland #hunger #purr
Please SHARE this post so that others will also know of our good work.

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Belle and Prince

2017-08-29 13.44.12 -- Belle & Prince 8-30-17There are so many things perfect about this moment. Many reminders too. Hurricane Harvey hits all of us hard, my heart breaks moment after moment, despite the hopeful moments, I still hurt. And that’s why I quickly worked on a plan to get to Houston to help. I had to be there, I absolutely had too. But others said no, they were firm; my job is here, so we found other ways to help in Houston. It still felt wrong, because how do we balance the grace that we are blessed with when so many others suffer? Then Belle called. Already facing many months of homelessness, battling serious medical issues on top of that, yet she’s on the phone because her little buddy, Prince, is out of food. Right now out of food. Some other homeless folks told her about Pongo, so she called. Belle and Prince have a car, and thankfully they were located just a few blocks from one of our downtown distribution locations. So this one would be easy, or so we thought.

Belle asked if they could instead drive to our Pet Food Bank three miles away; it seemed odd, so we asked why? And that’s when reality hit, the reminder of why we never know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. The downtown location had parking meters in front; our Pet Food Bank did not. Belle had gas in her car to get to us, but no money for the meter. And since her car is home for her and Prince, she could not risk a ticket or a tow. That was 2017-08-29 13.53.07 -- Belle & Prince FB 8-30-17the moment my jaw dropped, as I write this, it’s dropping again. We’re talking about such extreme yet simple honesty here; gas in the car but no coins for the meter, I never would have thought about that.

As much as I want to be helping in Houston, when they arrived I knew I was where I needed to be. As Belle struggled to make it up three steps, Prince darted this way and that, pretty much a pinball. What a giant spirit he was, all six pounds of him, maybe seven when wet. He just exploded with enthusiasm and he wasn’t shy about showing it. And that tail, it spun like a propeller. Barking at this, digging at that, settling in on his Mom’s lap for kisses. They left with food and most of all, they left knowing we’ll be here for them again the next time they need us.

The Pongo Fund can’t be everywhere even though we wish we could. I still wish I could help in Houston, but thankfully we were here for Belle and Prince. And for the thousands more who need us when they need us.

And this is why we Pongo.

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun.” ~Kent Nerburn

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
Will you please SHARE this post so that others will also know of our good work?
#pongofund #portland #hunger #love #chihuahua #homeless #dog#petfoodbank

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Answering Her Call

Cat - Senior Woman--Photo credit Barbara Bates --Montgomery County Animal Shelter (FB 1-29-16 story about Beatrice)--FB 8-29-17Three cats and a dog and the woman who guides them. In the midst of tragedy and turmoil we get the calls that bring us back home, to why we Pongo. Because although we help as many as possible from afar, we are still here first to help our neighbors. Nearly 7pm, we answer the phone. The caller, a disabled senior bound to a wheelchair for 15 years, shared that she will run out of cat food tomorrow, and her dog food supply will run out the day after. She needs help, but just until the 3rd, that’s when her SSI check comes, a check that pays her bills so she and her animals can remain in the trailer park home they have known for years. But sometimes the money runs out before the days in the month do, and this is one of those times. Her small food stamp allotment has run out too. She said she will go anywhere for pet food if we can suggest it, her wheelchair will not keep her from feeding her animals. But we will go to her, because that is the right thing to do. As we asked her the questions to complete the paperwork for our Emergency Kibble Response Team, her voice began to break up. That’s when she knew that help would be on the way. She did not expect our help, she said thank you, thank you, thank you; she had no idea we existed until a local government hotline directed her to us just moments before she called. Asking for help is not her way, yet she did, and we answered. It was not what she expected, yet somehow her prayers have been answered.
For Calvin, Blue, Taryn and Oreo, help is on the way.
And this is why we Pongo.
#pongofund #portland #hunger #cat #love
(photo is stock photo and not woman in story)

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Hank Update

2017-08-25 12.38.35 Hank FB 8-27-17GREAT NEWS! Thank you to everyone who stepped up to help Hank. Your kind words, blessings and financial contributions hit the spot and we’re pleased to tell you that Hank is scheduled for surgery in the next few days. This will be a complicated surgery with an equally complicated recovery, but we are incredibly hopeful. Thank you again for being there for Hank, and we invite your continued kind words and blessings for him and for our animal friends everywhere. “Whoever said that the eyes are windows to the soul must have known a Pug.”
Being there for Hank.
And this is why we Pongo.
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#hank #pug #thepongofund #portland #rescue #canineparalysis

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2017-08-27 10.59.23 Myla Pet Food Drive Girl Scout Silver Award -- FB 8-28-17Myla’s 13 and serving community one good deed at a time. She found The Pongo Fund last year when she and her friend Emmy teamed up to Pongo for a school service project. And when she decided to pursue her Girl Scout Silver Award, the Second Highest Award of the Girl Scouts of the USA, she turned to The Pongo Fund again. So for the past several weeks she’s been Pongoing with us, while also orchestrating a pet food drive. Yesterday she brought in the second food delivery, a whole pallet of food, and there’s still more to come. Thank you Myla, for Pongoing for those less fortunate. We are honored to be included in your Silver Award.
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#pongofund #charity #love #hunger #myla #portland #girlscouts#silveraward #rescue

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Pongo Power Pack

2017-08-27 12.36.31 -- Chelsea, Darla, Stefan FB 8-28-17These three, in their vintage lime green Pongo shirts; I love these people. You’re looking at more than 20 years of Pongoing experience between them. They’re part of our Pongo Power Pack, the nucleus that keeps us Pongoing. Chelsea, on the left, she’s been Pongoing since Day One. Darla arrived a few weeks later, and Stefan, just a little bit after that. He was a ride along one day, agreeing to Pongo because his girlfriend, now wife, invited him to help. He’s still here. We’ve been through a lot together, babies and bunnies, dogs and cats and more, we’ve welcomed them home and we’ve helped say goodbye; there have been weddings and funerals, new jobs, new cars, new homes and new dreams. And lots of laughter. But through it all, together we’ve Pongoed.

What’s truly remarkable here, in case you missed it, is that we’ve been at this for just a bit more than seven years. And that’s why having three Pongoers with 20 years of combined experience is such a big deal. Because we’ve got people like this behind us. But it’s not just these three, it’s everyone who Pongos, as our average volunteer tenure is more than five years. And that is remarkable!

I could go on and on about all the folks who wear their Pongo shirts, who get up and give it their all on their Pongo Sundays. What they do is more meaningful than they may even know. Like yesterday, it was another Portland scorcher and our warehouse meant we dripped with sweat the entire time, yet when we finished, we were the better for it. Because we were there, helping those in need when they needed us most.

And this is why we Pongo.
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live. thepongofund,org
#pongofund #portland #dogs #cats #hunger #charity #love

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Hank The Pugnificent

2017-08-16 10.36.34-2 -- Hank -- FB 8-17-17, FB 8-22-17, FB 8-25-17He fell out a window. I’m writing fast, please ignore the typos and fractured grammar but I warn you now; this one’s not going to be easy. He fell out a window last week, his back limbs immediately paralyzed. His people were not there, others nearby heard him crying in pain. The next day he went to a local emergency hospital for some pro-bono care, the injury was severe. For those of you who know spines, and for those of you who know pugs, you understand the recommendation to euthanize Hank. Because Hank’s family faces extreme financial hardship, The Pongo Fund got the call to see if there was anything we could do. And that’s how we came to meet Hank.

He presented in pain, lots of pain, back legs not functioning at all. Due to the extreme injury neither his bladder nor colon functioned properly either. And this is where some of you may want to stop reading. Because he continued to eat and drink, his colon and bladder continued to fill. You know the drill from here and it’s life and death. Thankfully our Angel veterinarians Dr. Melissa and Dr. Robin were there for this Pug Angel and they manually emptied his tanks, and let me tell you, this was not easy and they both wore Hank’s pee and pooh. The pain of his ready-to-burst bladder was significant, thus an injection was administered for comfort. It was then that we got the xray we needed to get. And it 2017-08-16 10.12.24 HDR--Hank-- FB 8-25-17showed a lot of damage. Some of it hereditary, some of it from the recent fall, some of it from any number of things. It was bad but at least we had something to work with.

And while there was little to celebrate save for his beautiful eyes, during our exam Hank fidgeted just the tiniest bit around his toes. While he had no feeling in his hind quarters at all despite some real serious efforts to get him to sense pain, something called loss of deep pain, he still wiggled a couple of toes.

We had Hope.

This guy had been through hell and now he was wrapped tight in the arms of Dr. Melissa and Dr. Robin, doing all they could to help him find comfort. And that’s when the hardest question needed to be asked. Hank’s Dad was there, a man who loved Hank to the moon and back, but in this moment, the reality was that he could not provide the level of advanced care that Hank needed. Few people could. I asked him a question, the hardest question, and in the bravest of moments, Hank’s Dad said yes. He would surrender Hank so we could get him the care he needed. That was no easy decision and Hank’s bravery clearly came from his Dad, because Hank’s Dad is one brave man too.

2017-08-25 12.38.41 Hank -- FB 8-25-17This is not a time to judge, this is a time to count your blessings and know that we needed to move fast.

Moments later I was on the phone to a kind soul named Brian, one of Oregon’s Biggest Pug Lovers, and Brian got the ball rolling. The very next day Hank was being fostered by a vet tech, and that evening he lounged in the warm green grass. Still in pain, legs still not working, but warm green grass. What a difference a day makes. You’ve heard those words before, for Hank they could not ring more true.

But that was just the start.

Hank has continued to fight; this guy is Pug Power to the tenth degree and more. Little tiny movements continued to show and despite all of the cards being stacked against him, he proved he was not a quitter. And that leads us to now, just a few days since we met him, because Hank will be going in for surgery immediately, just days after it seemed like he had no hope. Even his neurosurgeon was stunned by his progress and spirit. In the face of enormous pain and adversity, Hank continues to Hank.

This surgery is way beyond our ability; neurological experts will do this work. And even with discounts in place it will cost more than we have in our emergency veterinary care budget. And that’s where you come in, because your prayers, hopes and donations are desperately needed for Hank the Pugnificent. We have a Pug Lover who has agreed to match $1,000 in contributions, meaning that if we get $1,000, we’ll have $2,000.

And that will be a great help. Please donate here and write Hank in the comments:

Hank’s future is sunny and bright. And that’s why with my utmost respect I plead with you now to please help this guy who didn’t have a chance and now he does. Hank the Pugnificent.

Because when you have Hope, you have everything.

And this is why we Pongo.

Please donate here and write Hank in the comments:

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

(We beg of you to please share this post so that others will know that Hank needs their help)

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We Help When We Can

IMG_9993 Billy (2) FB 8-14-17Gunshot Billy is doing great. Hank continues to be Miracle Hank. Big Hunk, with the baseball sized tumor hanging from his mouth, remember him? And Bugsy, the sweet pibble shot in the head? Someone asked how many pets The Pongo Fund has provided free veterinary care for, and I told them I didn’t know exactly. Remember, we’re a Pet Food Bank. The veterinary care is a new part of our work, we just help when we can. Directing our care in ways that go the distance, fighting the odds for those who need us most. Sometimes we might be the only help left. That’s when we dig in. That’s what brings us joy. And we’ll be doing it again tomorrow, when Dr. Melissa, Dr. Robin and The Pongo Fund team up to head east to provide care to a homeless camp filled with people and the pets they love. Everything we do is because of you, and the love and support you give us. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Being there for those when they need us most.
And this is why we Pongo.
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#Pongo #veterinary #oregon #portland #charity #dog #cat

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The Total Eclipse 2017

meme eclipse ring_of_fire -- FB 8-20-17 EclipseEclipse. Eclipse. Eclipse. Yes, there’s going to be an Eclipse. It’s tomorrow, Monday August 21, exact time depending on where you are. For Oregon, the peak of darkness will hit around 10am. Yes, it will be a rare opportunity to see something special. But please remember that our animals aren’t caught up in the frenzy. Sure, you may want your best four-legged friend next to you staring skyward and that’s cool. But please don’t be frustrated or angry when they don’t share the same intense interest you might have. No, they don’t need glasses. And no, you don’t need to pick them up and point their face at the sun. Just please, let them be, and let them enjoy the moment however they choose. But don’t force them to look, because their eyes can burn just like ours can.

Will you please also keep an extra close watch on them? They don’t have access to the endless barrage of news about what’s going on. All they will know is what they sense and what they see. It will get dark when it is not supposed to get dark. Some animals may be bothered by that, similar to fireworks or thunder. And when that happens animals will oftentimes run. There’s also going to be lots of people out and about, lots of traffic, horns blaring, hooting and hollering. A whole bunch of things that your best friend may not appreciate.

So how about this? If you can, for the love and safety during your own Eclipse viewing, please leave your animal friends safe at home. Or have them with you, leashed with the leash securely in your hand, maybe some treats in your pocket. But absolutely don’t leave them in the car, because Oregon temperatures are going to see daytime highs near 90.

We’re just asking everyone to please exercise caution. Because the downside risk is too great to ignore.

To everyone who will share in this moment, we wish you a Safe & Happy Eclipse.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#eclipse #dogs #cats #animals #eclipsesafety