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10 Years Today

It was ten years ago today, The Pongo Fund opened our doors for the first time, November 9, 2009. What began in the back of a Chevy Trailblazer has blossomed into one of Oregon’s most vital animal welfare groups. And since that day we’ve provided more than 15 million high-quality meals and a whole lot of lifesaving veterinary care, all of it for free, helping 155,000 beloved family pets stay safe at home and out of the shelters. We do it by combining two of the most critical needs in animal welfare, food and medical, and doing work like it’s never been done before.

Food and medical, those are the top two reasons nationally that animals are surrendered to shelters. Flat out, because sometimes people can’t afford to care for the animals they have. Could be any one of us. Could be any number of reasons. But hungry people have hungry pets. And that’s the problem we solve. Ten years later, our award-winning and volunteer driven group continues to provide our services free of charge; consistently and without fail. Keeping animals safe in their homes and out of the shelters, that’s what we do.

Because while adoption is good, not needing to be adopted is even better. And we’re the only group doing it this way.

Thanks to you, during this past year we were a lifesaving resource for more than 100 different social service and other groups, including humane societies, food banks, Veterans resource centers, homeless shelters, senior centers, hospital emergency rooms, domestic violence shelters, school backpack buddy programs and more. In fact, on any given day The Pongo Fund has high-quality pet food in more than 50 different satellite locations throughout Oregon and SW Washington, and our six core programs reach countless people and pets when they need us most.

Thanks to you, The Pongo Fund helps the animals of proud seniors, brave Veterans, the victimized, the marginalized, the unemployed, the disabled, the mentally ill, the hungry, the hurting, the homeless, and good people facing the toughest of times.

That’s what The Pongo Fund does, thanks to programs including our Pet Food Bank, Emergency Kibble Response Team, Mobile Veterinary Hospital, Meals On Wheels, Honored Veterans Program, Emergency Veterinary Care Fund and more

Because sometimes we all can use a little extra help.

We are one group of many groups working to make a difference. But what we do and the way we do it is different than the rest. And we’re proud of that. Because we don’t need another group doing what 10 other groups are already doing. This is a time for risk taking and innovation and running into the challenge, not away from it.

Bottom line is that what we’re doing is working, and the 155,000 animals we’ve helped will be the first to agree.That’s because The Pongo Fund was there for them when they needed us most.

Because each one of you made that possible.

The Pongo Fund is powered by a dedicated volunteer Dream Team, many of whom have been with us since the beginning ten years ago; directors, advisors, veterinarians, kibble packers, community advocates and so many more. Fueled forward by a group of generous and loving donors who keep our shelves stocked. Made proud by millions of kind words that come from each and every one of you. The reality is simple. Without you, there is no us. Because we’re all in this together.

And that’s why I thank you with the biggest thank you possible. Because everything we do, we do together. Helping others like no one else does. Two and four-legged alike. Giving a chance to animals that might not otherwise have a chance and giving hope to people who have little else to be hopeful for.

We are also a solid reminder that you don’t need to be a big group with a big budget to make a big difference. We’re still the same volunteer driven group we were when we started. Small but mighty, and proud of it.

We are proud to do what we do, and we are proud to make the difference we make. But there is still so much more to do, so many more people and pets who need our help.

Which is why we will continue to push forward, working harder and smarter every chance we can, to accomplish things in a way they have never been done before. Because the old school business of animal welfare is no longer the answer.

This past year we came within 72 hours of making our biggest announcement ever. Words that would have echoed near and far for the historic change they would have brought. A few of you knew what was coming. You attended our kibble talks. You listened, we listened. Together we had a dream. And we were that close.

But things beyond our control got in the way. Yet every day since we have worked to perfect that plan, and we continue to push forward to make it happen. Maybe next year will be the year.

I’ve written too much already, and I didn’t even tell you about some of the work we did, about some of the lives we saved, about the people and pets we helped. I didn’t tell you that we won an award, the Shining World Compassion Award, and that brought us a $25,000 prize. It came at a perfect time because our shelves were close to empty after the federal government asked us to step in and help 10,000 furloughed federal workers, including Coast Guard, TSA, Customs and more. I didn’t tell you about the letter we received from the US Department of Homeland Security, telling us the level of support we provided was unprecedented.

It felt good to be of service. You helped make that possible.

I didn’t tell you about the hundreds of calls and letters and emails we received, telling us how many lives we saved. Human lives saved, by saving animal lives. Because for some people, without their pets, they would not be here.

And when a suicide crisis counselor calls to say thank you, then you know you’ve done something special.

But for all I didn’t tell you, I will tell you this. We remain heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend Howard Hedinger. He left us almost nine months ago today, and despite our continuing to drive forward and accomplish at the highest levels, it’s never been the same. Howard left a big hole, and I don’t mind telling you, it still hurts.

It hurts right now because I would have celebrated these words with Howard. I would have shared them with him before I shared them with you. And he would have read these words with tears in his eyes, because he cares that much. Cares as if he’s still here, because for me, he still is.

In honor of 10 years and in memory of Howard, one of our donors has generously presented us with a $10,000 matching gift. Meaning the next $10,000 raised will be TRIPLED.

Now it’s up to you, the very people who do so much for us already. But if you’d like to do a little bit more, to celebrate 10 Pongo years, to celebrate and remember Howard Hedinger, please join us as we work hard to raise the $10,000 to receive the match.

We have three ways to help. Please donate via our Give Guide fundraiser here,, or via our website Or please mail a check to us at The Pongo Fund, PO Box 9000, Portland, OR 97207. As always, please do not hesitate to call or email with any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I’ve rambled through a lot of words here, about 1,500 by the time you get to the end. And what I hope you take away, is that these words are a celebration. Because ten years ago I remember the people who told me we’d never be able to do what I said we would do. They told me we’d never make it. They told me I was a fool. Literally, a fool.

And here we are, 10 years later, with 155,000 animals alive today. All because I was a fool.

I like that.

And it’s all thanks to you.

My name is Larry Chusid, and I am deeply honored to lead this group that is making a difference in ways few thought possible. For the pets, and for the people who love them.

Saving lives since 2009.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

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Next Adventure

These are the moments we dream about. When a community partner steps forward and includes The Pongo Fund in their generosity. As Next Adventure did recently, when they welcomed The Pongo Fund as the beneficiary of their Gear Up Your Pup event.

A few days ago Devin from Next Adventure came to The Pongo Fund to tell us how things went. She came bearing many gifts, including tasty Pongo cupcakes and a lot of gear including socks, headlamps and more. Really nice gear for us to share with those less fortunate.

She also brought a check for $1,000.

For those of you who follow the world of small non-profits, a $1,000 donation is huge. Then she stayed and volunteered for the entire shift, being face-to-face with those we help. She asked questions. She listened to answers. She was fully present the entire time.

At the end of the day we asked her how she felt about dedicating her Sunday to being a helper. She smiled the kind of smile that told two stories, both the joy and the pain. Because she was there for both. Seeing firsthand what their Next Adventure donation will mean, and then seeing those who will benefit.

It was a conflict of emotions, as being a helper often is. But in that conflict of emotions there are also many gifts. Love being the most important. We felt it from Devin. We hope she felt it too.

Thank you Next Adventure, Phido Photography and Ruffwear, for sharing your love with The Pongo Fund and the tens of thousands we help. Your kindness means more than words can ever say.

“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” ― Steve Maraboli.

Being a helper.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

#thepongofund #nextadventure #beingahelper #phidophotography#ruffwear

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Remember Horus, the 12 year-old dog friend who spends his days comforting his cancer stricken Dad during final stage hospice care? Horus, the sweet Golden Retriever who a few weeks ago developed a fast growing eye tumor that makes every day a little bit tougher than it should be. Horus, the dog who despite it all, never once complains.

Several of you stepped forward to help, along with the kind and generous folks at Salty’s Pet SupplyFang Pet & Garden Supply, and Three Paws Neighborhood Pet Supply. And thanks to each of you, surgery is set for next Tuesday. It’s a big surgery; the eye is a delicate place. Yet because of you, Horus has a chance, and that is all any of us can hope for.

In the midst of all she has going on, Horus’s Mom took the time to send a truly beautiful card, a card filled with deeply meaningful words. And right there along with her words, Horus signed his name too.

Moments like these.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

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Federal Shutdown & Hungry Animals

While the photo may not look like much, we could not be more proud of it. Because that’s part of the 2,000 pounds of food The Pongo Fund Emergency Kibble Response Team delivered today, 2,000 pounds of Canidae dog & cat food for furloughed TSA, FAA, and Customs and Border Patrol agents and employees. Nine of those furloughed employees stayed late at the end of their regular work shift and unloaded our truck. A work shift for which they earned no paycheck.

We’ve got so many federal workers reaching out for help that we’ve already provided more than 10,000 pounds of extra food this month. And in case you don’t know it, that’s a huge amount of food. And that 10,000 pounds of food is on top of all of the other help we provide throughout our regular distribution network, which now includes 50 different satellite locations. That’s right. The Pongo Fund has 50 different satellite locations.

Here’s the weird part. Those furloughed federal workers are fully employed. Asking for help is not their way. Yet their employment brings no paycheck. It’s a terribly confusing situation, both financially and emotionally. And they shared that with us, about how most of them don’t even know where to look for help. Plus they don’t have the time, as they are still working full schedules.

And that’s what made today’s delivery extra special. Because they never saw it coming. We pulled up and got to work, 30 minutes later we were gone. And next week we’ll be doing it again, as we’ve got a waiting list of another six federal locations to deliver too.

The thing is, we’re getting crushed by need, and that’s why we need your help. Because this Shutdown is hurting a lot of people. And those people have hungry pets. And all this extra help means our pet food bank is pretty much empty. And that’s why we’re getting crushed. Because so many need us. And that means we need you.

Please, if you can, please donate to help us. Because we flat out can’t do it without you. Please click here to give:

Being a helper.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

#thepongofund #petfoodbank #tsa #faa #federal #shutdown #hunger #dog#cat

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January 1, 2019

My name is Larry Chusid. I am the founder and executive director of The Pongo Fund, Oregon’s Pet Food Bank. Pongo was my dog. I work for the day when no animal goes hungry because their families cannot afford to keep them fed. Thereby preventing the hunger, suffering, abandonment, surrender and loss of the animals they love.

We have donated more than 12 million meals throughout Oregon, Washington and beyond, helping more than 120,000 beloved dogs, cats and horses stay safe at home with their families and out of the shelters. We provide emergency veterinary care and spay-neuter too. And I am honored to do this work.

But in order to love me as a friend or even like me as a person you must understand that animals are the best part of my life. And that my heart is broken time and time again for animals that are not treated with compassion and respect. For those who do not know kind words and gentle hands. For those who are abused, who suffer, who live in fear. For those who recoil at the hand reaching out to pet them for fear it will hurt them.

At my core I believe that every animal deserves good food, clean water, proper shelter, sincere affection, humane care and a safe and stable environment. Not just occasionally, but always. And I believe that Gandhi was right when he said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Today is the first day of 2019. A new beginning. A new chapter filled with all of the things that we can do, that we should do, that we must do, to make life better for the animals. And I invite you to please join me in doing these things.

For all of the animals everywhere, may each one enjoy an abundance of love. To live safely and well. Without fear. Without harm. Without suffering. I wish for them to know the same love and respect from us that we know from them. And every wish that I wish for the animals, I wish for you too.

On an even more personal note, and I mean this from my heart, I am so deeply grateful to you, to all of you, for getting up, for standing up, for fighting against abuse and neglect and cruelty. For fighting the fight that sometimes seems like a lonely one. But in time, it is a fight we will win.

My name is Larry Chusid and I am proud that the animals are my friends. They make my life better. And may they always enjoy Peace, Love and Kibble.

Wishing you a Happy New Year from all of us at The Pongo Fund.

One more thing. We have a newsletter, and while we’ve only sent it twice in 9 years, it’s still a newsletter. It’s not fancy by any means. In fact, it’s primarily run-on sentences lacking proper punctuation. But we would very much like to keep you in the loop as to the good work you help us do, so to read it, please click here

To receive the next one in your inbox, please click here:

And if you don’t like it, it’s only one quick click to unsubscribe.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

(Photo of Larry & Scooby, The Beagle Buddha. Photo Credit: Pauline Zonneveld)

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The $10

A kind gentleman gave us $10. It feels like much more than that. It was the Emergency $10 bill that he’d given his son years ago. His son faced a life of struggle and spent much of his time on the street; Dad always wanted to make sure his son had some money in his pocket for an emergency. They settled on that amount together. His son faced some demons, but these last several years a little dog named Lucy worked her magic and kept him going. Things were still rough, the demons did not leave, but Lucy did her best to keep them at bay. Dad told us that Lucy’s dog food came from The Pongo Fund. He also told us we’d welcomed his son on many occasions when he had no one else to talk to. He said we made a difference. The $10 was in his son’s pocket when he died. Dad now has Lucy and they’re doing great. Dad did everything you can imagine, but sometimes no matter how much you do, it’s still not enough. “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

Sometimes I don’t know how to put into words the work that we do. Sometimes I’m not sure I even understand.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#thepongofund #petfoodbank #freeveterinarycare #portland

#love #dog#cat #homeless #veteran

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Kibbling The World

He said he wanted to pack kibble but not actually pack the kibble. Like, could he manage others while they packed kibble? Something about the call wasn’t right. Then we found out everything was right. He’d raised money for The Pongo Fund but he wanted to do more. He wanted to pack kibble. Except his hands didn’t work the way he needed them to, not for kibble anyway. But he knew others who could. So, would we consider a different kind of kibble pack?

We’ve kibbled senior centers, we’ve kibbled hospitals, we’ve kibbled Autism and Downs, we’ve kibbled domestic violence shelters and we’ve kibbled disabled Veterans. Pretty much, if it can be kibbled, we’ll kibble it.

Remember the elderly man whose wife had recently died, and he wanted to kibble in her honor, except he could not get to us?

So we went to him. Just like we did for this kid. We packed up the Emergency Kibble Response Team, and we went kibbling.

This kid had his own Kibble Crew, we showed them how we kibble, and they took it from there. He has a cat, so they kibbled cat food. This batch happened to be in memory of Maddie Miller, a special friend of The Pongo Fund who crossed the Rainbow Bridge recently.

These kids spent a lot of time laughing. The hardest part was not that his arms were set up differently; it was trying not to spill the kibble with his constant barrage of jokes. This was a super sensitive kid with a heart of gold. Packing kibble was on his bucket list. And he wants to do it again. Count us in.

This was one of those moments we never saw coming. A kid, who for all intents and purposes should not be able to pack kibble, yet rewires the system so he can pack kibble. And the best part, it might be some of the finest kibble ever packed.

Kibbling the World.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#thepongofund #petfoodbank #freeveterinarycare #kibble #portland #love

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More Photos With Santa

Don’t Forget! Come see us tomorrow, Saturday 11am-2pm, for Photos With Santa, hosted by Three Paws Neighborhood Pet Supply, 3147 SW Moody, Portland, 97239. These photos are absolutely out of this world great, the cost just $20. And for that $20 you’ll get a super high-quality digital image, entry into an enormous raffle, and for the first 40 people, a gift bag that will knock your socks off. But that’s not all. Because every penny will be donated to charity to help feed hungry animals. And every $20 means another 200 meals for the hungry animals. Plus we’ll have a Santa Special with $25 Pongo hoodies!

Remember, it’s Saturday December 1st, 11am-2pm, Three Paws Neighborhood Pet Supply, 3147 SW Moody, Portland, 97239. Call with questions, 503-719-5204.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#photoswithsanta #threepaws #thepongofund #saturday #shoplocal

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These Are The Hardest Times

We need your help now please. Because these are the hardest times and tens of thousands are counting on us. It’s cold and wet and the need skyrockets when the weather turns nasty and we’re getting hammered with need. That empty pallet should have thousands of pounds of food on it. And we’ve got 19 more empty ones just like it.

Food is the core of what we do. It works the same way for you and your animals too. We all need it. During the past 8 years we’ve provided 12,000,000 meals, helping keep 120,000 animals safe and well fed during the toughest of times. So far we’ve never run out of food, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we don’t run out now.

We’re very fortunate to work with generous companies who provide us large discounts in our food purchasing. Because the truth is we use far too much to rely solely on a bag here and a bag there and that’s why we purchase a truckload at a time. It also means we can maintain food of the highest quality, each bag fresh and unopened. But right now we need some help to get restocked and carry us through the winter months. Because tens of thousands of people and pets are counting on us.

Your donation to our Food Fund will be TRIPLED. That’s right, it will be tripled. It is our #GivingTuesday promo and we’re doing it ALL WEEK LONG. Please write FOOD FUND in the comments when you donate and we’ll take it from there. Our goal is to raise $20,000 to carry us through the next few months. And if we raise $20,000, we’ll receive $60,000. Will you please help us do that?

Because an empty bowl means an empty stomach. And no animal should ever go hungry.

We have several donation options. Our Give Guide option is a special year-end fundraiser and donations via will also be entered to win a free Pongo Pack with our hoodie, tshirt and knit cap.

Or please donate via our Paypal link using your credit card here You can also set up an easy recurring monthly contribution there too.

And of course we love receiving mail, so please also mail us your check to The Pongo Fund, PO Box 9000, Portland, OR, 97207. Bonus points if you let your dog lick the envelope.

Please help us care for the forgotten, for the hungry, for the left behind, for the abused, the battered and the neglected. Because no animal should go to bed hungry.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#petfoodbank #freeveterinrycare #portlandoregon #dog #cat #horse#hunger #givingtuesday