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Let’s begin the New Year with an extra moment of gratitude. This moment, right now. Because we all deserve to celebrate good things together. Not just today. But everyday. Particularly with so much bad in the world. So much strife and conflict and pain and suffering. We all face it. We all feel it.

The Pongo Fund is dearly blessed to have many kind and generous friends. Each one cares deeply about the animals and the work that we do. But they have one other thing in common. They do not seek accolades. They do not want to be feted on Facebook or in newsletters. It’s just not their way. They give from the heart, with heart. A kind of generosity that is felt both inside and out. For them. For us. They give for good. Without expectation or demand.

Sometimes we forget the good, it’s easy to do. To forget that another day is a blessing. And that’s why we invite you now to please join us in celebrating this day. Because this day is a Blessing. For you, for us, for the animals.

And there is also no better time than this moment to offer some extra heartfelt gratitude to our dear friend Howard Hedinger. He’s the ageless and handsome man in the photo. And no, he didn’t ask for his photo to appear. He has no idea. But we’ll make sure he sees it and the comments. He will be thankful for the kind words.

We’ve talked about him before but the truth is there’s just no shortage of good things to say about him. He’s been part of The Pongo Fund since the beginning. And he’s still right there with us now. And as he’s done for the last several years, he’s once again brightened our New Year by doing something extra special for us. And for the people and the pets that count on us.

He feels the joy and the love of others deep inside his own heart. Empathy could easily be his middle name. And when he does something to bring joy and love to someone who desperately needs to feel it, he feels it even more himself. He’s part of it. He’s connected to it. He delivers it.

Sometimes in words. Sometimes with a smile. Sometimes hidden with an anonymous gift to help those unsuspecting. You may never see him coming. But you will surely feel his love. And the end result is always the same. There is more Love. There is more Joy. There is more Grace. There is more Kindness. There is more Gratitude. There are more Blessings. All because of this man.

Howard is the sprinkles on the cupcake. He’s the confetti. He’s the rainbow. He’s an extra-special good guy! If only there were more Howard’s in the world. If only.

With gratitude to Howard. And to each and every one of you too. Because everything that we do, we do together.

Thank you Howard, you are loved.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#howard #love #charity #philanthropist #portland #oregon #animals #pongo

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A New Year

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 dog or cat 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 ten million meals throughout Oregon, Washington and beyond, helping more than 100,000 beloved animals stay safe at home with their families and out of the shelters. We provide emergency veterinary care and spay-neuter too. 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 January 4th, 2018. It’s a New Year. 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 life. 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 I know 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 new newsletter. It’s neither fancy nor overly edited nor filled with standard prose. Nor will it arrive too often. But we would very much like to keep you in the know as to the good work you help us do, to share highlights, emergencies and celebrations, to keep you updated with the things that we hope will matter to you. And I’d be honored if you click here to subscribe:

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

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

(Photo of Larry & Scooby, Photo Credit: Pauline Zonneveld, Pauline Photography)

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Because, Just Because

So many times this past week The Pongo Fund’s Emergency Kibble Response Team was on the road to get help to those who needed it most. Everyone struggles, no one is immune. Bend, Bandon, Medford and Ashland, Tillamook, Garibaldi, Wheeler and Astoria, Eugene, Prineville, Burns and more. We even Pongo’d just outside Boston, MA and somewhere near Helena, MT, and right in the heart of Seattle. Twice. The hardest trip came close to home, in a quiet trailer park in Clackamas. This family was hurting on every level, a shutoff notice for power, phone minutes down to the last few, cupboards bare. Two feisty seniors who have lived hard times before, so in looking around at all they did not have, they simply shrugged it off and said better times are coming. But they aren’t. Not for these two.

Two stubborn and dedicated folks with a still mischievous sense of humor that feeds their need for laughter. In the middle of it all are three cats and a scruffy dog, all of them older than numbers. All of them happy and loved and never far from a place to snuggle. They asked for cat food, then they said some dog food would be great too.

What about them? “Oh, we could probably afford to lose a few pounds? When was your last meal? One had to turn to ask the other. That’s not the answer we’re looking for. We were at their door before the sun went down, these two were waiting for us, watching out the window. They expected dog and cat food. Let’s just say we exceeded their expectations.

They live a hard life, they have aches and pains like you and I may never know. Yet they complain not. Watching their animals run around, here to there, from one lap to the other, that is the love that feeds their soul. When we left there were well stocked cupboards, because sometimes feeding the soul is just not enough. The stomach needs to be fed too.

And in the middle of it all, a simple white envelope with the money to pay their power bill for this month, and the next one too. Because, just because.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

If you like what we do and want to donate, please click here:

#pongofund #petfoodbank #hunger #love #portlandoregon

(Photo is stock image because taking photos at a time like this was just not the right thing to do. But this dog is a real close match)

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Christmas 2017

CHRISTMAS 2017: On Christmas morning, and everyday, we wish…

For every hungry animal searching in gutters for breakfast,
to find a filled food bowl.

For every neglected animal chained in a frozen yard,
to find a soft, warm bed with a person snoring gently nearby.

For every lonely shelter animal waiting,
to find a forever home and family.

For every puppy or kitten given as a Christmas gift,
to find a loving human who won’t abandon you.

For every big-hearted but ailing pet,
to find a loving family to help heal you.

For every frightened and lost pet,
to find a safe and well marked path to lead you home.

For every old and tired friend,
to find a warm fire and soft bed to ease your aches and pains.

And for every beloved animal at the Rainbow Bridge,
to find the comfort of knowing you will be loved forever.

—-Author unknown

Wishing you the Happiest of Holidays, with Peace, Love and Joy forever, for people and their pets, from all of us at The Pongo Fund

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

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Secret Santa

Katie grapples with a condition that has a common name but we won’t mention it here because it’s not who she is. It’s simply part of her, like thick hair and long eyelashes and fingers that still remember playing the piano. She asked for dog food and treats for the dog she doesn’t have. What she asked for is not the typical way we do things. But sometimes, the typical way we do things can change. Like for Katie.

She has no money, just a little bit of disability income. Her family is mostly scattered, so she greets everyone as family. Her smile is big and broad and invites others in without hesitation. Some things may not function for her as they once did, but again, that smile, it’s pretty much the most perfect smile ever. Her mind is sharp, her wit even sharper.

One of her caregivers has a dog, an older dog. The dog struggles with some issues like Katie struggles with some issues. This caregiver is one of Katie’s favorites. Despite the hardships each of them face, their conversations always focus on the positive because Katie says why bother focusing on the stuff that sucks? This dog is a constant part of their conversation, something they both enjoy. Katie had dogs growing up, but she cannot have a dog now. So she lives her love of dogs through her caregiver’s dog.

Because of something she heard, she knew that things were extra tight and that this woman who was always there for her needed some extra help. But asking for help was not her way. So Katie made the call for her. She laughed her way through most of the call; she said she laughs more when she’s nervous. But her message came through loud and clear. How can she help this dog who she loves? And can Pongo help her do it?

Katie had an address for this woman she adores and asked if we could deliver the items to her as a surprise? And could we include a card? Something that felt like Christmas? And that maybe had a dog? And could we sign the card from Secret Santa?

Yes Katie, we can do that.

And we did.

And maybe, just maybe, Katie found out she had a Secret Santa too.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
#thepongofund #love #portland #oregon #helping #dogs #katie

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Welcome, PONGO ONE

Please say hello to PONGO ONE, a 12,000 pound lifesaving machine. A powerhouse of veterinary medicine bringing vital care to the doorsteps of those less fortunate. And all of that great care will be provided for free. PONGO ONE, purchased with love, as a gift for Oregon and SW Washington.

The Pongo Fund, Oregon and SW Washington’s emergency pet food bank, which has helped keep 100,000 animals safe at home and out of the shelters by providing 10,000,000 high quality meals to pets in need, launches the groundbreaking PONGO ONE, a powerhouse of veterinary medicine, bringing critical veterinary care and other services to underserved and underprivileged families and pets throughout Oregon and SW Washington. PONGO ONE will provide advanced veterinary services from our 12,000 pound, 23-foot mobile hospital, featuring two surgical rooms, a comprehensive laboratory, digital x-ray and more. PONGO ONE will provide a wide range of vital care, including exams, labwork, xrays, vaccinations, medications, dentals, spay and neuter, life-saving surgeries and other services, all at no-cost to qualified pet owners in need, including the homeless, seniors, veterans, victims of domestic violence, residents of low income housing and more.

The Pongo Fund is a volunteer-driven, 501(c)3 non-profit public charity and we receive no government funding. Your donations keep us going, and we thank you for that. PONGO ONE is an example of the great work you help us do.

PONGO ONE. A mobile veterinary hospital like no other. Helping those in need like never before.

And this is why we Pongo.

PLEASE SHARE this news so that others will also know of our great work.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

#pongofund #pongoone #oregon #portland #veterinary #dogs #cats #charity#love

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A sweet older pibble friend, walking alongside her Dad, as he pushed a shopping cart. They walked together, in unison. They stopped just a few feet away, a couple of questions later we learned they were temporary visitors to our fair city, and they were both hungry. Just one sandwich shared between them for the entire day. So we took it from there and a little bit later their food needs were well covered for days to come. These are the moments of serendipity, and a reminder that it is hungry people who have hungry pets. We got a handshake of thanks and some really sloppy pibble kisses, so it was definitely a good trade. Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.
(For privacy, photo of dog is stock photo)

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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.

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This just happened. A baby, a mom, restraining orders and an older German Sheppie who needs somewhere safe to land. Baby and Mom have a temporary place to go, their friend cannot join them. The call comes to The Pongo Fund. Can we help? Can we find a safe place for this sweet older girl, where she will be loved and cared for until she can get back home? These weren’t the calls we expected when we began this wonderful mission just 7 ½ years ago. But we do our best.

Our first call went to Jamie at Sniff Dog Hotel. We’ve talked about Jamie before, she and her Sniff Team work miracles on a daily basis. But here’s the thing about Jamie. She doesn’t ask who’s going to pay or how long we’ll need. No, what Jamie says is “We need to find her the best suite we have.” Not a kennel. Not a room. No, this senior girl will get the best suite in the hotel. Bath, brushing, massage, nail trim, she’ll get it all.

And that means just hours after the first call came in, we already have things ready to go. Pillows will be fluffed, blankets will be warmed, the bed will be just right. All so a sweet older German Shepherd will be safe.

Thank you Sniff Dog Hotel.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

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3 = 1 = 3 = LOVE

She had three Cats that were one or one Cat that was three. Each one had a different name depending on the moment. And each one was introduced and reintroduced as many times as necessary. Confused? Maybe. But it really didn’t matter because at the end of the day the most important thing was that every Cat was loved. Alzheimer’s was the demon, but for this woman and for her Cat(s), it didn’t matter. Alzheimer’s wasn’t who she was; who she was was a kind and wonderful soul who loved Cat(s). At least that’s how she looked at it. And who were we to think differently?

She was part of that generation that was proud, always was and always will be. Alzheimer’s couldn’t snatch that away. But every now and then they needed a smidgen of help, so the call came to The Pongo Fund and we happily delivered food, litter and lots of purrs. The caregiver knew what was going on, even better, we’re pretty sure the Cat(s) knew what was going on too, but why mess with a good thing?

Being there for One Cat or Three, whenever we can.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

(For privacy, photo is stock image and NOT the woman mentioned)