Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Food for thought

When I got a letter in from a worker at a housing project telling me a very sad story, I thought I was going to be able to help. It didn't sound that difficult...
The letter told me about Caroline, a lady who had fled terrible domestic violence with just her clothes and her beloved dog - a Tibetan Terrier.
She had been very depressed as she'd been living a nightmare, but now she was very depressed and homeless.
Caroline spent some considerable time on the streets - but the worker in the housing project said everyone had been amazed by how well Caroline had cared for her dog and how much the dog meant to her. So much so that the project had decided to change their policy and allow Caroline to have a place with her dog - a test case to maybe make the halfway house available to other homeless dog owners.
There was only one problem. To stay in the project Caroline has to pay a chunky service charge (elec/gas etc) and she's only getting £59 a week income support. It leaves precious little for food for Caroline never mind her dog.
The very sympathetic project worker asked, "Is there any way we can help Caroline get her dog fed while she's getting back on her feet and hopefully getting a job?"
I'd have thought it was easy, that it would just take one call - call me naive! How much can it cost to feed a Tibetan Terrier?
But so far, my begging to one or two of the smaller pet food companies have returned a big fat zero response. They think I'm asking them to advertise!!!
Anyone got any contacts in pet food companies who would like some really lovely publicity in exchange for a little bit of food?
Any other ideas?
My back up idea is just to buy the food myself and send it to her - now I've told the care worker I'd sort it out, I feel obliged. (I got the letter as I'm Chairman of Tailwaggers - but in reality I've probably got more money than they do - the poor old charity is strapped for cash.)
It could take Caroline 18 months before she's ready to leave the project, she's getting counselling and lots of help - and apparently if times are hard the dog eats and Caroline doesn't. You just know those two mean the world to one another and when her life's back on track everything will be fine.
Wonder who reads this blog? Any kindly pet food moguls by any chance?

8 comments:

Beanz the dog said...

If everyone who read this sent a fiver, I'm sure we could feed this dog for a long time. Probably could start up a whole new charity if one doesn't exist already.

If a reader wanted to send money or food, how would they go about it?

Beverley Cuddy said...

Hi Beanz

What a lovely idea, just had an email from someone else saying how do we send food.

The power of the blog is mighty and already tonight I've had a very exciting email from a pet food manufacturer (more details as soon as its confirmed!) and also someone else forwarding a link to another food manufacturer.

It's looking much, much, more hopeful.

But in answer to Beanz question - Tailwaggers is the charity that needs your fivers. See http://www.tailwaggersclubtrust.com/

It's desperate for dosh. If you can organise a sponsored walk please say! All the existing big charities have rules and regs and cases like Caroline just fall through the cracks. Tailwaggers is so poor because it listens to every case and helps when no one else will. It regularly pays out £15k (to pet owners in crisis) more than it gets in every year! Since I became Chairman I have tried to turn it around because when it runs out of money where will people turn with these difficult requests that no one hears about otherwise?

Every time I get a difficult one that costs more than we at Tailwaggers can give I try to pass the word around rather than just say no.

If you read Dogs Today you'll know that the readers funded an expensive op on a Shih Tzu because the owner was waiting for a life-saving transplant and had already used up all her savings - the family were delighted. Turned down by everyone until then, but her relatives say saving the dog saved her life as the dog meant everything to her and she was so depressed not to pay for the op herself.

Must go - kids need to be put to bed. But going to bed feeling my faith in human nature has been well and truly restored!

Cheers
Beverley

Anonymous said...

hi beverley

i still have a big box of supa dog food if you need it.

lisa

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

It sounds like you may have it sorted, but if not, why not approach some retailers rather than manufacturers? A smaller petshop local to the housing project may place more value on the publicity than a large manufacturer. Just an idea...

Em said...

I hope everything works out OK for Caroline - but in the meantime, if we wanted to make a small personal donation, how would we go about it? The dog biscuit manufacturer I use deliver to the door, I would happily pay for them to drop off a big bag of terrier biscuits...

Em said...

Just spotted your reply Beverley - if we gave to Tailwaggers, would it be guaranteed to help Caroline?

Beverley Cuddy said...

Hi Em
The pet food company that have offered looks wonderful, but they just want to make a couple of checks to satisfy themselves it's all legit.
If you donated to Tailwaggers it definitely wouldn't go to Caroline as she wasn't asking for money - just food.
Tailwaggers does however help hundreds of other people in crisis and is desperate for dosh as the demand vastly exceeds the incomings. Lots of older people and people on the breadline that don't quite meet other charities' rigid critera. Many charities won't even consider help with on-going problems, their definition of 'emergency' care is pathetically narrow.
There is a more specific charity that deals with dogs involved in domestic violence but I believe they didn't offer to help in Caroline's case, I think they may be more likely to offer fostering which would be abhorrent to Caroline as her dog Harry is family.
Cheers and can't wait to tell everyone the good news, Caroline's dog is very, very lucky! If this comes off the little Tibetan Terrier will be being fed probably the poshest food money could buy!
Cheers
Beverley

Chapstaff said...

As has already been said, if everyone who read this blog, & could afford a fiver sent it to Tailwaggers it could make a lot of difference. Come on - dig deep.

I've just made a donation. I didn't realise just what Tailwaggers did.

Just a thought... I've had to print out the page & write a cheque, which isn't a problem, but we are notoriously lazy & having the option to simply click on "Paypal" is so much easier. Having the choice would be great.

Speaking personally, I regularly use Paypal when something tugs at the old heartstrings, but am far less likely to write a cheque & post it off.

What a shame Tailwaggers, & others like them don't get regular govt funding. Enough govt money (our money) is wasted on other things.