Hey, ready to disagree with somebody on something? Here's an idea that some people are bound to love and others are bound to hate: Food stamps ... for pets. Considering the (unfair) criticism human beings on food stamps get, I'm guessing the very thought of such assistance for animals won't go over well with certain people. (Those damn freeloading pets! Get a job, Whiskers!) But personally, I think it's a fabulous idea, one that has the potential to literally change lives for the better -- human, canine, feline, and so on.
And even the most conservative, anti-hand-out types won't be able to complain when they find out where the money is coming from. (Hint: NOT the government.)
Based in New York, the Pet Food Stamps program is donation-based and open to anyone in the United States who meets need and income qualifications. Once accepted, enrollees receive pet food each month from Pet Food Direct for six months; in the past 2 weeks, over 45,000 pets have signed up.
What a relief this must be for those families! Times are tough and for so many, it's hard enough just keeping the humans sitting at the table fed, let alone the hungry dog waiting underneath the table, hoping somebody slips him some chicken on the sly. But the thought of abandoning or even giving away a beloved pet because you can't afford to buy food is just heartbreaking.
Look, I get it if some people are rolling their eyes right now. I wasn't allowed to have animals (not counting goldfish, which I don't) growing up, so it wasn't until the fairly recent arrival of our Pit Bull/Eskimo mix that I truly developed an understanding of what it means to be a pet owner. And honestly, I was surprised to discover that in some ways, it's not all that different from being a parent. Maybe that should've been obvious -- everybody knows puppies poop all over the place and whimper and chew on everything and need shots and stuff -- but, as with parenting, I just wasn't prepared for how much I would love this little thing. (I especially wasn't prepared for how much she would love me!) Maybe, before I had this experience for myself, I wouldn't have understood the need for Pet Food Stamps either.
But there IS a need!
What do you think about the idea of food stamps for pets?
Image via Timothy Joel Wright/Flickr