Many people love dogs and cats and have them for pets at home, but properly caring for and feeding an animal takes resources and information.
A nonprofit organization has been holding a periodic dog and cat food pantry in Mount Kisco to help ease the financial burden a bit by providing some assistance for those that need help feeding their pet.
This Sunday, Humane Nation will be holding its next monthly mobile pet food pantry at the American Legion Hall parking lot from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It returns to the site the second Sunday of every month.
One Saturday morning every other month, the pantry also operates in the Boys & Girls Club’s parking lot on East Main Street, said Humane Nation’s founder Doriane Lucia DiFlora, To make it as easy as possible for the public to remember the date, it coincides with the Boys & Girls Club food pantry for people, which is scheduled to operate next on Mar. 21.
DiFlora said in addition to dog and cat food, there is rabbit food, cat litter, educational materials on pet care and a limited number of accessories such as leashes, flea and tick medication and dog coats that are sometimes available as well.
DiFlora said her organization, which she started in 2002, doesn’t only give away food but looks to help the public understand the responsibilities of pet ownership.
“My primary goal for my organization is education,” DiFlora said. “I’ve worked in a shelter and I’ve done rescue and I’ve come to learn that we can rescue all day long for another 50 years but until we start educating people about spay/neuter and how to properly care for your dog, nothing is going to change.”
When the pantry is open, the food is free to the public at large. DiFlora said she has a mentor in Florida who operates a large-scale pantry who discouraged trying to check up on whether people must demonstrate a financial need.
The overwhelming number of people who use the pantry need the help, she said, including seniors on fixed incomes who are alone and need the companionship that their pet provides, DiFlora said.
“A lot of times, the seniors, the only thing they have left in their life is their pet and they’ve been known to go to the human food pantry,” she said.
DiFlora, a local resident, said Humane Nation receives donations of food as well as money donations, which she uses to buy the food.
Her organization’s website also outlines many other topics, including bite-prevention programs, how to properly care for your pets and information about fundraisers for animal shelters.
DiFlora said common-sense care such as refraining from leaving your dog outside around the clock sometimes eludes pet owners.
If donations increase, DiFlora said she can help promote assistance for the organization’s spay/neuter and vet bill assistance programs.
“I want to see less dogs and cats entering shelters, and whenever possible, staying with their loving owners,” she said.
When the mobile pet food pantry operates at the Boys & Girls Club, it runs from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. After Mar. 21, the next scheduled date there is Saturday, May 30.
For more information on the pantry and Humane Nation, visit www.humanenation.net.