LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They face cold winters and could go days without eating, but a local non-profit is feeding needy and homeless pets while building relationships with their owners.
Beth Green, the founder of My Dog Eats First, got the idea when she was out to lunch with her son and bought a meal for a homeless man. Despite being hungry himself, she says he first gave the food to his dog. Now for the past two years she’s been feeding needy pets.
On a cold February night at Waterfront Park, a dog named Chico wears a winter coat and wags his tail.
All his needs are taken care of with the help of My Dog Eats First.
“They're the greatest thing for us because they provide us with vet services, which I otherwise wouldn't be able to pay for and they provide us with food,” Alberto Santiago told WDRB News.
Once a week, rain or shine, the organization sets up shop at the yellow parking lot providing free food, kitty litter and other pet necessities to the homeless and under-served. Veterinarians are even on site for the pet's medical needs.
Green says it's simple why she and about 40 other volunteers have been taking care of the pets.
“They provide them with companionship, unconditional love and it gives them purpose. It gives them something to care for and be cared for in return,” Green said.
Once they gain a person's trust through their pet, they can often help them in other areas of their life.
“I'm a pet lover and a people lover,” Green said.
“They've been really nice to me. They even helped me with my apartment,” Santiago said.
My Dog Eats First also partners with an organization called Louisville's Forgotten every Wednesday. Together, they make sure both people and their pets leave with a full stomach.
“They're just having to choose between paying the rent or putting food in their own mouths and keeping their pets with them,” Green said.
Depending on the week 50 to 100 are served. Santiago describes them as a godsend to him and Chico.
“They've been some really good people. For what they've done in my life, it's been one fantastic thing,” Santiago said.
He can't imagine his life without a dog, who has become his family.
“If I wouldn't have him around I'd probably go crazy,” he said.
My Dog Eats First and Louisville's Forgotten are both at Waterfront Park at 6:30 every Wednesday in the yellow lot. If you’d like to make a donation or volunteer with My Dog Eats First you can find more information on their website. More information on The Forgotten Louisville can also be found here.
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