Let Them Eat Kibble for Reverend Harris
Organized by: Meredith Owen
While standing outside of a coffee shop in the city of Waco my friends and I encountered a homeless man. Typical for a city, yes I know. Please though, don't stop reading. But if you absolutely just want to get to the point skip to the end; although, I caution you that sometimes the journey is as wonderful as the destination.
This man was pushing a shopping cart with some blankets in it and I spotted him as soon as he turned the corner. With shame, I admit that I instinctively adjusted my cross body purse and surveyed my friends for potential points of concern. As he walked by the group of people standing outside, he said, "Do any of you have some pocket change to spare so I could feed my dog?" To which every single person replied with some variation of no, I'm sorry, I don't have any cash on me (I will interject here to say that I saw most of them pay for things and I assure you almost every one had cash). The man continued slowly saying things like "It's alright, thank you. God bless you all. Lord be with you. Thank you for considering helping. Please, keep me in your prayers" as he was rejected by person after person. I stole a glance into his shopping cart -which was significantly tidy and bare- housing only two cheap plush toys, a dog bowl, two blankets, a jacket, a small ice chest like pack tied on back of the cart and a beautiful dog amid the blankets. As he passed the last person he looked down at his dog with concern and despair. It was as though my wallet suddenly weighed ten pounds; without thinking, I dredged out the lose change in my purse and jogged through the crowd of people. I stopped him and said "here, I have some change. It's not much but please take it and feed your dog" he became just slightly teary eyed. One of my friends had followed after me and given some change as well. The dog poked her head up at the sudden disturbance so I walked over slowly and let her smell my hand before petting her. She was sweet and docile and clearly a pit bull mix of some sort. She was clearly somewhat emaciated and looked like she was possibly hurt too. He had already started talking to us and what I heard was this: the dog before us was indeed a pit bull mix, she had been abandoned and injured by a car when he adopted her -which was recently- and he reported with a hint of pride that she was doing better. He said that he was a Katrina survivor but that no one else in his family made it. He said that his dog was like family, that he would go hungry to feed her and she eats so much. That he tries to help any homeless animals because they didn't choose their situation. He said that through his struggles he found God. As a matter of fact he was a regular at a church in Waco geared towards low income/no income individuals and families, he had even given his testimony a few times during past services. He thanked us endlessly and said he wanted to keep us and our families in his prayers. He sent us off with continual gratitude and more blessings. As we walked off my friend said that she realized he was Reverend Harris from church under the bridge and it dawned on me that this was exactly why he looked so familiar. Long story short we decided that we wanted to do something. It was very evident by the care Reverend Harris showed to his dog (from cleaning, to the blankets she was wrapped in, to the fact that the majority of this kind man's cart was full of dog or dog items) that she truly was beyond important to him and I have no doubt that he has skipped many meals to provide for her.
"But Mer, if he loves this dog so much why wouldn't he take it to an adoption place so it could find a home that could care for it?" And to this I say, that some shelters won't take pit bulls. Many people won't take them. Many just won't even get the chance because of their breed. Plus most people who decide they don't want or can't afford their dog simply abandon it. "Okay so what do you want from me?" I want you to help me feed the dogs. "Seriously? What is that going to do?" Well, athletes and braininess function best when they're well rested, well nourished and not in situations that cause excessive stress. That being said, wouldn't it be easiest to search for a job, feed oneself and as a general get back on one's feet if it isn't necessary to sacrifice one's own health to take care of a creature that is akin to family. Personally, I know I would sacrifice meals and warm blankets and endless other things for my little family member (she's a miniature schnauzer by the way), especially if she was all I had. Plus, for those considering dumping dogs -worsening the stray problem- it offers an alternative. "But if you can't take care of a dog don't get one." Well yes, but they aren't "getting" these dogs. They're taking homeless creatures that were put in horrible situations completely out of their control and showing them the love they deserve. If anything not only are they being awesome people but they're also helping the stray dog population. Not to mention the near endless benefits offered to humans by canine companionship. Plus, what about extremely low income families who have fallen on tough times? We would love to help them too. "But if we give people money we're just possibly enabling them." Yes friend, I know. It is one of the reasons I donate money to charities and not the individuals specifically in need. I'm not giving cash to anyone. Just keep reading.
So here's the objective. I would like to raise money to purchase dog food to take to individuals, food pantries, churches and etc. in order to feed the homeless dogs taken care of by the homeless human population. These dogs can provide health (physical and psychological) benefits, motivation, and especially companionship for those missing their human loved ones. Meanwhile also aiding in the removal of stray dogs from the homeless situation. By donating here you are helping both animals and people without having to worry about "oh my, am I enabling anyone" because I will act as the money middle man and simply provide these beautiful souls and their little angels with the dog food itself. "Animal shelters..?" Waco animal shelters are very overcrowded and again, this has amazing potential to benefit everyone. There is also a significant number of shelters that use euthanasia simply because of the incredible number or stray animals. "But why not go to the source and feed the homeless themselves? Why pay attention to dogs instead of the people?" So many BRILLIANT organizations already do that and simply because by helping the dogs we are helping the people. And lastly I ask you, Why not save two birds with one stone?