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Davenport charity serves up meals to pets

May 18, 2009

DAVENPORT - The black and white dog was just as hungry as his homeless owner was when the pair showed-up recently at King's Harvest Ministries in Davenport.

Sadly, the man had nothing to feed his beloved animal. The human got his meal, because King's Harvest serves meals three days a week.

"We were scrambling to find something for the dog," said Terri Gleize, the director of King's Harvest. "We finally found a can of salmon."

At the shelter, she said, they named the dog Lewis, after John Lewis. The owner allowed Gleize to take the dog to the Scott County Humane Society for adoption.

Gleize then decided it was time to do something for peoples' pets, which suffer along with their owners during hard times. She decided to start a pet food bank at King's Harvest.

People eating at King's Harvest always would take any extra meat available to feed their pets, Gleize said. "There are so many people living in their cars with their dogs," she said.

"These animals are all the companionship and love many of these people have," said Colleen Bildner, who helps out at the shelter. "They dont want to give them up."

Gleize checked around and found that some larger cities in the nation have food banks for pets. It was time to get one here.

In the back of the shelter, a storage room now is filled with dog and cat food, compliments of Purina. Other bags of food have been delivered by people simply wanting to help.

"Were trying to prevent any more pets from ending up at the Humane Society," Gleize said. "The Humane Society is full."

Bonita Norton of Davenport understands what Gleize is trying to do. Norton is struggling. After a couple of heart attacks, she is trying to get her disability. But that takes time. So, she has had to make arrangements for her dog, Patches.

In the meantime, Terri's Dog Styling School in Davenport is boarding the dog for free. Norton goes to the shop to help out for the school's kindness and to see her pet.

"Ive had Patches for 10 years," she said. "I rescued her from people who treated her badly.

"She's the most important thing in my life," Norton said. "My dog is very loving and friendly and is very protective of me. She's getting tired of being away from me."

At the Scott County Humane Society, Executive Director Pam Arndt had good news Friday.

"Lewis has a home," she said.

Gleize was right, however. The shelter is crowded with animals. Space is at a premium as construction on the facility on West Central Park continues.

"Landlords are changing criteria for pets, people are moving, many people are leaving houses and moving into apartments," she said. "And the economy isnt helping."

Consequently, the shelter is full.

Arndt said she understands the love people have for their pets. She understands the feelings of many of the people who show up for help at King's Harvest.

"For a lot of those people, that pet is the only family they have," she said.

To get food for pets, participants will be required to show proof of unemployment or low-income status and some form of identification, Gleize said. Also, proof of pet ownership is required.

She said that people will be allowed to pick-up food for their pets once a month from King's Harvest on Wednesday and Friday between noon and 1 p.m., and Saturday from 9-10 a.m.



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