LIVINGSTON — It’s a donation to a Park County animal shelter that goes a long way to help other shelters across the entire state.
And the staff at Stafford Animal Shelter in Livingston says it’s just the first of more to come.
When it comes to rural areas in the state of Montana, there are many and also in Montana, many people have pets.
With a donation of this size, you can see just how much of a difference one donation can make.
“Twenty-five pallets of food stacked six feet high so just thousands of pounds of food,” says Steve Leach, executive director of Stafford Animal Shelter.
It’s a fact that the folks at Stafford Animal Shelter in Livingston know well.
Whether your pet has fur like Lando, one of several pooches looking for a forever home, or quills like Cody Boyer’s Gus the hedgehog, they need food.
It’s a need that Leach has seen personally and everywhere.
“I hit every food bank in Central and Eastern Montana and they never had pet food before,” Leach says. “When I got up to Browning a month ago, they were waiting. People were waiting for me to show up.”
That’s where this donation, including thousands of pounds of pet food and supplies, comes in.
“The Organization of Greater Good provided this food for us,” Leach says. “They chose us back last November as the representative that would distribute food to Central and Eastern Montana.”
It’s a mountain of goods that was a part of a national effort, with Greater Good Charities and Chewy directing resources to pets in highly impacted or rural regions.
Pallet after pallet filled the shelter’s parking lot on Friday, May 21.
“It’s unprecedented because Greater Good chose us,” Leach says.
Word spread fast.
That pallet ‘mountain’ was almost completely gone in less than 24 hours.
“It was a frenzy,” Leach says.
“It alleviates such pressure on us to try to help everyone in our community and around our state and we pattern with so many rescue organizations on Indian reservations and smaller organizations that can’t always afford to buy food,” says Alicia Davis, Stafford Animal Shelter’s director of operations and outreach.
When MTN’s Cody Boyer arrived with little Gustopher the hedgehog in tow, the shelter’s rescue partner, Help Every Pet of Hardin, was picking up some of the load.
They joined them to help, loading up food and supplies for the pets of the Hardin reservation that does not have a shelter of their own.
Leach says 67 percent of Montanans have pets, many of them living in places that are far from pet stores and others without the means to buy enough regularly.
Every little bit helps—so this much?
Leach says it goes the extra mile and it shows.
“The proof is in the pudding,” Leach says. “It’s a really good resource for us.”
Leach adds this isn’t the last shipment like this.
They are expecting a third one, and when it comes—which they don’t yet know when—they’ll make sure that everybody in the area knows so that they, too, can partake in some free pet food and supplies.