by Stephen Dafoe
An adopted turtle and a financial rough spot have combined to create a new community service in Morinville. Rachelle Wood, an avid animal lover, has opened a Pet Food Bank to assist others who find themselves in a similar spot to what she and her family experienced.
Wood said her turtle Robin, a purebred red-eared slider, was left alone in a tank from the time it hatched and had little socialization. She adopted the pet and began working with the turtle, letting it out of the tank. Now socialized, Wood said the family can hold and pet the turtle.
But caring for the pet became problematic when the family hit a rough patch and couldn’t afford the food for the turtle, which Wood says has discerning tastes.
“We ran into a hard time and couldn’t get her food,” she said. “It killed us because we couldn’t feed one of our animals. That started me thinking if I’m having a hard time, how many other people are having a hard time?”
Wood said she has acquired a business license for the venture and is working on acquiring donation bins that can be set up around town to collect various pet food to assist families in need.
“I’m trying to find the wood for free because we are a non-profit,” she said. “We’re trying to get into the stores. We’re trying to get as much donations as we can. We do have some. It’s not just dogs and cats; it’s all animals. We have birds, cats, dogs, turtles, fish, guinea pigs, bunnies. Not all are mine. A lot of them are fostered because I am an approved home with Infinite WOOFS.”
Wood said the program will run similar to the way regular food banks operate. She is getting assistance from a Pet Food Bank in Spruce Grove on the various paperwork she will need in running her Morinville operation.
“Everything will be inventoried into the computer, and it’s going to end up going per month if needed,” she said. “We’ll need proof of what animals you have, and then we go based on what that size of an animal should eat per day, per week, per month. We will measure everything out, label it all, and hand it out. It is a one time month, just like the Food Bank is every six weeks.”
Wood said until the bins are in local stores, donations are being dropped off at her home in Morinville. From there the donations go to storage areas. Once sufficient stocks are on hand, Wood said they will begin meeting those in need in a local parking lot to pick up their pet food supplies.
Right now donations are slow coming in as the project becomes known in the community.
“I would rather see more coming in but because it’s so new, and I’m using a lot of Facebook and word of mouth to get it out, [donations are slow],” she said. “I’m hoping once the bins are out; there will be more.”
Wood has set up a Pet Food Bank Facebook page. Those wishing to donate can contact Rachelle Wood at 780-860-2895 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.