When Jamie Angove lost her dog, Punkers, to bladder cancer in May, she’d been searching for another furry friend. A rescue dog was her only option, so when one appeared on the Animal Rescue League’s site, she knew he was the one. The Shiba breed, a popular dog in Japan, usually adopt out quickly. However, there was one problem — the derecho.
Her home in Des Moines was hit hard by the derecho, and she lost power along with a whole refrigerator full of food, all while working from home due to the pandemic. Things were chaotic, but a dog still needed a home.
“We were going to rescue one in Minnesota, but the timing couldn’t have been better, and we found one in Des Moines. The lack of power didn’t prevent us from getting him,” she says.
Frito was 2 years old when Angove and her husband adopted the Shiba Inu in August. The dog is still puppy-like, which is fine with Jamie, who is happiest when she has a pet who is “super excited” about life.
Because of Angove’s passion for animals and their welfare, she currently serves as board president of the Pet Project Midwest. The nonprofit helps people in need with obtaining food, services and supplies to keep their pets at home and out of shelters. As an avid pet lover and United Way volunteer, she didn’t like volunteering at animal shelters.
“There are so many sad pets in the kennels,” she says. “You want to take every one of them home. I thought this was a great way to help with pets, but you don’t have to be face to face with them.”
The Pet Project was founded in 2009 as a partnership with Meals on Wheels. When volunteers delivered food to their clients, they noticed that some people were feeding human food to their pets, so they didn’t go hungry. As part of the AniMeals program, Meals on Wheels volunteers delivered both human and pet food.
The Pet Project provides more than 2,800 pounds of food a month and offers the Iowa Pet Alert service. The organization is 100 percent donation funded, and it accepts donations of near-expiration date or opened pet food bags, cat litter or other unused supplies.
As the pandemic affected food pantries, animals were also being underfed or abandoned. The Pet Project saw an increased need for short-term assistance. To obtain food, pets must be spayed or neutered, be with the owner for eight months, and live in Polk County. Owner must apply for assistance.
Angove stresses her love of animals, saying, “I’d go to the end of the world to feed my pet. I want to make sure no little critters are going hungry.”
To donate or learn more, visit www.thepetprojectmidwest.org. ♦