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LARSON: Pet soup kitchen at your service

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

IF YOU GO

What: Daffy's Day 2013

Where: Gwinnett County Fairgrounds

When: October 26, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Cost: Free

More info: www.daffyspetsoupkitchen.com, www.daffysday.org

Jessie Belle just doesn’t know how good she has it. I tried buying all kinds of treats for her, just to give her some variety, but whenever I put cheap treats in her bowl, she’d just turn up her nose at them. She’ll only eat Temptations Yellow Fin Tuna, one of the pricier brands.

I’d tell her about all the poor starving cats in China who would kill for those treats. I’d lecture her on how lucky she was to get any food at all since over 250 cats and dogs are put down in metro Atlanta every day due to lack of food or affordable neutering services. But she doesn’t understand any of this.

However, Tom Wargo does. In 2008, Wargo established Daffy’s Pet Soup Kitchen to help provide food for people who could not afford to feed their pets and to keep them from having to turn them over to a shelter. Daffy’s not only provides food, but they make available free or discount spaying and neutering, a requirement for receiving the food Daffy’s provides. So far they have over 1,500 clients on file and over 300 more since they moved to a temporary spot in downtown Lawrenceville.

“To date, we have handed out over 10,000,000 meals ,with handing out over 800,000 pounds of supplies last year,” Wargo said.

He notes that Daffy’s is not just a give away program. No one is turned away, but recipients are required to donate five hours of community service each month.

The program has been very successful, but they are facing a new problem.

“Since the gas has gone up, we have lost many clients that just can’t afford to get to us anymore,” Wargo said. “This is why we are starting our smaller portable Daffy’s “pod” type units so we can place them in multiple areas around Georgia.”

Daffy’s is asking individuals, corporations and churches to sponsor a small Daffy’s in their area. For only $50 down and $75 per month, Daffys’ will promote sponsors on their website, newsletter and Facebook, as well as place a 12” x 12” logo on the side of their unit.

“This will promote business in our community as well as support those who need our services,” Wargo said.

He has also started “Hungry Pets Club” to encourage civic organizations to help collect food and supplies.

This Saturday at Daffy’s Day 2013, Wargo will cut the ribbon on their first portable Pet Soup Kitchen. Visitors can enjoy a car/bike/truck show, live music by The Rockaholics, dog agility/training demonstrations, kid’s/pet’s costume contest, silent auction and raffle. As a special hands-on activity, Daffy’s Day will feature a petting zoo which includes reptiles. Pet adoptions and low cost vaccinations will also be available.

Daffy’s mission is to keep pets out of shelters and in their loving homes, which in and of itself, for many pets and owners, is a treat.

Susan Larson is a writer and cat lover from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.