We recently interviewed Sara Ford, Director of Fund Development for COA, the Christian Outreach Association about the new “COA for Animals” program.
The nondenominational, nonprofit organization has been serving the Long Beach community for more than 30 years and recently decided to expand its reach to helping pets. As a partner in this exciting program to help Long Beach pets, we wanted to learn more about what triggered the already busy nonprofit to assist animals so, we called up the COA and Ms. Ford kindly obliged us with an interview.
Kriddr: So how did COA for Animals come about?
Ford: In March of this year, 2016, the idea was brought about by one of our dedicated volunteers, Martha [Ciattei], who is extremely passionate about animals in general but particularly homeless animals. She does a lot of work with cats in Long Beach. So she found COA and she started to see a need for pets of the homeless, and what she found was that many of the pet owners were feeding their pets before they were feeding themselves. So sometimes they would take the food from our food bank and you start to feed 20 stray cats that were their own, so she saw that need and, a lot like our founder [Dixie Dohrman], Martha decided to take action. So, she started bringing pet food to our regularly scheduled food bank and the rest is kind of history.
Kriddr: Okay. You just said, “many of the pet owners feed their pets before feeding themselves.” Is that correct?
Ford: It’s hard to make blanket statements, but I think there are definitely two different types of people and how they treat animals when they fall on hard times. There are people who get evicted or move out or something horrible happens and they’re on the streets, and they leave their animals behind because they can’t deal with taking care of themselves, let alone another living thing. And then, there’s actually a whole other population, which I would say is mostly the people that we serve, who are so dedicated to their animals because their animals are their best friends, their therapists, their everything…It’s unconditional love. Animals give us unconditional love and, people who are down on their luck and have no one else, sometimes that unconditional love is the only thing that gets them through every day.
Kriddr: COA is doing amazing work with both people in need and pets in need. We’re happy to partner with COA for Animals.
Ford: COA is so grateful for Kriddr’s support of our new pet food program, and they really are starting a model of kind of a social and entrepreneurship, and responsible entrepreneurship, which is something that’s really important and it’s definitely setting an example for other new companies moving forward, and we’re excited to see where this new partnership goes.
Thank you Sara Ford, Director of Fund Development for COA, for your time and for all the great work you do and make possible.
If you are interested in learning how you can help COA, please visit their website at www.coalongbeach.org
Volunteer Martha Ciattei and Jeff Boverman, Kriddr’s founder help pets in need at COA
People in Need Often Have Pets in Need
The team at Kriddr knows individuals who are homeless or in need, often have pets in need as well. If one thinks about it, there is bound to be a very strong relationship between homeless persons and homeless pets. Even once wholly committed pet owners can end up surrendering their pet to a local ASPCA or pet rescue organization. In times of extreme financial and survival distress, once well-cared-for-pets can end up on the streets as strays. Getting a handle on the actual numbers of pets who become strays is problematic since, to date, no governmental institution or national animal organization is tasked with the job of providing statistics that pertain to animal homelessness and protection nationwide. According to current estimates provided by the ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters every year and “about twice as many animals enter shelters as strays compared to the number that are relinquished by their owners.”
COA Outreach for Animals
Kriddr is committed to playing a role in making sure pets in need get the food and support they require and remain in the care of their owners. For this reason, we have partnered with COA, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization that’s been providing food, shelter and other vital necessities to those in need for more than three decades. Although COA, Christian Outreach in Action, is largely known for the important work they do to help feed struggling families and individuals, this Long Beach-based organization also helps animals in need through their COA for Animals program.
Each week, our founder, Jeff Boverman, goes to COA to provide the organization with cat food which is then distributed to cat owners who are reliant upon this vital assistance. The COA also provides food for dogs, birds and rabbits during their local Food Bank which takes place from 9am to 12pm every Thursday.
Thousands Get Help through COA
Every year COA provides more than 132,000 meals to the homeless and those in need. The local organization also provides groceries on a bi-weekly basis to many struggling families as well as clothing and furniture, upon availability.
During the holidays, COA provides Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for more than 350 people. 75 to 95 families will receive Christmas or Thanksgiving baskets with either a turkey or ham and all of the trimmings. In 2015, more than 2,000 children received a substantial toy at the annual COA Christmas Party.
If you are interested in showing your support for COA’s Animal Services program or their regular community outreach program, connect with them here.
With Kriddr Deals, you get access to exclusive promotions and discounts at pet stores right in your area. Forget about having to compare prices for all the products you buy most, with Kriddr you can purchase knowing you’re getting a great deal. A percentage of the proceeds from these exclusive deals goes to help support local nonprofit pet and animal organizations, so your purchases have a direct, positive impact on furry friends throughout the community.
Kriddr’s amazing functionality enables you to connect with various pet service providers in your area as well as rate the quality of service you received. Looking for a dog groomer? Now you can save yourself the time it takes to go online and research the various providers one by one. With us, you’ll know ratings are posted by real, actual pet owners and you can be empowered in the decisions you make. By taking time to rate the pet-oriented businesses you engage with, you’re helping other pet owners make informed decisions quickly and easily.
Our multifunctional pet app also enables you to store your pet records on the cloud. This means, you’ll never again have to go hunting for those medical records when you’re heading out to the vet. Have a family member, friend, or sitter who regularly cares for your pet? Well now you can share all of your pet’s vital information in mere seconds and feel secure knowing everyone has the information they need to do right by your cherished companion.
Ever wish setting playdates for your pet was hassle free? Our intelligently designed app enables you to connect with other Kriddr users quickly. In days of yore, one would have to post something on a community bulletin board and hope someone shows up. Kriddr enables you to connect to active, engaged pet owners who are most likely looking for playdates and other pet connection opportunities as well. Want your Dalmatian to play with other Dalmatians in your area?
And in the event that your dog or cat gets lost, you can post an alert right on our platform and spread the word to everyone in the Kriddr community! Our tool is built by pet lovers, for pet lovers. We want to help you simplify caring for your pet so that you can get back to spending more quality time with your precious companion.
Whether you have a cat, dog, horse, or rabbit, exercise is vital for your pet. Exercise helps maintain metabolic health, reduces stress, staves off arthritis, and thwarts potential behavioral problems in our mammalian friends. Like humans, animals once had to either hunt or forage for their food. In other words, they had to move in order to get the nutrients they needed to survive. As domesticated animals, our pets still need to burn energy in order to stay healthy. A regular, varied, and appropriate workout regimen is essential part of a long, rewarding life.
Of course, as is the case with humans, you will want to work into any new exercise routine gradually, especially with older and/or overweight pets. Too much activity could have lethal consequences so be sure to check with your veterinarian before starting any exercise regimen. You also want to make sure your pet is well hydrated before, after, and during physical activity.
Renowned cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, suggests indoor cats get a minimum of 15 minutes or more per day of intense of exercise. A warming up and cooling down period should be added to this, which extends that playtime to about 25 minutes. Variety is also important. Have more than one pet toy you can use as bait, provide your cat with various surfaces to climb and pounce on, and improvise with different games. Although many cat owners are surprised to hear it, some cats are capable of playing fetch just like a dog. Switch from stick and feather to tossing balls of crumpled paper or other safe items (pick these up when playtime is over). See what your cat responds well to and build your repertoire over time.
The average dog needs 30 minutes anaerobic activity per day. Younger dogs and specific breeds such as Labradors, Dalmatians, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, as well most terriers and pointing or working breed dogs may need even more exercise. Young Labradors will need anywhere between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours per day depending on their own natural dispositions. Exercise should include walks, runs, hikes, fetch, and swimming. On walks, vary the route, direction, and terrain (grass, cool concrete, packed dirt). For fetch, try using a frisbee which will encourage your dog to jump. Traditional ball and stick are good options too. Again, variety is the name of the game. And just because your pup prefers ball today doesn’t mean they won’t prefer a good game of frisbee tomorrow. Want a full mind-body workout for your canine companion? Try dog agility training!
There’s been a veritable explosion of new toys and exercise products made specifically for rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters over the past few years. Obstacle courses, newfangled wheels, tunnels, and even products designed to encourage your pet to climb are now readily available at most pet stores and online. It’s also important to note that these pets are often capable of interactive play. Try throwing bits of carrot or apple to encourage them to run after their treats. Many rabbits will reverse the usual game of fetch, making you the retriever, rather than the thrower. So, the next time Peter Rabbit flings a bit of parsley on the floor, see what happens if you pick it up and return it to him; he could be signaling you to play.
Just like humans, our pets need physical activity to maintain their physical and mental health. Kriddr can help you get more exercise into your pet’s life by helping you connect with dog walkers and pet sitters, and even with specific pet owners who have advice or insights to share. As the trusted guardians for our pets, it’s important to be proactive guardians of their overall wellness. Kriddr is happily committed to helping all our pets live happier, healthier lives.
So, first and foremost, when we say “pet community” what exactly do we mean by those words? Your pet community consists of pet owners and pets within your city, town, or neighborhood. Your extended pet community may even consist of pet owners and pets in neighboring cities, and, if you’re aligned with a special sport or cause, that community may even extend to pets and pet people throughout your state.
Think of the fellow dog walkers you wave at when taking your dog for a walk. They’re in your pet community. Same can be said about the people you talk to at your local vet, as well as everyone within the veterinary practice. Now, think about your local pet store, the people you talk to there, the friendly and familiar faces behind the counter, they’re part of your pet community too. So why does this matter?
It matters because there are benefits to being part of a community. Looking for a specialist to treat your aging dog? Your pet community can help you by sharing their experiences at a local practitioner. Kriddr is not just a pet app, it’s a pet community tool that enables you to connect with pet people safely and easily. Have a cat with special health needs? Are you freaked out at the prospect of hiring just any pet sitter via the web? Our tool enables you to view ratings by real pet owners so you can connect with the pet service provider that’s right for you and your pet.
Need to socialize your new pup? As you probably already know, proper socialization from a young age is essential to a dog’s development. This user-friendly app enables you to create and post to the Kriddr community so you can connect with other puppy owners for an extra cute play date. Let’s say you have an older dog who isn’t big on walking but relishes a great game of fetch with other dogs. Post a classified on Kriddr, completely free of charge, and you can have your dog playing fetch with other senior canines asap. We make it possible to connect pets and pet people in a multitude of ways. When the opportunities of today’s technology meet the real needs of pet owners, improving your pet’s quality of life is just clicks away.
Taking part in your pet community can greatly increase your quality of life too. Instead of merely waving at those fellow dog walkers, now you have the ability to meet up with other dog owners in your area and expand your social circle. Got a spur of the moment idea to get to the dog beach? Well, get the word out on Kriddr and invite others to join you and your pet! In an age where there’s always more to do and less day-to-day connection, doesn’t it make sense to use the technology we have to engender community and pet-loving connections? Rest assured, we can do it because we are doing it with Kriddr, the pet app made by pet lovers for pet lovers.