LARAMIE – Angel looked excited as she sniffed the now familiar converted kitchen hutch filled with pet food, treats, toys and other items.
The 3-year-old pit bull is the companion of Micaela Myers and her family, a rescue adoption giving Angel’s life a much happier end than it started. She was found in another abandoned state with a missing ear, slit throat and left for dead.
Now Angel accompanies Myers to the Laramie Animal Welfare Society office on South Second Street. This is where Myers’ latest effort to help animals was welcomed by Laramie pet owners.
The city’s first free small pantry.
Painted in baby blue and sporting a whimsical sign painted by Pop Up Paint Party, the rabbit hutch is a joyful explosion of color outside the LAW display case. Like the free small pantries and free small libraries that have popped up in the city in recent years, the Pet Pantry offers help and relief to families and their pets.
âYears ago I asked the pantry if their customers needed pet food, and they said yes, but that’s not our goal,â Myers said. âI also knew that Project SAFE also needed pet supplies, as the women at the shelter can bring their pets with them.
“So I knew there was a need.”
The main thing, however, is Myers’ love for animals and his desire to help pets and families in distress.
âI love animals, and thought that would be a fun thing to do,â she said. “I don’t want people to have to give up their animals just because they are poor or have a bad financial situation.”
When considering the location of the Free Little Pet Pantry, LAWS seemed the logical choice, Myers said.
In fact, something like the Pet Pantry had been on the wishlist for the Laramie Animal Welfare Society for a while, said Kathryn Eastman Curry, an animal lover and Laramie Second year high school student who works for the organization.
âI think it’s always been something we’ve wanted to do, but getting people to step in and do it hasn’t happened in the past,â said Eastman Curry. âYou have to have someone willing to see a need and step in and do it, and it was really wonderful (Myers) did it, and we’re really happy to support that.â
Because the pantry is located outside of LAWS, the nonprofit is well placed to help monitor the hutch and also act as a conduit for donations.
The goal is to be autonomous
The ultimate goal of the Pet Pantry is to keep itself going through donations and community involvement, Myers said.
âWe want the people who take it to actually be the ones who need it and then, yes, please, please, please come and drop,â she said. âAnd not just the food. You see, we also have bowls, toys, litter boxes and other things.
The response in the first two weeks of the Pet Pantry’s operation has been better than expected, Myers said.
âOh my God. There was a lot of feedback,â she said. âInitially I thought I was going down once or twice a week. But I had to check it every day. People all come by. days and take stuff. People have been really excited, grateful and positive. “
They also donated high quality food, sometimes in large quantities, she said.
âI took the big bags and broke them down into smaller bags,â Myers said. âMy car has become like a mobile refueling station. “
The only rule for accessing the Free Little Pet Pantry, whether picking it up or dropping it off, is to make sure it is closed and securely locked. That’s because it didn’t take long for the area raccoons to discover the hutch full of animal food. Unless they’re tight, they’ll come in.
Within LAWS, Eastman Curry said he heard great feedback from local pet owners about the pantry.
âI see people come in and take little things and others take more,â she said. âPeople really find it a lifeline in the community. It helps fill in the gaps of other (organizations) and most importantly can get people and their pets through on weekends.