When I started out as a cook in the military, mess halls were busy spots and it wasn’t unusual to feed five hundred for every meal. It certainly changed how I looked at food. When you go through ten to twelve fifty pound bags of potatoes for each meal, somehow that little five or ten pound bag never looks like enough. I remember the first Thanksgiving dinner I cooked in my first home after a couple of years of that … the turkey was fine but I had enough stuffing for five birds and wound up with two dutch ovens full of gravy. After a while I got used to the idea that cooking at home would always seem like playing …. but more importantly that it was playing with an entirely different set of rules than at work.
I still can overproduce if I’m not careful … I remember when I moved to the country and decided to try my hand at pickling. Well a few jars of this recipe.. a few jars of that one and next thing I knew I had over three hundred jars of pickles looking for a home. Fortunately people always like edible gifts …. but even so all of my friends still joke about that year.
Over the years I have learned to temper my seed orders for a garden for one. I still keep a fully stocked larder though and if the stores closed for a month, I would probably only run out of milk. That’s especially easy to do when I am an empty nester whose biggest food expenditures are for the cats and dogs : )))
Tomorrow is budget day and I suspect no matter how the deck is stacked, there will be many here in this province who fall through the cracks. There have been so many jobs lost both here and for those who have ‘commuted’ out west to work. Sadly I think there are going to be a lot of empty pantries out there in the months to come.
When things get that tough, when it gets to be a choice between feeding the kids or the pets …. well we all know how that one plays out. If ever there was a time to think of creating a safety net for pet owners, I believe this is it. Tangible support could keep all the rescues, including the society, from being swamped in the backwash of these difficult days:
- I do understand that the food banks sometimes have pet food … but would this not be a good time to consider setting up pet food banks? In some instances, pet food companies themselves might be enticed to provide meaningful support …. the fact that there are both PR and tax benefits is always a good motivator.
- It would probably also be a splendid time to encourage the municipalities to sponsor subsidized vaccination clinics.
- those who are unable to keep their house would sure benefit from an information campaign aimed at landlords for renting to pet owners.
- It is a very great blessing that the society is already laying the groundwork for both feral cat support and a high volume/low cost spay neuter program
- In that spirit, this might be a great time to consider accepting surrendered litters of puppies and kittens if the pet owners keep and spay the mommies. That would also have the fringe benefit of helping with population control in a big way.
- Set up a special help line so that when people really hit the wall the pets don’t wind up dumped somewhere.
I don’t think I’m being overly pessimistic here. The glass half full side of me would like to believe these days will turn around … gosh someone’s going to have to build the solar panels and the windmills, eh? What we need in the interim is to provide that helping hand so that good people do not spend the rest of their days regretting leaving their pets in the lurch.