Susan's Story: How pet foodbanks provide vital support

‘If I had to give my pets up, I’d be devastated. There would be no point in living.’

For pet foodbank user, Susan Gibson, her pets are a lifeline. Almost overnight, her life was turned upside down when she had to leave her job as a critical care nurse to become a full-time carer for her mother who suffers from vascular dementia. Susan went from having a reliable income to struggling to make ends meet and support her pets and family with little to no financial support.  

Susan has three cats who she rescued from bins while doing the shopping one day. She came across a refuse collector loading a cat carrier into a bin lorry and rushed to stop him. In the carrier she found three tiny little kittens looking up at her. They were terrified, trembling and too young to have been separated from their mother.  

Susan took them in and gave them the proper care that they needed to survive. She told us; ‘they’ve got trust issues, they’ve never had love right from the very beginning. But now they’ll come to you when they’re ready, what a difference time has made! 

She told us that before finding our pet foodbanks, she ‘would rather starve’ than let her pets go without food. 

Susan has been accessing support via our Claws and Paws packs which provide a week’s worth of dry and wet food for each of her pets. Users of this service can call our reception staff to request a pack and let them know details such as the number of pets and any preference for wet or dry food. They can then come and pick up their pack from as early as the next day.  

People can also access support via the 80+ foodbanks the Home contributes to around the city. 

And Susan is not alone in her struggle.

One pet foodbank user told us:  

I cannot put into words how much it means to have my dog with me at this difficult time, she is my baby! Thanks to the Home pet foodbank I am no longer taking food from my plate to feed her. That is a big worry that has been lifted.’ 

And another said:  

‘I was so worried about how I was going to feed my cat as I was so short of money. My cat is my only companion, I’m so grateful for this help.’ 

Between January and July this year we distributed 414,316 meals, the equivalent of providing vital food for one animal every ten minutes 

With support from the pet foodbanks, Susan can stop worrying about feeding her furry family and focus on caring for her mother.

She told us, ‘If we can get help with food for the pets, it means we can buy other stuff that we need for ourselves. It’s been amazing, it really has.’ 

For Susan and for so many others, her pets are a vital source of joy and comfort in a difficult time. She shared that her ‘mum is housebound so [the pets] are so important to her. She absolutely adores them. I’ll go through and there’ll be mum on the settee with all the dogs!’ 

Without the support of pet foodbanks and donations from the community, hundreds more people like Susan would have to face the unthinkable decision to part with their pets and surrender their beloved companions into our care.   

Our foodbanks are always in urgent need of donations of wet and dry dog food, as well as pet resources such as blankets, bowls, leads and toys, and we’re currently struggling to meet the needs of the community. 

To access support, or to help us continue to be a beacon of hope for people like Susan and her family, please see our website for more information.  

Help foodbank users like Susan avoid impossible decisions

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