An adoptable dog adorably holds his dish after finishing his holiday meal. He is an American Staffordshire Terrier and is currently available for adoption at the South L.A. Animal Shelter – Animal ID A1729398
For the third year in a row, Marc Ching’s Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF) and The Petstaurant are teaming up to feed a holiday feast to the hundreds of dogs and cats currently in the six Los Angeles County shelters.
This year, they are donating 5000 pounds of organic food, blankets, toys, treats, and other necessities.
WAN had the opportunity to join AHWF and The Petstaurant founder Marc Ching, AHWF Executive Director Valarie Ianniello, and a host of kind-hearted, animal-loving volunteers on Wednesday as they fed the more than 400 dogs and cats that are presently housed at the South L.A. Animal Shelter.
“Every year around Christmas time we come to the shelters and feed all the dogs and cats,” said Ching. “We plan on continuing to feed shelter animals during the holiday season for as long as they will let us.”
While there was a wonderful feeling of doing something special for the animals, it was bittersweet. Between the smiles and laughter, there were somber moments of realization that most of these innocent, sweet animals may never find their forever homes and families that they deserve.
Joy Gaston sharing a special moment with “Volunteer Favorite” Hercules, a 10-Year-Old Mastiff – Animal ID A1740823
“Of the six shelters, this one has the highest number of intakes, and sadly, the highest numbers of animals euthanized,” volunteer Victoria Vertuga told WAN.
“Get out and adopt! There are so many beautiful loving dogs here including purebreds,” Ianniello said feeling a bit disheartened by what the future holds for most of the animals they were feeding. “Adopt. There is absolutely no reason to shop.”
This year AHWF “is doing something a little different from last,” pulling dogs from each shelter and using its network to find them homes.
Ching also shared with WAN that while looking at medical cruelty cases while at the shelter yesterday, he discovered that there was a dog which was hit by a car and was suffering from four broken legs. Ching said that AHWF might pull the dog from the shelter.
Last year during one of the feedings, Ching noticed an emergency situation where a severely injured dog was rushed to the shelter in desperate need of medical attention. Ching made arrangements on the spot to help the dog through AHWF.
In addition to their dedication to animals, many of the volunteers feel equally strong about supporting Ching and the awe-inspiring work that AHWF does on a daily basis; not only here but in China where the organization is working diligently to end the horrific dog and cat meat trade.
Miriam Williams, a volunteer and longtime client of Ching who had been treating her dog for a skin condition, not only participated in yesterday’s feedings for the second year in a row, she brought along a friend, Lauren Kaiserman, to help as well.
Marc Ching with volunteer Miriam Williams and Lauren Kaiserman