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On my daily walk, I have been watching this large dog in an enclosure.

It barks at me as I go by.

This dog has been noticeably thinner each time I see him. 

Maybe, this dog was actually asking me for help in his own language. 

I decided that I would speak to this young man — maybe 11 years old at the most — that was outside that day playing with this very dog. 

I told him what a great dog he had, and the little fellow looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “He sure is … he is my best friend.”

I asked is your dog OK because he seems a little skinny. 

The little guy said, “That’s because my dad lost his job because of this virus thing, and we can’t afford to feed him.”

I almost cried too! 

I asked him what kind of food his dog ate and he said, “Anything, because he doesn’t get a lot.” I spoke with the family and offered them assistance in feeding the dog. The mother said, “Why do you care … I don’t even know you.”

She also said, not to worry — we feed him. The young man looked so defeated — his family turned down free food for HIS DOG!

Back outside, I asked the kid, how much food is left for your dog, son? He said about a week.

I wrote my name and number down on a piece of paper and pushed it into his palm.

I told him, “When you run out, you call me … I promise to help you feed him!”

Yesterday he called. I could feel in my heart that his words were well-chosen and he had practiced what he was going to say. I listened to him, and he asked me, “Ma’am, is the help you so kindly offered to feed my dog still available?” 

I said OF COURSE IT IS. I delivered the food today!

Since helping our neighbors is really what this crisis has done for our community, I began to think that this kid's dog can’t be the only one who’s family is out of work and can’t feed their kids’ dog!

I would like to see our Roanoke Valley develop a food pantry for our local animals in crisis. If we all get one bag of food and donate it we are well on our way.

I have seen the schools provide meals to children, but I have not heard of any resource to assist with animals. I checked and you can’t buy pet food with a EBT card either. Dogs are all over Facebook, being reported as a sighting of a pup running free. The dogs are being turned out I suppose, to find their own food.

All of our business community have Red Hearts on their store front. I would like to see a paw print as well! The shelters are at capacity, and we need to step up and answer the call to feed the dogs or cats of our community in crisis.

I was wondering how your readers felt about a grassroots effort to open a food pantry for pets. Not like a go fund me, but a pre-screened approved application in order to pick up assistance for animals in need. I believe your readers would be on board.

Melissa Dickens

Roanoke Rapids