When family funds get so tight that buying a bag of food for the family pet means skipping a payment on a utility bill, pet owners find themselves facing the agonizing decision whether to keep their dog or cat or begin looking for a new home for them.
Cathie Sabin has seen enough people facing this struggle to know that she can offer just a small bit of help that could make a family that's already hurting from the downturned economy feel slightly better, while allowing the pets to stay in the homes they've come to love with the people they call their own.
Sabin has opened the Pooch Pantry in Mundelein, where she's been able to help many pets and their people.
The food bank for pets, run out of Sabin's B.C. Dog Training Club, opened almost a month ago and is accepting dog and cat food donations, which it distributes at no cost to people suffering a financial crisis.
The Chicago Tribune reports that, with little publicity, Sabin has handed out 12 to 15 bags of food every Saturday morning, mostly to senior citizens on fixed incomes, and expects the numbers to grow as word spreads.
Animal shelters across the country are reporting a rise in the number of pets being turned in.
Corbi described a man who had to return a pet because "he was literally living out of his truck."
Afterward, "he went outside and actually fell on his knees and cried," Corbi said. "I will never forget that."