Calgary woman starts food bank for homeless people’s pets: ‘That’s really helpful’

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WATCH: The food bank has been there for decades for people who need a bit of help making ends meet. Now the city is getting a new twist on this tradition, lending a hand to some struggling canine Calgarians. Gil Tucker has the story – Jun 27, 2019

Christine Nurse has just added a whole new display of products at her Fairplay Pet Supply store in northwest Calgary — but not one of the items are for sale.

Marked with signs reading “The Fairplay Street Pet Project,” the large metal bin contains a wide variety of pet foods, toys, blankets and leashes.

It’s part of Nurse’s efforts to provide a food bank service for the homeless and their pets.

READ MORE: Calgary veterinarians provide free clinic for homeless

“There are lots of services for humans — they offer them food, they offer them meals,” Nurse said. “But there’s nothing for the pets.”

She’s been collecting donations from the store’s suppliers and customers, with many items being particularly useful for people living on the street with a pet.

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“Collapsible bowls, for water or food,” Nurse said. “They can just put that into their packs, [it] doesn’t have to take up much room.

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Nurse has partnered with Calgary social agency SORCe, which distributes the items to clients at its downtown office.

“Once we started talking to some of the people that are on the street, we realized how desperate some of these individuals are,” Nurse said.

Tim Gray has seen that desperation firsthand.

Homeless for the past three years, Gray doesn’t have a dog, but he’s knows what a boost they can bring for people living on the street.

“It’s awareness of kindness — we get to pet them,” Gray said. “[They’re] friends.”
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READ MORE: Homeless youth with pets less likely to be depressed, use hard drugs: study

Gray was encouraged to hear of Nurse’s project.

“That’s nice,” he said. “That’s really helpful.”

If you’d like to support The Fairplay Street Pet Project, you can drop off donations at Fairplay Pet Supply at 2604 Kensington Rd. N.W.

Nurse is looking forward to helping some Calgary canines get through the dog days of summer.

“[We have] paw and nose lotion,” Nurse said. “Perfect for the hot days that are coming our way, with the dogs being on the concrete.”

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