A Dream Animal Disaster Relief helps dogs and cats in need

A Dream Animal Disaster Relief helps dogs and cats in need

February 22nd, 2012 by Katie Ward in Local Regional News

A Dream Animal Disaster Relief, Emergency Assistance and More founder and President Danielle Keith feeds local cats and dogs in need so that owners don't have to give their pets to shelters.

"I volunteered to do disaster relief after the [2011] tornadoes," said Keith, referring to a setup in Ringgold where she manned a tractor trailer full of 7,000 pounds of pet food for tornado victim pet owners in seven counties. "The local animal groups that came in to get support decided a long-term food pantry was needed to help people."

A Dream Animal Disaster Relief, Emergency Assistance and More Inc. volunteer/membership organizer Laura Wolf, left, President/founder Danielle Keith and Keith's rescue canine, Siberian husky Keita, want to help pet owners.

A Dream Animal Disaster Relief, Emergency Assistance and...

Photo by Katie Ward

A Dream was birthed in the summer of 2011 when Keith noticed the ongoing need for pet food assistance.

Her nonprofit assists pet owners in Whitfield, Walker, Catoosa, Murray and Hamilton counties, with the majority of requests from Catoosa and Hamilton counties, she said. The organization will begin assisting families in Dade, Bradley, Chattooga, Gordon and DeKalb counties in the near future.

"Our pet food pantry is the most active [portion of the nonprofit] at the moment," Keith said.

Her volunteers take dog and cat food, cat litter, pet collars and bowls to pet owners in need of assistance. The pet owner must provide proof of income, residence and pet ownership and agree to volunteer five hours monthly with A Dream.

"We are community-based and we rely on the community for support," said Keith. "All donations are tax deductible."

She said with the help of Walker County, A Dream is launching a disaster readiness relief and response program to help pet owners understand how to prepare their pets for a disaster. A Dream volunteers are certified for disaster response assistance.

"Pets can get stressed out and feel displaced like we can," said Keith.

She said the nonprofit needs to increase fundraising efforts to be able to keep up with the high demand. Keith is selling a book she wrote titled "Treats and Tidbits, A Handbook for Animal Lovers, Volume 1: Cats and Dogs" for $7 to help raise funds. She is still in the process of securing local venues in which to sell the book. In the meantime, interested buyers can contact Keith at 706-313-4463.

"We are desperately trying to get a vehicle for a mobile pet food pantry," she said. "We are looking at a Ford E250 cargo van. In order to make it happen, we need sponsors. If we had a mobile unit then I could tell people where we will be each day and people can come by for assistance."

She knows what it's like to be in need; she was unemployed when she started A Dream to help others in similar situations.