Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hero Dog Saves Owner, Thanks to Pongo Fund and CANIDAE

By Julia Williams

The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank in Portland, Oregon is a non-profit charity created to help people who are unable to buy food for their pets. They opened in November 2009 with a donation of $125,000 worth of premium pet food from CANIDAE. In just one year, the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank has distributed more than one million meals to help feed hungry dogs and cats in Oregon and southwest Washington! 

CANIDAE continues to support The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank with large donations of its premium dog and cat foods. The charity then gives the food free of charge to anyone who expresses a genuine need. The goal is to keep families and pets together in challenging economic times, and judging by a touching letter The Pongo Fund received recently, they are succeeding in ways they couldn’t even imagine.

In August, Gayle Jewell and Danny Fincher (former saxophone player with Paul de Lay Band) were at home with their beloved dog, a 14-year old lab mix named Ceili. They noticed that Ceili (pronounced Kaylee) was acting strangely concerned about Danny and wouldn’t leave his side. Ceili kept smelling Danny’s breath, licking his arms and legs, and whimpering. At around 11:30 p.m., Danny wasn’t feeling well and decided to go to bed. Ceili would not let him go upstairs, however. She got in his way and started tugging on his shorts and yipping at him. 

Ceili tugged on Danny’s socks and pulled off one of his shoes. When he sat down on the stairs to put his shoe back on, Danny suddenly felt like he was on fire, and he couldn’t breathe. Ceili began barking and running back and forth from Danny to the room Gayle was in, alerting her to Danny’s predicament. Danny was rushed to the emergency room where tests revealed he had suffered a massive heart attack.

Ceili was a “hero dog” that night – she saved Danny’s life by preventing him from going upstairs and alerting Gayle to the heart attack. It could have ended in tragedy, however. You see, Danny and Gayle were going through a rough period financially and couldn’t really afford to buy dog food. As a result, they had been considering the heartbreaking option of giving Ceili up. Thankfully, they learned about The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank and were able to get some CANIDAE food for her, so she could remain in their family. 

In her letter to The Pongo Fund, Gayle said “Thank you for providing such a valuable service for everyone who loves their furry four legged family members and is struggling to keep them at home. Life can be “ruff” sometimes, but you folks sure do help so many of us!”

When Larry Chusid, Founder and Executive Director of The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank, relayed this wonderful story to the folks at CANIDAE, he included a heartfelt message of his own. “This is a real testament to CANIDAE and their generosity. As I said...you make magic kibble!”

Our Holiday Pet Food Giveaway

In the spirit of the season, we’re having a little giveaway of our own! Four lucky readers will each win a coupon for a free 5lb. bag of CANIDAE dog food or 4lb. FELIDAE cat food – any formula, winner’s choice.

Entering the giveaway is easy: leave a comment on this post about your own “hero” pet, or tell us what you love most about your pet. In short, just let us know you want to be entered in the giveaway. Please include your email address so I can contact you ASAP if you're a winner.

Want some extra entries? Here's how:

*Blog about your own “Hero Pet” with a link to this RPO post (include a link to your post in your comment below)
*Add a link to the RPO blog on your blog or website.
*Post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook page.

You’ll receive one extra entry for each of the above (optional). Giveaway begins today and ends at midnight Pacific Time on December 4, 2010. Contest open to residents of the USA and Canada only. Void were prohibited. Good luck!

Read more articles by Julia Williams


  1. All pets are heros because they give us unconditional love. We have 2 dogs (13 months old) who we have been feeding Canidea ALS since we got them at 10 weeks. They have the most gorgeous shiny black fur that is so soft and silky. Everyone comments on how pretty their fur is, and I tell them it is because of the Canidea!

  2. My golden retriever, Keely, loves her Canidae. At 5:25 every evening, she puts her head on my arm if I’m sitting, or just stares up at me if I’m standing. This is her way of letting me know that it’s time for her to eat. She does the same thing every morning at 6:00. She is so smart, sweet and beautiful.

    Emmie Nowell
    Augusta, GA

  3. I have two hero dogs. A few years back I was raising a pup for the Seeing Eye of Morristown,as his puppy raiser I was given first choice to adopt him and boy am I glad I did. He was not back with me more then a week when I took a bad fall in my yard. thought I had broken my knee cap. My hands were all swollen my knee was twisted under me and had no idea how I was going to get into the house or get help and then there he was standing in front of me bracing for me to lean on him. Ty got me to my feet and let me lean on him to get into the house where I was able to get help. If not for him I don't know how long I would have been laying outside before I would have been able to get help or get myself into the house. Ty and my goldie stayed me with while I was on the mend both taking turns to help me up and down the stairs and just moving about. I was told that I was very lucky my knee cap was not broken, thank God it was just severly injured. My boys were there for me.

    Jake my Goldie is a hero to special needs children. He is a certified therapy dog. On one of him many visits a child said his first clear word to Jake all the teachers were crying with joy, more recently he had the teachers and staff crying again when a young adult decided to make a connection with him, this young man has always been fearful of dogs and his Mom wants to be able to get him a service dog. Now Jake has open the door for that to become a reality hopefully in the near further.


  4. Ceili sounds like a amazing dog . kinda like my little JRT & Chih mix, who got her CGC before she was 11 months old. But I never realized how much of an important part of my life she would become until I started having seaisures and she was the first one to notice something wrong. Now I pay close attention to her when she starts cliinging to me and whining or pushing my hands . She has never let me down on alerting me to a seasure coming on ... They are true angels on a dog body.. DOG=GOD..

  5. Hats off to CANIDAE for helping out a saint like Mr. Chusid! Hats off to Mr. Chusid for recognizing this horrendous need in today's economic climate. And hats off to Mr. Pongo, whoever he is. Thank you all for being who you insist upon being!

    Robert Gibson

  6. My dogs remind me on a daily basis to take life one day at a time. They also encourage me to get out and be active (walkies! walkies!). Without them, I think I would be much more bitter and stressed out from the pressures of dealing with my job, family, and society.

  7. I just wanted to be in the drawing and tell about my hero animal. I had just finished my chemo treatments and was feeling terrible. I was really down in the dumps. So I just had a thought, wouldn't it be nice if I could get a kitten. Well I walked outside the next morning and this scruffy, matted little tiny kitten went flying past me. I couldnt believe it. She finally stopped when I started meowing at her. She was wild but very tough and very brave. I got her some food and kept meowing at her and she ended up staying. She is still here and her name is Mewmew and she and I still have many conversations.
    I have gotten some of the Felidae and my cats love it. That is such a wonderful story about the Pongo organization.

  8. We adopted our Bluetick Coonhound from a wonderful rescue group in San Diego. I never thought I'd love a dog as much as I love her! She's wonderful with other animals and especially with kids. I consider her my "therapy dog" because she's helped me through some severe depressive and panic attack episodes.

    Thank you for your donations to The Pongo Fund! I used to live in Portland and it makes me so happy to know this resource exists there. I'm definitely sharing this on FB as I'm sure my friends in PDX can spread the word.

  9. What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing. We have a Black Lab named Jaida, who has been on Canidae Grain Free formula since she was a pup. She is our hero every day just because of the love that she gives us. In fact, her nick name is Jaida Lovey! Thank you again for sharing your story!!


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