For many in the Downtown Eastside, the places to find well-being are well-known. But what about the pets of those people? Where do they go when times are tough?
Thanks to one program, there is a safe place for pets - where dogs, cats, birds, and yes, even rats - can come for food, care, and a whole lot of love.
Charlie’s Food Bank - the brain-puppy of the BC SPCA - began almost two decades ago as a way to feed the pets of those who are homeless, low-income, and in need. Today, it not only serves as a pet food bank, it is a place where animals can receive everything from bowls and toys to carriers and care.
“It’s a huge program now,” says BC SPCA’s Diane Waters, who runs Charlie’s Food Bank. “We have had behavioural training, we do low-income grooming, I do nail trims, we do low-income medical things. We’ve had free spay-neuter programs.”
Every Thursday morning, one block of Powell Street comes alive with barks and banter as animals and owners gather for all Diane, her volunteers, and the food bank have to offer. It’s a place for pets in need, but is also joyous roundup for people who share that special and essential bond with an animal.