Dogtime’s Road to Rescue program salutes Montana’s AniMeals.

How did your organization get started?
AniMeals was founded by Karyn Moltzen in 2003. She was doing some work with Meals on Wheels and saw how much the seniors loved their pets, so she started a project to deliver one-gallon zip-locked bags of pet food to them along with their meals. AniMeals began with one small food drive and has now grown into an organization that covers 50,000 square miles to deliver food and supplies to those in need.

Blue, an AniMeals rescue

What is your mission?
We do two things:
1. We obtain food for dogs and cats and distribute that food to needy animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and disabled individuals over the western part of Montana.

AniMeals’ founder Karyn Moltzen

2. We also take cats and dogs from shelters in our area when they are overcrowded and temporarily place them at our adoption center and in foster homes until we can find permanent homes for them.

How do most of your animals find their way to you?
Animals in our care are usually brought here by people who have found them abandoned; one of the most common stories that we hear is pets being left behind after their owners move. Many have been found by landlords or neighbors, just sitting there in an empty apartment or dumped outside a locked-up house. We take in pets that cannot follow their owners into rest homes or those pets of people who have passed away. Also, when the local Animal Control is totally full we will receive some of their overflow.

What happens to the animals once they are in your care?
Animals we receive automatically go into quarantine until they have had their vet check. Once that happens, we give them shots if they need it and do a de-worming. We also spay and neuter them if this hasn’t already been done. After they are all healthy, they are ready to socialize with the other animals and be adopted!

Tell us about a particularly compelling animal or inspiring rescue.
He was discovered lying in a snow bank, he had been searching in the trash for something to eat when he collapsed. Someone saw him and they called a friend of AniMeals. She came and picked him up, put him in the back seat of her car and turned on the heat to warm him up. Blind, old and terribly emaciated, she brought Blue to AniMeals and we immediately took him to the vet. He was still as the snow and cold to the touch. The vet gave him fluids and before long he was released to Karyn’s care.

She took him home and cared for him there. He would pace in the night, unable to sleep. He just couldn’t get comfortable. She brought him back and forth to work and he won over everyone that met him. He lay under her desk, enjoying being warm and having food. Still, he was immeasurably skinny and couldn’t put on any weight. He continued to pace, he would lie down next to Karyn but never rest.

She took him to the vet and there she found out he had kidney disease. “I can smell it on his breath,” the vet said. He was suffering terribly, that’s when Karyn realized Blue was too old and too far gone; they had gotten there too late. The kindest thing that we could do for old Blue was to let him go. We loved him dearly, but now we hope that he is in a place where he can find some rest.