16 March 2009

Rachael Ray to the Rescue - of Hungry Pooches

Christmas in March. That's how Linda Estrada described the semi truck filled with dog food that pulled into Chicago's Animal Welfare League's parking lot Thursday afternoon. "This means a month without worrying," said Estrada, executive director of the Chicago Ridge shelter. "With a shelter this size, you're always worrying."

The 53-foot truck carried 23,000 pounds of Nutrish brand dog food. The line recently was introduced by celebrity chef Rachael Ray, of Food Network fame, and Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.

That's enough to feed the Animal Welfare League's 1,300 dogs for a full month, Estrada said. "We've been getting more than 100 dogs a week," she said. She blames the poor economy for the number of dogs being turned in to the shelter.

When Ray's people called last month, Estrada said she almost was at the panic point. With donations down and animal drop-offs up, food supplies were quickly being gobbled up.

"If we run out of food, we have to go out and buy it," she said. "That means less money for health care and other things."

Ray sent similar hauls to shelters across the country. A celebrated supporter of shelter dogs, Ray also is donating proceeds from sales in the dog food line, which includes dry food and treats.

[Source: TheSouthtownStar.com]