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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

My Dog Eats First

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals

Mission: Our mission is to provide pet food, supplies, vaccinations and spay/neuter services for the pets of the homeless and underserved within our community. We provide this support in a judgement free environment for individuals and families in who are committed to the health and wellness of their pets and desire to keep them. In doing so, we believe we are: 1. Keeping the homeless united with what in most cases is the only living thing that provides with them with companionship, protection and unconditional love. 2. Reducing the amount of healthy pets surrendered to shelters because of financial burden and ultimately 3. Saving healthy pets from unnecessary euthanasia by keeping them with their families. We will always welcome all people, no matter what their station in life may be or what personal challenges they face. We believe in the love and companionship that these pets bring to their underserved and homeless owners.

Target demographics: the homeless and underserved with pets in Louisville, KY.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Last year we helped over 1,000 individuals, an average of 120 per week and an average of 130 pets per week. We distribute approximately 500 lbs of pet food per week.

Geographic areas served: Louisville, KY

Programs: Our Waggle Wednesday program. Every Wednesday we take donated food and supplies to the Yellow Lot at Waterfront Park and there our volunteers rebag the food into travel size bags and distribute it to the homeless/underserved with pets. We have volunteer veterinarians that donate the time and resources to provide free rabies vaccinations and wellness checks. We also do free licensing and pass out free spay/neuter certificates every week.

Community Stories

67 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Kay_34

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned of My Dog Eats First when I was donating food to feed the homeless. I heard stories of how homeless people would share their food with the pets they loved. These people, often suffering from mental illness and isolation had loving companionship only because they had a pet. How compassionate to include them in providing food. And now that this is an established nonprofit, the animals get care and leashes and more than just enough food to survive. That provides their human companion with comfort, knowing that their animal will be cared for and that their relationship is respected and valued.

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3

Donor

Rating: 5

When I found out about this organization, I was delighted to know that someone really understood how important an animal companion is to person with little in the way of constant in their lives. The animal/homeless person relationship allows the homeless to love, to have companionship, to have someone to talk to and snuggle with. I donate food when I can and spread the word, asking others to look them up on Facebook and help to let people know what a marvelous and unselfish organization this is.

Rosemae

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This group is awesome they do a lot for the community and the homeless and their pets, I sent my dog eats first a message about a women who had just left an abusive relationship and was fighting breast cancer and was putting out a plea for food for her pups and my dog eats first answered the call and helped her out with a big bag of food love all they do for people and pets.

Sharon D.5

Client Served

Rating: 5

This program is great I don’t have a lot of money, but I love my pets and so does my family. I was able to get flea medicine on a few Waggle Wednesdays. They give out cat litter, dry cat food, and cats of cat food. They also have a vet on certain Sundays that will administer low cost vaccines such as rabies and distemper. I couldn’t feed everyone in my house if it wasn’t for this great organization. Most of the volunteers are pleasant and very kind. I’m on a walker and have mobility issues. The volunteers are kind and pleasant. Thus program is a Godsend.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization fills a need that could easily fall through the cracks. It helps pets stay with the people who love them. By doing that, it helps keep additional animals out of shelters, and helps people maintain companionship and dignity. It opened my eyes and changed my understanding of people sleeping rough and their pets.

Tammy Summitt S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I couldn't afford to take my dog to the vet until I found out about the low cost clinic. I look forward to bringing my other pets there.

Cindy C.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I kept hearing about this wonderful organization and the help they provide for our community. I volunteered for the first time this week. I met Bethany and she has such passion for her mission. People were lined up outside waiting for the doors to open. So many expressed thanks for the help. I got to hear stories about their pets and how much My Dog Eats First means to them. It meant so much to me too. I will be back.

Amanda E.3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

great organization for the homeless and their pets

Lilia R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love The work you do for the homeless And the companion animals in our city

Kendra Brading H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the PRIVILEGE of volunteering for this amazing organization. It has been a humbling experience that has opened my eyes & changed my perspective greatly. I look forward to being able to continue doing so for many years to come. Thank you MDEF for all of your work in our community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

MDEF is such a blessing to the community, they do more than just offer pet food to those who need it, they hold drives for the homeless, lost cost clinics, help get vouchers to fix pets in low income homes. They have helped my family, they've helped friends, and they care.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a amazing organization. I am very proud to have them in my community! Very glad that they have been helping Tucker with his cancer treatment and all the other animals they help on a daily basis.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand what an amazing organization this is and what they have done for our homeless people and their pets.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We all know the saying, "dogs are a man's best friend". We also know other animals can be a "man's best friend" but right now, I'm talking about one particular dog. Imagine a cold, rainy night being found in a stump. Matted and injured from what appears to have been a car accident. With a belly full of garbage, plastic and animal bones. "Stumpy" was found by an homeless individual and through My Dog Eats First, given a second chance at life in a vey loving home where he was promised he would never be hungry or cold again. Thank you for rescuing "Stumpy" Spice who in turn rescued not only us but his fur sister, Sugar! :)

Kristine25

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I moved from my last home the adults agreed to take care of my sweet girl, Henrietta, along with their two dogs -- her mother and full brother, since I could not take her with me. She was almost two. That was November 2015.

As events crystalized this last year with neighbors complaining about dogs barking, and attitudes escalated to a high alert uproar, people in the home not having the means to care for three dogs with energy or time, stress levels, work loads, including conflict over details like where a dog should sleep and dogs jumping electric lines. Without consistent play and exercise, or ongoing training and nurturing for a fairly high energy girl, I knew I had to make every effort find a home for my sweet dog Henrietta. Her situation had become an issue of proper nurturing and healthy care. It was past time for me to find a forever home if I could not be her Mom and provide a safe and nurturing space next to me. Where I am will not allow me to have a dog. No options. If I did not have COPD, were truly homeless and living at a campsite with others, not this between lease chaos, she would be with me.

My Dog Eats First walked this path with me last Sunday afternoon through the entire process of re-socializing my girl, vetting her skills, getting her shots, check-up, and chipped, and pedi-pawed, along with horrific process of finding a new forever family. All at a miraculous down to the last minute day. Every person working there had Henrietta's best interests at heart when I told them I needed help rehoming her. These folks are here to keep families together not split them apart, yet they stood with me when they understood Henrietta's needs could not be filled in any other way except through rehoming. Betheny, the director of MDEF, white knuckled the entire afternoon sending out messages and pleas for a good hearted person to step up. Meanwhile everyone else from the greeters at the information and registration desk to the veterinarians and assistants in the portable clinic did their best to comfort and reassure both us, Henrietta and I.

Henrietta's hero arrived in the form of a lanky two legged meat smoking food vender with a gentlemanly southern demeanor. As an artist I see the potential for a lively illustrated book. Stephen Bowles is a true champ and animal loving guy. Besides, what dog would not appreciate a sidekick that grills and proudly says, "Sit in the front seat with me."

I witnessed compassionate love towards everyone that walked in and out the doors, four and two legs alike, in the only way St. Francis of Assisi would have approved. Unconditional.

Colleen74

Donor

Rating: 5

A most compassionate group of people dedicated to helping others. Love their energy, hearts and purpose of helping those that need help taking care of their animals for whatever reason.Thank you for your hard work, loving others as God, giving those a helping hand in taking care of their pets.

William97

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love this charity. Very low overhead, in the community it serves. Accessibility for the homeless. They use the funds for the charity not for salaries and overhead. Great Charity. Well managed.

Christine169

Client Served

Rating: 5

Helped us and our pets and our feral neighborhood animals that we take care of through a rough time because of an life changing accident. Thank you

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First is an amazing organization that helps the homeless population take care of their pet/companions. This group helps them with food, vaccinations, vet care, & actually and so , so much more. They not only take care of the needs of the pets, they take care of the souls of the people they serve.

1 Patti53

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love what this group does. So needed in our community. What heart this group has.

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2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love what this non profit does. What better than helping the homeless and underserved keep their companion pets. So needed in our area.

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1 Megan117

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe in the importance of this organization. My son has autism and a variety of mental health issues. Our dog is is only friend and dearest companion. Four legged friends provide a level of comfort and love that is priceless. It's imperative that right isn't taken away from people due to situations beyond their control. My daughter and I volunteer regularly and she is learning important life lessons. At 10 years old she is learning that our place in this big world is not to judge , but to serve however we can.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

my dog eats first is a blessing to the homeless comunity of louisville kentucky with all the food an help for our sweetest friends, (our pets) thankyou for helping me with isabelles shots & tags, we wish this nonprofit organization the blessings of love an wealth so you may allways be there for our best friends, (our pets) love you bethany an all the voliteers of my dog eats first, miss ya, cowboy~n~isabelle, @cowboys~cafe, smoketown, usa. have you huged your pitt~bull today..

3 Natalie70

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First has changed the lives of not only the homeless but the under served in our community. Pets enrich the lives of their owners, bringing more meaning and love. To have an organization like MDEF brings hope and compassion for pets and their owners!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If My Dog Eats First didn't support the under-served pets and pet owners in our community, I don't know who else would. This is a non-profit I can get behind.

2 Heather243

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a great non profit organization that also works with other organizations to help the homeless and their pets in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

2 Jennifer523

Donor

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First is an amazing organization that uniquely serves the Kentuckiana area homeless population, and the under-served, and their beloved pets. This wonderful organization provides the pet food, supplies, vaccinations and spay/neuter services that allow people to keep their pet, even when they have lost everything else. The founder of this nonprofit is kind, very business and marketing savvy, and manages any donations of funds, pet food, and supplies very carefully.

I think of this organization, and the founder, as a knot, so to speak. The kind of knot that helps to keep people holding on when they are at the end of their rope.

4 Writer

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What an amazing organization this is. Helping the homeless with their pets is such a thoughtful needed service. Beth Green is an amazing person. I'm so glad this has gotten off the ground, & is a huge success.

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5

Donor

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First is an amazing organization that helps the homeless take care of their pets. Every Wednesday this organization (rain or shine) in Louisville, KY, meets up to help the homeless with their pets. This group tirelessly helps them with food, vaccinations, vet care, & actually anything that the homeless needs for their pets...they help. If they can't keep their pets for awhile, they will try to find foster care for them temporarily.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MDEF is wonderful! I have recently started volunteering with them and love it. They provide the necessities such as pet food and partner with vet services for people who are homeless or otherwise cannot afford it. They also provide so much more - litter, toys, beds, blankets, collars and leashes...plus the opportunity for everyone to come together with a common love: pets!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First are the real deal. I have volunteer with them a few times and they are a very compassionate group of people.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I read about this organization on facebook and also heard about it through facebook friends involved in rescue in KY. I started making donations to them after I saw them step up and help a homeless woman who was living in her van in frigid temps with her 2 dogs and 3 cats, some of whom were elderly . They immediately helped her rent a hotel room and provided food for the animals. They went above and beyond by asking for donations for the woman and providing her with gas and grocery gift cards. They also have an event, I think weekly, where they hand out pet food to the homeless of Louisville and provide some vet care through volunteer veterinarians. Awesome organization! And I think every city should follow their example and offer this valuable resource to the homeless.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I read about this organization in the online news. In the photo, a homeless man standing in a sleet covered his dog by a jacket donated by a kind driver to keep his friend warm. Commenters wanted to help and one person shared that MDEF has assisted the man and the dog. I found MDEF's website and learned what it does. It touched me that there is an organization as unique as this one - helping those without the place to stay AND their non-human families. I live hundreds of miles away from Louisville, KY, yet I felt honored to donate and let others know about this work of compassion and love.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First is one of the most important non-profits that I know. Through their work, individuals needing help get another chance to have yet another day with their animal companions. Aiding this companionship helps promote good mental and emotional health which in turn can positively affect physical health. My Dog Eats First is truly a healer and life saver.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First is an organization founded to help homeless and struggling people keep their pets. We provide food and medical assistance. Often our participants have no one else in their lives but their pet. These pets provide unconditional love and acceptance to many people who get far too little encouragement.

4 Kimi M.

Donor

Rating: 5

Love this organization and the love and support they offer the homeless and their "furry family".

4 Amanda200

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Dog Eats First is doing important work in the Louisville community, and it's led by a passionate founder and board. They spread compassion and acceptance to pets and their humans, and are incredibly well-organized given the lean way they operate. You know when you donate to or volunteer with MDEF, almost EVERYTHING goes to the pets and people they serve. I highly recommend getting involved in any way.

5 Melody10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've seen their work first hand and know how lucky we are they are here.