New pet pantry opening soon in Vancouver’s West End

New pet pantry opening soon in Vancouver's West End

“I want to make sure people don’t have to go through that and have to choose between food for themselves and food for their pet.”

Vancouver’s West End is about to be home to a new pet pantry so those needing a helping paw to feed and care for their dog or cat have a low-barrier option in the neighbourhood.

Brittany Kelsall, owner of In Dog We Trust pet services, is behind the incoming pantry, along with another in East Vancouver.

“I aged out of foster care and I had a dog and there were no resources for us,” Kelsall tells V.I.A. “I want to make sure people don’t have to go through that and have to choose between food for themselves and food for their pet.”

The pantries, along with the Good Dog Library, are like other community pantries, though instead of free food for people, they have food, toys and other supplies for cats and dogs.

The new one will be opening up at 990 Nicola St.

The original pet pantry

Set up in January 2022, Kelsall’s first pet pantry operates near where she used to live on East 40th Avenue near Windsor Street. She’s since moved, but a neighbour has taken on responsibility for the little wooden structure.

“It’s being hosted by someone else and she helps out,” she says. “There’s been no backlash which has been amazing; I was worried neighbours would complain.”

Kelsall is supplied by a combination of community donations and pet companies offering their own products to help out. She estimates it’s about a 50/50 split where she gets supplies from. As she runs a pet service company, she’s able to use those connections to get what’s available and make sure it gets to the pantry.

Along with food and toys, there are pet care items like leashes, cat litter, and bowls.

“It goes pretty quick,” she says. “Sometimes things will sit for a while, but it’s pretty steady.”

She notes things have amped up somewhat in the last six months.

More pet pantries

Given the new pantry will be in the West End, a neighbourhood she doesn’t visit as often, Kelsall says keeping in stocked will be more dependent on the community, but she will still care for it and deliver supplies.

She’s also hopeful other neighbourhoods might be interested in setting up their own pet pantries for residents in their own communities. 

“If people can host one I would be happy to help build another pantry,” she says, noting she’s had help in the actual construction of the pantries from Capella Designs and Willow and Stump.

“I would love to see more of them, however that looks,” she says.

Along with more pantries, she’s hopeful the community will be able to help out feline friends a bit more, too.

“I think there’s a need for cat stuff,” Kelsall says. “Cat litter especially.”

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