ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hundreds of dogs living in largely Alaska Native villages in southwest Alaska won’t go hungry this spring after more than 8,000 pounds of dog food were delivered, a humanitarian effort coordinated by two of the nation’s largest animal welfare groups in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 242 30-pound bags arrived in Bethel, a southwest Alaska hub community, late Thursday on a cargo plane from Seattle.
The single employee of the Bethel Friends of Canines worked Friday to break the pallets apart and ferry the bags back to their building. There, the food will be stored for eventual distribution to those in need, including dog owners from about 35 communities dotting southwest Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
“Well, it’s definitely needed, and I think we are just very aware that the supply chain might be damaged in the near future,” said Theresa Quiner, the Bethel shelter’s vice president. “So it’s really comforting to know that we have this stash of dog food now in case people aren’t able to get dog food.”
The dog food drop from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States was necessary in roadless western Alaska because travel restrictions and dwindling supplies is making delivery of dog food to the region difficult during the coronavirus pandemic.
And it’s not just dog food. Quiner said she tried to order flour off Amazon and was told it would take a month to arrive. Many people order their dog food through Amazon.
“It’s really heartwarming that these organizations thought of us and just immediately knew that the supply chain gets difficult for everybody all over the country, that the communities out here in the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta are more vulnerable than elsewhere,” Quiner said.