In early February 2018, Reddit user Puchojenso posted, "Running low on doggie food. What can I give my dog until I have money to buy her food?"
She said she had some rice, bread, canned beans and a third of a jar of peanut butter. Those supplies had to last her, her spouse and her pup for about two weeks until her next paycheck.
Not long after the question was asked, a Redditor named wafflediva posted that she'd be glad to buy a bag of dog food online and send it to her home.
"Dude, for people like you is why I still have faith in humanity as a whole," wrote shadowscx3, witnessing the kind exchange. "I guess it's hard to explain but it's hard to love people nowadays when all you see is evil all around ... Thank you, kind redditor may life return your selfless good deeds back to you x100."
A few more people quickly followed suit, offering to send food for the pup and the people in need.
But it turns out there is a subreddit just for people who need help for their furry friends. RandomActsofPetFood is a place where people with pets can ask for a little assistance when they're down on their luck. Strangers pop in, offering to send a bag of dog food, some kitty litter or some cans of cat food to tide them over until things get better.
Amazed by the kindness of strangers
Reddit user rawrenross, who lives in Ohio, was in a bind after losing her job and relying on her fiance's income for bills and rent. "Food for me, my fiance and my four cats was harder and harder to get," she tells MNN.
But after posting on the subreddit, she received two bags of dry cat food, two boxes of wet cat food, two boxes of litter and even a new toy for the cats to play with.
"I was very surprised at the kindness of strangers. It was really moving to see complete strangers immediately buy items out of their own money to send to me and my cats," she says. "I literally cried when the food and litter showed up at my doorstep; my own friends and family didn't help me, but complete strangers did, and it amazes me."
Not surprised, but grateful
Redditor mlcathcart from New York state was not terribly surprised when people she didn't know pitched in to help her out.
"I just had unexpected car repairs, which drained my bank account so I didn't have money to buy my cat, Oscar, more food or litter and I was running very low on both," she says. She had heard of this particular subreddit through other "random acts" subreddits she follows, so she posted and asked for assistance.
People sent Oscar some cat food and litter through an Amazon wishlist she provided.
"I wasn't surprised at all, I have seen how generous people are on that subreddit," she says. "So, while I wasn't surprised, I was very grateful that strangers were so generous."
When she got paid a week later, she says she made sure to pay it forward and bought other pet owners supplies for their pets.
Soft spot for a senior dog
Reddit user shedidntwakeup posted when she was caught in a tough situation. Just 20 years old and working part time in Honolulu, her parents divorced and her mom moved out, her brother went away to college and her father decided to travel the world in a "mid-life crisis type deal." They left her to care for Kihei, the family's 15-year-old Australian heeler, who has arthritis and hip problems, as well as some dementia.
"I live on my own with little to no assistance from my parents in one of the most expensive areas in the US, so RandomActsOfPetFood was a ridiculously huge help!" she says.
"The response I got was overwhelming! I had no idea so many people adored old doggies just as much as puppies ... I just wanted to give him the best possible experience for his last years. I can’t afford to give him much on my wages, but I would hate for him to have to live out his life on the same dry food he’s been eating for the past 15 years. At least this way he goes out with a happy tummy! I received package after package, and many people sent their gifts in anonymously. Everything from vitamins to joint medicine, treats and wet food."
People were so generous, that she restocked her Amazon wishlist because so many strangers wanted to help.
Offering help in the U.K.
Charlie the cat benefited from the kindness of a thoughtful stranger. (Photo: EnnexLeigh/imgur)
When Redditor SiberianPermaFrost of London saw Puchojenso's post thanking people for their donations for her dog and for her family, she learned about the existence of the subreddit. She immediately subscribed and posted an offer to help.
"Hit me up if you're running low on food for your fur babies," she posted.
"I adore animals and I often buy dog/cat food for the food banks in our local supermarket so doing this on Reddit is just an extension of that," she says.
One person responded. She needed litter and food for her cat, Charlie, in Scotland. SiberianPermaFrost sent her 20 kg (about 44 pounds) of litter, four dozen pouches of wet food and some kitty treats.
"I love animals so much. They bring pure, distilled joy to those of us that are paying attention so helping someone out that was struggling was an easy fix. They needed supplies, I had the means."