Feeding pets of the homeless
Rhonda Cox-Martinez feeds and nurtures homeless dogs. She calls them beautiful and wonderful.
In 2016, while helping her church feed homeless people, Cox-Martinez noticed that many of the guests had dogs – and were feeding the pets their own food. She asked her pastor, the Rev. Luke Conway at Lakewood United Methodist Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas, what would prevent the church from having a pet ministry. His response: "Nothing."
Cox-Martinez loaded her Nissan Rogue with bags of dog food and a container filled with bowls, blankets, wipes, ointments and other items for dogs and started distributing them. The Lakewood Pet Ministry quickly expanded and provided 500 pounds of food to homeless dogs in June and July of 2016 alone. "Currently, we feed about 400-800 pounds of dog food a month," she said.
She and other volunteers also make sure the dogs have basic vaccinations, flea and tick protection in the summer and de-worming. "During the summer months, we help the dogs fight dehydration and electrolyte imbalance by providing the flavored water with electrolyte powder mixed in," said Cox-Martinez.
The dogs are also spayed or neutered and some have had minor surgeries. Now a 501c3 organization, the volunteers work out of the parking lot and clinic of His Throne Ministry, a church that ministers to and feeds the homeless.
Lakewood Church members donate food, treats, toys, blankets, collars, leashes, crates, small beds, cash and more. Others manage the Facebook and church website pages and continually take pictures of the dogs to post.
Lakewood also continues to feed homeless people's bodies and souls with food and by spreading the Good News about Jesus Christ.
"As you can tell, we also love these beautiful, wonderful pets," says Cox-Martinez.
The description of the pet ministry on the Lakewood website reads: "Alone on the street, there might be only two living beings who give that homeless person unconditional love, and who will never abandon them: their dog and Jesus Christ."