Pet food drive benefits Browning cats, dogs

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  • Deb Carstensen, left, and Christina Stevens with pet food donations to be sent to Browning at Stevens’ 33 Baker Hair and Body Salon in Whitefish on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

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    Pet food donations to be sent to Browning at 33 Baker Hair and Body Salon in Whitefish on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Deb Carstensen, left, and Christina Stevens with pet food donations to be sent to Browning at Stevens’ 33 Baker Hair and Body Salon in Whitefish on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    Pet food donations to be sent to Browning at 33 Baker Hair and Body Salon in Whitefish on Thursday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

Two women have made it their missions to lend support to the four-legged citizens of Browning as the town digs out in the wake of recent snowstorms.

Whitefish resident Christina Stevens, with the help of her friend, Deb Carstensen of Polson, has organized a donation drive reaching across the Flathead in hopes of collecting pet food to send to families and shelters in Browning.

Stevens and Carstensen started reaching out to businesses and individuals on Tuesday, including the Polson branches of Murdoch’s and Walmart.

According to Carstensen, Murdoch’s donated over $300 worth of pet food and Walmart agreed to donate 100 pounds of pet food.

Carstensen said several individuals have reached out to offer private donations, but the women have a long way to go to meet their goal.

“I want to fill a semi,” Carstensen said. “The need is so great that even after they dig out from this blizzard, you’re still going to have a lot of hungry animals up there, so it’s not going to go to waste.”

Both animal lovers, Carstensen said she and Stevens could not help but think of the pets and strays that needed the same help being offered to the people of Browning when the blizzards hit earlier this month.

Businesses and other donors across Northwest Montana sent truckloads of food and supplies for people and feed for livestock, but Carstensen said she found that little was being done to help the dogs and cats.

Besides family pets, Browning also boasts a large population of stray animals.

Rather than putting the burden of donations on the already stretched resources of local animal shelters, Carstensen said she and Stevens decided to take it upon themselves to fill that need.

Over the last week, the women have collected several carloads of food and treats, and Carstensen said they hope to take a delivery to Browning this weekend.

Carstensen said they are still taking both private and business donations of pet food, pet supplies or monetary gifts and are also looking to borrow a trailer for the haul.

Donations can be taken to the 33 Baker Hair and Body Salon in Whitefish.

For more information, call Stevens at 862-9633.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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