GOLDENMEADOW, La.- For pets in some of Louisiana's coastal communities, times are tough-- and their owners are feeling the pinch. The spill is putting a financial strain on a number of people, who are now faced with the decision to either pay some of their bills or keep their pets.
'I have four dogs. I have some Labradors, a Daschund and a little Chihuahua,' said Robert Plaisance of Golden Meadow. 'It's hard to get by.'
Plaisance is a long-time commercial fisherman. He signed up for BP's Vessels of Opportunity program, but has yet to hear back. In the meantime, the oil spill has put a stop to his livelihood.
'[Louisiana] Wildlife and Fisheries had certain areas open and as they would close it, I'd move further north,' he said. 'As they would go, I would move a little bit more 'til there was no more places for us to fish.'
The oil spill is being acutely felt in some of the bayou communities of Lafourche Parish. Shrimping and fishing boats that would normally be out on the water now sit idle. That financial strain caused dozens of people to show up at a pet food giveaway in Golden Meadow, made possible by some helping hands from more than 300 miles away.
'We saw that the pets were going to the shelter because people can't afford them anymore. It just broke my heart-- your pets are your comfort, you know,' said Erica Callais, of the Shreveport-based Pet Education Project, which helped organize the pet food drive.
Volunteers loaded up a trailer and their vehicles with more than three and a half tons of pet food, which were donated by people in the Shreveport area.
'We're their neighbors in North Louisiana. We want to help out in South Louisiana,' Callais said. 'Even though we're not here, we're here in spirit and we're praying for them and we're thinking about them.'
'It breaks my heart. I have a dog and I love him to death and I couldn't imagine having to give him up,' said volunteer Andria Cheramie of Larose. 'That's why I wanted to do some volunteering for the oil spill.'
The effort is one that the pet owners appreciated.
'Right now, we're going though hard times. Many people waiting for jobs, BP saying they'll call them and they never call them,' said Raymond Daniel of Golden Meadow. 'So for this right here, it's a big, big help-- a big help for us.'
The Pet Education Project plans on holding another pet food drive in early August. For more information on the future location, their efforts and how you can help, go to peteducationproject.org