Tim Geen has never been a delivery person before, but this pandemic has put his day job on hold, and it’s the least he could do to tide over some furry clients.
“It’s not very much fun,” the animal cruelty investigator admitted with a chuckle. “But somebody’s gotta do it, ya know? It’s very important to the care and well-being of these animals. They’re depending on us.”
In March, Geen delivered close to 3,000 pounds of donated dog and cat food to hundreds of pets all over Tulsa County.
COVID-19 ramifications have forced many owners into a financial pinch, and others can’t get out of the house to get food like they used to, Geen said. Tulsa SPCA’s food delivery program is an attempt to bridge the gap.
“We’ve known for a long time that many cruelty calls are simply poverty related,” said agency spokeswoman Jen Bladen. “(Geen) can’t counsel (owners) the way he normally would, but he’s dropping off dog and cat food. We’re still able to prevent cruelty through preventing hunger.”
Geen continues to take cruelty reports for the agency, but investigations are suspended based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, he said.
And although he’s taking social distancing seriously, the retired police officer has never been one to stay retired — “You can only paint a wall in your bedroom so many times,” he said. He just can’t stay inside knowing what needs to be done.
“Age is just between your ears,” Geen said in a Texas drawl. “I feel like I’m 30.
“I’m happy to do it and proud to do it.”
The “70-something”-year-old starts every day early at the empty shelter, and he spends about two hours combing through requests, confirming delivery addresses and mapping out the path of least resistance. Then it’s about half an hour more to load up various amounts of food into his little white van, and he’s off.
Geen said his call load varies daily, but it seems he always has a couple of requests waiting on him when he gets back to the office. He tries to get to them the same day, but sometimes he can’t, and he hates when the days spill over into the next.
“If I don’t stay current on these things, they overwhelm me,” he said. But as long as there’s food to deliver, he’ll be that guy.
“Animal cruelty is a serious matter that gets very little attention,” Geen said. “It’s a shame, too. The animals pay the price, and it’s not their fault. Breaks my heart sometimes.”
Tulsa SPCA is gladly accepting dog and cat food, cat litter and monetary donations to keep Geen’s deliveries going. To donate, visit tulsaspca.org/donate.
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