About Katya Friedman

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So far Katya Friedman has created 27 blog entries.

DDR is featured in the Harvard Business Review!

We’ve been featured in the latest Harvard Business Review, and we’re excited to tell you all about it! In an article titled, “Are You Solving the Right Problems?” author Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg reveals that most companies and organizations are good at solving problems, but not necessarily good at figuring out what the real problems actually are. He goes on to explain that reframing problems often brings about unexpected, creative solutions.

Using dog adoption as an example, DDR is highlighted for the way in which we reframe the issue. Instead of focusing on promoting pet adoption or marketing the sad realities, we employ our Shelter Intervention Program (SIP). Of course we want to see more animals get adopted and of course we hurt for those at risk of euthanasia, but we come at it by trying to keep pets with their original families in the first place. If these animals don’t come into the shelter system at all, we can help everybody – the families, the shelter staff, and most of all the animals.
Wedell-Wedellsborg explains how whenever a family comes into the shelter to hand over a pet, one of our staff asks without judgment if the family would prefer to keep the pet. If the answer is yes, we try to help resolve the situation, instead of waiting for the animal to come into the system and then trying to get the dog rescued or adopted. Instead of demonizing the family or casting blame.
We are very grateful to be singled out for our approach, compassion, and hard work. The author goes so far as to say that thanks to our reframing, overcrowded shelters may someday be a thing of the past. Here’s to hoping that dream comes true!

Christmas in Compton toy drive was a huge success!

Thank you to everyone who donated toys or time to making our annual Christimas in Compton Toy Drive another HUGE SUCCESS! Every child who came to our event went home with at least one new toy and book, as well as lots of goodies. For many of these children, this was their only special toy. For all of these children, it was fun family time, with their mom dad, aunts, uncles, sisters and brothers and cousins, too. Whole families waited in line as early as 8:00AM despite our event starting at 11:00AM! The arts and crafts station was a hit, as were other activities such as dancing, cookie decorating, and the BARK therapy dogs to read with. Plenty of cookies and candies were eaten and prizes were won, but the highlight of our event was none other than Santa Claus. He arrived just before noon, eager to bring more holiday cheer.

Approximately 200 children attended our family event. So why do we, a dog rescue, host a toy giveaway?
Because our work does not stop at the dog. It includes the entire family. And this drive was not about the toys. It was about promoting reading and compassion for others, especially for animals. We were able to provide children an opportunity to pet well-mannered dogs and spend time with people who love and rescue animals, an experience very different than what many of them know.

We wrapped up at 2:00PM tired and happy, however while we were getting ready to leave, we learned from one of the kids that a kitten had gotten stuck in a tire! Thanks to Amanda who got under the car and was able to get the injured, scared kitty out of an engine, he was saved from further harm. And thanks to Aura, he now has a loving foster home. It was the perfect way to end our event, watching the kids see compassion for animals in action. To give them presents was incredibly nice; to give them an animal rescue experience they could be proud of was priceless.

Donate to our annual toy drive!

We’re an animal organization. So why do we organize a toy drive and give away countless gifts every year at East Rancho Dominguez Park in Compton? Because the truth is we’re not just a group of animal lovers who sweep into the community a couple times a month to sterilize some pets. We are part of the community. We share the same needs, the same hurts, and the same wishes. We are deeply rooted in the success of Compton’s animals, and also in Compton’s people. In its families and its children.

For a decade now, DDR has provided free spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and microchips for all dogs living in Compton. Over the yeartoy-drives we have expanded our services to include other cities bordering the City of Compton proper, along with expanding the types of services we offer. To date, more than 10,000 dogs and cats have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped since that crisp December morning back in 2006 when we held our first mobile clinic at Tower of Faith Church. Then about three years ago, the park director approached us about helping to collect toys to brighten the holiday for a child in need living in Compton. One thing led to another, and next thing we knew we were organizing a toy drive for not just that one child, but for many children whose holiday we could brighten.

The tradition has continued and grown. This year’s giveaway is scheduled for Sunday, December 18th. Per usual, we will start the day early at 8 am, setting up tables and placing toys by age group. BARK reading dogs (trained therapy dogs who children can read out loud to in order to increase their confidence) will be part of the day, as will plenty of books, an arts and crafts station, and Santa Claus. Our goal is to send every child home with a new book as a way to encourage literacy, one of the keys to a brighter future. We love to watch fun being had at this event, but can’t put into words the expression on these kids’ faces when they’re given their presents. Most of us know that look of true joy and how fulfilling it is to witness. It’s like they’re being reminded of their spot on the planet, and of how unique and important and valued they are.

So I’m asking you, will you help us reach our goal of collecting 300 toys for the children of Compton? Will you help more kids feel seen and heard this holiday season ? Will you take a look at our Amazon Wish List and give with a full heart? Toys for children ages 8-10 years, specifically boys, are especially needed. We are thrilled to be of service to families living in some of the most undeserved areas of Los Angeles again this year, and to spread more holiday cheer. Please consider being a part of those smiles and know it also makes you part of the solution. We thank you in advance for your generosity.

A little time, a whole lot of compassion.

We come at our work with limited time (there is always more to do for animals and the people who love them!), but with unlimited compassion. Once in a while we wonder if it’s enough, if it’s making a difference. And we always realize that it is, that in fact this is all we need to do to make a difference. Lives are changed for the better, proving to us that big results are born out of consistent care and hard work.

Gregory and troubleFor example, recently at the weekly Woof Wednesday at our Pet Resource Center, a man named Gregory brought in his dog Trouble to see our counselors. Gregory wanted to make sure that Trouble was healing properly after being neutered almost two weeks ago in one of our mobile clinics for the Skid Row community. After speaking with us for a bit, Gregory began feeling ill and ended up passing out in our lobby at the Inner City Law Center (ICLC). It was scary to say the least, not knowing Gregory very well, or whom to call on his behalf, or even where he lived. We knew he might have to go to the hospital, and that Trouble would need to go somewhere to be kept safe.

The caring staff at ICLC stepped up and offered to let Gregory sleep at the office for a bit. After some time, he slowly woke up from what we now know was a bad reaction to medicine, something that could happen to anybody. It became apparent that Gregory really needed help. So we sent Trouble to the North Central Animal Shelter with Dominque, a LAAS staff member who is at our center every week, in order to keep him safe. Some of you may not agree with taking a dog to the shelter, but in this case the shelter was a secure place to keep Trouble until we were able to figure out what would happen to Gregory. And we could keep an eye on him there.

The next day, Gregory returned to Inner City Law Center. Two of their staff members drove him up to the shelter to redeem Trouble. Our dear friends at Home Dog LA were set up as they regularly are, ready to help navigate Gregory through the paperwork process for redeeming Trouble as well as paying for the  fees to bail him out, something Gregory could not afford. Trouble went home less than 24 hours after he had come in to the shelter!

Now imagine for a minute that the Pet Resource Center did not exist. That there was no caring ICLC staff or DDR counselors to look at Gregory’s situation as a medical crisis, not as just another person on Skid Row passed out in public. What would have happened had he been walking on the street and crashed out suddenly? What would have become of Trouble? Imagine this duo with nobody to care about them and nowhere to turn. The Pet Resource Center is more than just a weekly spot to pick up pet food; it’s a place to connect with people who care. People who will act to help others. People who […]

Our first successful Pet Resource Center clinic!

Pet Resource Center clinic 1This past Saturday we had our first Pet Resource Center mobile spay and neuter clinic, which focused on serving Skid Row Community pets. By partnering with Spay4LA and LA Animal Services, the wonderful Dr. Anderson performed 13 spay and neuter surgeries on various cats and dogs. We were happy to see a lot of familiar faces, as well as meet new pet owners who needed to get a kitten or puppy vaccinated, microchipped, and dewormed. There were also pets already spayed and neutered who were in need of basic wellness exams or a thorough check of their skin and ears. All of the dogs we treated were licensed, many for the first time, and a few updated for up to three years.

How would we ever be able to carry out such a smooth, successful event without the support of so many? Our amazing volunteers passed out pet food, dog beds, pet carriers, collars and leashes. Everybody enjoyed lunch and snacks, then went home with a Little Pine hoody Pet Resource Center clinic 2sweatshirt thanks to a donation from Moby. We especially want to thank Inner City Law employee, Neri, who was in the office and ready to help us during the day, all day. Inner City Law Center allowed us to set up our clinic in the back of their parking lot, and the city of LA created a street closure for us! On top of it all, LA Animal Services provided us with an officer to issue licenses and vouchers, and Spay4LA staff made it possible to serve this community which lacks necessary services. We could not do it without these compassionate hearts.

A special thank you goes out to volunteers Burt and Sandy Dragotis who picked up and dropped off many of our pets and pet owners, going the extra mile (figuratively and literally!) to help families and pets in need. And finally, a special thanks to all of YOU. You, our friends and fans and core. You, who purchased items off our Amazon Wish List, allowing the Skid Row community to feel just a little more kindness. Every item we received from you was passed on to them. You, who keep us going and keep us strong. We look forward to many more Pet Resource Center clinics in 2017!

Bringing Brooklyn to Texas

Here’s a feel good story for you to enjoy this week!

We recently boarded Brooklyn, a former West Los Angeles shelter dog who was adopted by a veteran named Raleigh. Shortly after Raleigh rescued Brooklyn, he experienced trouble finding housing and found himself going through difficult times. He decided to head back home to Texas, but didn’t know what to do about Brooklyn. Already having a service dog who was permitted to stay with him, Brooklyn was considered his pet. He loved his pet; he wanted to love his life.

Returning Brooklyn to the animal shelter was not an option for Raleigh. unnamed-9So his counselor at the Veterans Affairs office contacted one of our volunteers and they began working together to help Brooklyn through this time of transition. We agreed to board him at our Downtown Dog Rescue kennel for one month, buying Raleigh some time to plan Brooklyn’s trip to join him. We were happy to offer free boarding and a little leash work in order to keep Brooklyn safe because we knew that soon this cherished dog would get on a plane with his owner. Together, along with his service dog, they would make their way to their Texas home and live out their years as a family.

For us, this is what it’s all about. Meeting people where they’re at, extending a hand, and finding a way to make it work for the animals and the people who love them. Sometimes the solutions are easier, and sometimes they’re tough. But every time, we try to pinpoint an answer to one simple question: “How can we help you?” Here’s to Brooklyn and Raleigh, and their happily ever after.

Here is our Pet Resource Center research so far!

One of the most important components to our new Pet Resource Center on Skid Row is collecting data on who we’re serving in order to better support the community as well as focus our mission. Having been open a little over a month now, we’d like to share some of our initial reporting with you.

The age group we appear to be helping the most so far spans from 50-69 years old. We’ve been moved by how dedicated these people are to their pets, and how bonded they are to one another. The research also shows some good news: not everyone who comes into the center is homeless. About half of those we assist live in some type of housing and found out about us through a case manager or another agency working in the Skid Row community. Less than half came in to get a spay/neuter voucher, and roughly 15% of people needed help with a problem involving their animal. Though not by huge margins, the majority of those we served were female, up to 80% spoke English, and more than 70% were unemployed. Most are receiving public assistance of some sort, and walked to make their way to our door.

Almost 90% of the people we spoke to needed help with a dog whom they were the primary caretaker for. Half of the dogs we saw had never been vaccinated with a rabies shot, and over 70% were not microchipped. Over half of the pets were given to the person by a family member, friend, or neighbor, and the next most popular way animals were acquired was because they were found as strays. Most of the pets were found to be in fair condition, neither too thin nor unkempt. Among the most popular services we offered were flea treatment and deworming medication, microchipping, spay/neuter, vaccinations, and our free food program.

14051779_1164538533608350_8962126221143658928_nTake Irene and Toby (pictured here) as a prime example of how these numbers translate into reality. They were so appreciative to learn that they now have a place to come to each week to pick up pet food. Toby was also neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped through our program, and we helped Irene make Toby an emotional support animal so that she could get into housing with her pet. This is a woman who had been turned down by the shelter because they did not accept animals, unless they were for emotional support. With the help of the Pet Resource Center they both slept soundly inside that very night, and were able to stay together. After all, they are a family.

The data we’ve collected thus far proves that what we’re doing is working. We are proud and reinvigorated. We are grateful to be giving back to an underserved community that needs it. But we are not the solution. We’re just a small part of an overall effort to implement better solutions that will end the homeless crisis. Hopefully more programs are being developed and more answers are being found that will truly help those living on the street, both two-legged and four-legged. Because the world is unpredictable and lives are […]

The Savings Pet Challenge is ending soon – but our work isn’t! Please support us.

There’s a Bonus Challenge going on right now as part of the Michelson Found Animals Saving Pets Challenge that we’re involved with! In short, the first 200 donations made online of at least $25 will get a $25 matching gift! That means Found Animals is giving away $5,000 worth of matching donations. Can yours be one of them? Can you shower DDR with some double love? As you know, every dollar we raise goes towards our programs. Programs designed to help animals and the people who care for them.

13645086_10157196165940384_717937027164994534_nLike this woman pictured here with the amazing smile, who we were able to help through our Pet Resource Center at the Inner City Law Center in downtown LA.  She is another grateful pet parent who received free  supplies and services from us. Without our help, she and her dogs had nowhere to turn and no idea how to get what they needed.

As a donor, you will be fueling the good work we are proud to do. You will also have the chance to win a Petcube, which is an interactive pet camera that lets you watch, talk, and play with your pets from your phone when you’re away from home! There will be two winners among those who give $25 or more online, and we wish you the best of luck in being one of them.

We already consider ourselves truly lucky because we have you. Without our supporters, we wouldn’t have the means to be able to keep going. Thank you for giving us the ability and the motivation to fight on. We hope you will make a donation today and help us take advantage of the matching gift offer. Together we can help more families in need.