About Katya Friedman

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So far Katya Friedman has created 24 blog entries.

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.

 

Our Pet Resource Center on Skid Row is open…and off to a great start!

As you may have heard, we’ve started an easily accessible Pet Resource Center headquartered on Skid Row. After being open just a few weeks, we’ve seen so much need and enjoyed so much success already.

During only our second week, we’ve helped 11 pet owners, some of whom were living on the streets of Skid Row, others who are in supportive housing. Medical vouchers were provided so that people could get vet exams and treatment for pets with medical conditions. Spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and microchipping were also offered, and everybody received free pet food, collars, leashes, and other necessary supplies. We also gave out pet ID tags, as we do for every pet that comes through our program. And what we realized through our interactions and conversations was that by providing opportunities for pet owners with no resources to care for their cats and dogs with dignity, in the way all who love their pets want to do, we are giving so much more than services. What we’re really doing is investing in them as caretakers and human beings, empowering them to be the pet guardians they wish to be. We’re helping them feel good about that, and therefore about themselves again.

Resized_20160721_141315For example, Little Jackie had been at the South LA Animal Shelter too long. Hiding in her cubby, scared and shy, it was doubtful that this sweet little dog would ever be adopted. Being involved with homeless advocacy, we are familiar with LAMP, a nonprofit organization working to end homelessness and help some of the most vulnerable individuals in Los Angeles through a continuum of services and housing. So when our counselor, Amanda, heard that a LAMP community member needed a dog, she thought of Jackie. Because of our collaborations, Jackie has a home today and is making someone very happy! Her unconditional love will help her new owner as he breaks out of the cycle of poverty. And his unconditional love for Jackie has made the difference between life and death.

Another example of how we’ve helped is Tyrone. He is one of the 11 cases who visited our Pet Resource Center recently. When his friend could no longer care for Precious, he offered to take her in. But what he wasn’t prepared for was a puppy – Tyrone had no idea she was pregnant! Through our program, Precious and her puppy, Star, will be supported with basic services including dog food, crates to keep them safe, and eventually both dogs will be spayed and licensed. Now Tyrone and his girls will be supported as they remain together, an intact family.

Our partnership with Inner City Law Center (ICLC), a non-profit law firm providing legal representation for underserved communities of LA, has made this innovative program possible. We’re happy to report that other agencies which provide services for homeless communities have already been in touch with us and are interested to see how we can potentially work together! This makes us even more excited as we look ahead into the future and gradually, responsively tailor our growth.

Because we at DDR know that pets provide stability and love, and many people living […]

Pet Resource Center – coming to Skid Row on July 13th!

Unique partnerships are often at the core of our work, for we cannot accomplish our mission alone. Innovated, new approaches must be created in order to help animals and the people who care about them. That is why we’re happy to tell you about our latest partnership with Inner City Law Center (ICLC) and Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS), which is focused on providing an easily accessible Pet Resource Center on Skid Row on July 13th.

Inner City Law CenterInner City Law Center is a non-profit law firm providing legal representation for the most vulnerable individuals and families in LA who have now where else to turn, regularly combating slum housing, preventing homelessness, and aiding homeless veterans. Los Angeles Animal Services is on of the largest animal shelter systems in the United States, managing six shelters and a high volume of pets. Put them together, and that’s a lot of power we’re lucky to align with. It means we can make a bigger difference.

At DDR, we believe that what is inside a person’s wallet should not be what determines whether they are a loving pet owner, capable of providing care and kindness. We’ve witnessed firsthand how many people living on the streets often rely on their pets for emotional support and companionship, as well as the number of low-income families struggling to pay rent, never mind caring for beloved family pets. Our Pet Resource Center on Skid Row will provide resources and services so that this community is better able to care for and keep their pets. By enabling more families to stay housed and connected, we hope to prevent fewer pets from entering the shelter system and fewer unwanted litters from being produced.

We are so excited about this partnership and the impact it is sure to make. For starters, it gives low-income residents of Skid Row a place to go when they need help with their pets. Many individuals experiencing homelessness or financial hardship are unaware that resources like us even exist. More over, many struggling fear seeking help, assuming it will lead to their cherished animals being taken away from them. We know that no matter what a person’s housing or financial situation may be, there are ways to keep pets with their people, and keep them all safe and happy.

The Pet Resource Center will be open one day a week and run by us and our amazing volunteer team. ICLC will provide the space at its office on Skid Row, and LAAS is supplying the free spay/neuter vouchers plus help with first-time animal registration. The center will provide much more, such as:

  • Free spay/neuter vouchers
  • Assistance with animal registration
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchips
  • ID tags
  • Collars
  • Leashes
  • Crates
  • Access to emergency boarding and short term foster care
  • Medical care at approved partner veterinarian clinics
  • Assistance with transportation to animal hospitals
  • Short-term motel stays for persons who do not have a permanent residence when their pet is undergoing a non-outpatient medical procedure
  • Trained, volunteer counselors to provide the necessary services and offer support

So imagine being somebody who is desperate […]

1st Picks for 2nd Chances – Meet Daisy!

A daisy can brighten your day. We’re not talking about the flower, we’re talking about our Daisy, a 4-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier who bonds tightly with her people. This beautiful girl is calm around the house, but also loves running around a yard and laying in the sun. She is not destructive and can be home alone an entire day without any problems at all.

We rescued Daisy when she was a puppy, and she was fearful in general back then. But being young came to her advantage and she was able to gracefully learn about life, behaved great with other dogs, and slowly grew lDaisy1ess anxious in new situations. Her discomfort in the world did not go away quickly and perhaps it never will entirely; however, she is very smart! She learns slowly and gets it. Then about a year ago, Daisy was adopted. Unfortunately her adopters added another dog to the home who was challenging. Living with a dog who did not like her, plus moving into a small space requiring several walks a day, was too much stress. Daisy was returned to us more uneasy around dogs, and better suited for a peaceful, nice life without other pets to share a home with. She would prefer not to tag along on errands with you, and instead stay home and greet you excitedly when you walk through the door.

Daisy’s dream would be to have a house and a yard, as well as an owner who gives belly rubs and accepts her for who she is – a truly wonderful companion. She is so very loving, she will lay by your feet for hours and be your absolute best friend. If you don’t have much time to spend walking and working with a dog, but would enjoy having a buddy around who does not ask for much, then Daisy is your lady! We believe wholeheartedly that the right home is out there just waiting to find her…and she’s waiting for you, too.

Daisy 2As DDR the rescue group, we’re all about second chances. We believe all animals deserve a second chance, and we stand by each of our rescue dogs. They are worthy souls living up to their potentials, some getting there easier and quicker than others. And yet there are a few dogs that stand out because they have unique needs, because they’ve been with us so long, or because they’ve been patiently waiting for the right family to call their own. Daisy’s story is the forth and last in our four-part series called 1st Picks for 2nd Chances. We sincerely hope you will read each of these tales, share them widely, and open your hearts.

Daisy is house-trained, spayed, vaccinated and micro-chipped. To learn more about her, please click on this link! And don’t forget to share her story with your friends, family, and coworkers. Who knows who might be her destiny – maybe even consider opening your home if you’re a good fit! The person who adopts Daisy or any one of these 1st Picks for 2nd Chances dogs will get free boarding at the DDR […]