About Katya Friedman

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So far Katya Friedman has created 27 blog entries.

Happy third birthday to SIP!

Today is a special day for us. It is the third anniversary of our Shelter Intervention Prevention (SIP) program at the South LA Shelter. That’s three years of sitting in our little table inside the lobby of the shelter, five days a week, being available to the community 24/7. To date, we have assisted more than 5,000 families by keeping their pets with them, in their first home, which we believe should be their forever home. We’ve done so by offering a variety of services at low or no cost.

For three years our counselor Amanda has been meeting people where they’re at, without judgement, and helping provide them with resources and options so they can keep their pet. Provisions we have covered in medical care have ranged from treating mange to ear infections, suturing wounds, removing tumors, treating painful teeth, X-rays and bloodwork for sick pets, even saving puppies dying of parvo. We have also offered free dog training, both on the spot and in a weekly class for the community.

Three years of helping pay redemption costs for pets impounded at the shelter so families can stay together. Dog licenses and pet deposits have been covered, and we have even gone so far as to advocate for families struggling with landlord issues. We’ve provided free grooming, which can be quite necessary for dogs with painfully matted hair, as well as given rides to people and pets who couldn’t otherwise get to a veterinarian. On top of it all, monthly pet food is available to those who might be out of work or are homeless and need our help.

There has been so much work to do over these last three years. So much so that we’ve added another counselor, Yesenia, allowing Amanda to spend some of her time out in the community and expanding our range of services. Volunteers handle our hotline, which constantly receives calls, and Mauricio is our go-to handyman who we send out into the community to repair fences, deliver dog houses, and install dog runs  as needed. We often work with animal control officers who field complaints in order to secure proper pet safety. We’re so grateful these officers and LA Animal Services have been our partners in the program.

Since 2013, we have offered 1500 free spay/neuter surgeries. That’s 4,500 pets we’ve altered in the last three years! On the first Sunday of every month, we host free wellness care, including dentistry, ear, and skin treatments, all via a mobile clinic. On average, we do 175 free vaccinations and microchips each month at clinics, largely due to the incredible volunteer veterinarians and vet techs who donate their time regularly.

So what’s next? How will we make the next three even bigger and better? For starters, we’ll be launching a resource center at Inner City Law on Skid Row. There we will have the ability to assist homeless people and very low income pet owners who live on Skid Row. We will work to help them keep their pets healthy and happy as they hopefully transition out of the cycle of homelessness.

Thank you for celebrating with us today, and for supporting us over the past several years. Will you […]

Another successful clinic

Please don’t doubt how much of an impact you can make one day, in one way. On a lovely Sunday morning several weeks ago, in the middle of Gilbert Lindsay Park, 163 dogs and a few cats were vaccinated, microchipped, given flea and tick medication, and examined by volunteer vets, all at one of our free clinics.

We’ve been doing regular clinics at this park since June of 2015, and have literally watched puppies grow into healthy dogs before our eyes. Puppies who had come to our first clinics of the year are now spayed/neutered and fully vaccinated. For many of the families we have served, learning about the importance of vaccines as well as getting their dog microchipped and sterilized, is the beginning of setting their pets on the right path for life.

This clinic also brought about many new cases. New puppies were dewormed for the first time, and new clients got to know us. Some people came with specific health care concerns, like Maria who brought her two senior Chihuahuas, both already spayed/neutered and vaccinated, but who had problems chewing their food. After a volunteer vet examined their teeth, he discovered severe placque build up and several painful, rotting teeth. Maria knew her dogs needed dental care, but spending the majority of her income on rent and barely getting by, there was never money left over for her dogs to get it. We find this type of situation happens often. People know their pets need to see a vet, and yet they can’t afford it. It’s not that they don’t care; it’s that they don’t know where to find free or low costs resources, and in many cases, the options don’t exist. We work hard to be the resource they’ve been looking for. We work hard to be the option they need.


For Maria, we paid to have both of her dogs’ mouths cleaned and any bad teeth pulled. The Chihuahuas were also given a full senior blood panel. Maria was over the moon grateful for the assistance, but we were over the moon grateful, too. After all, we got to provide it. We got to be a part of offering a necessary service, to fill a gap that’s been building for way too long. A gap that has hurt our communities, people and animals alike. A gap that, simply put, stems from lack of support. At any point, it could be any of us needing that support. Wouldn’t you appreciate it if it were you?

We continue to find people who want to do the right thing but simply cannot or do not know how. Every clinic and every day, in one way or another, we intend to help narrow this gap which doesn’t have to exist at all. We intend to witness as many more animals grow into healthy pets in their happy homes.

A great article on financial problems and pets

We were so glad to see this article on Dogster.com. Every time our work is put out into the world, in front of new people, we garner more support. And more support inevitably means more animals get saved, more families get served. This is what matters to us.

Financial struggles should not be a reason that people have to leave beloved pets behind at the shelter. In many of the underprivileged communities in which we work, affordable vet care is scarce to absent. For many of the families we help, resources are not available, or if they are, the very people they’re made to assist don’t know about them. But how much money one has in their bank account does not correlate with the type of pet guardian they are, or how much love they have to give.

Therefore, we sit in the lobby of the South LA Shelter, week after week. We want people to know that it is safe to hope, that somebody else does understand and care, and that there are options. Whether it’s paying for spay/neuter or medical care, helping fix a backyard fence to keep a dog contained, contributing to fees to reclaim an impounded cat, offering free dog training classes, and more, our SIP program exists to provide an alternative to shelter relinquishment.

When we raise funds, it’s so that we can turn around to the people who need a hand and say, “Here. Let us help you pay for that.” It’s amazing how more often than not, those we serve do not take our assistance as a handout. They chip in whatever they can, too, and invest in their pet however they’re able. When we work long hours, weekends, and evenings, it’s so we can say, “Yes, we have the time to listen.” It’s incredible how many people simply need somebody to listen. And when we don’t give up and watch another pet leave the shelter doors, tail wagging, heading back home, we know our efforts are not in vain. It never gets old or commonplace to help a pet avoid the shelter, or to help keep a family whole.

Most of the people we work with are neither careless nor inconvenienced by their animals. Coming into the shelter is a last resort, it is the place they enter with tears in their eyes and a heavy heart because they’ve come to say goodbye. Being able to offer another way and to support them has proven to be not only rewarding for our organization, but most importantly, it’s proven to be quite necessary.

We hope our program and more programs like it create a domino effect of change, shift perspectives, and inspire action. We hope many more articles like this one bring the real issues to light, and encourage support where there was once judgement, faith where there was once fear, and life where there was once euthanasia. In our experience, most people are good. So are their pets. It’s our pleasure to help them.