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 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 […]

DDR Programs: LOVE ON A LEASH published in PASADENA WEEKLY

LOVE ON A LEASH
Formerly homeless dogs offer love to humans who’ve suffered the same fate
By Amy Tenowich 10/20/2011
“Come on, Peaches!” a spunky woman says enthusiastically as she enters the Skid Row Housing Trust office in downtown LA with an orange and white whippet. The little pup sniffs around and greets the other humans and canines waiting to go for their weekly stroll a few blocks to Pershing Square.
Since 1989, the nonprofit Skid Row Trust (aka the Trust) has preserved, built and operated extremely low-rent housing for LA’s homeless. Financed by government grants, foundation support and private contributions, the Trust currently has 1,492 tenants placed in 22 downtown apartment buildings and runs programs aimed at keeping them from winding up back on the streets.
While residents now have the security of a safe place to sleep, the no-pet policy leaves a void in those who equate “home” with having an animal. But now, thanks to an innovative new program, humans and animals are reconnecting.
“I wanted to figure out a way to have some animal time, so residents can benefit from the love that they give us,” says Jordan Press, resident services coordinator at the Trust and creator of the Dog Play event. Press saw flyers near her office for Downtown Dog Rescue, an organization that rehabilitates and carefully places formerly homeless, abused and neglected dogs into loving homes. She called, hoping to find volunteers willing to bring once-stray pooches to hang out with the Trust’s tenants who miss animal companionship. Since January 2010, up to 30 humans and dogs have gathered from 10:45 a.m. till noon every Wednesday to walk then relax together on the grass for some bonding.
Retiree Burt Dragotis of Pasadena, a volunteer with the Downtown Dog Rescue, has been coming every week with his furry wards Carley, Puppy and Greta, who has an endearing little snaggletooth. “Every Wednesday morning, these guys know what time it is,” Dragotis says of his leashed companions, whose tail wags and rump sways reveal their excitement.
Dragotis also looks forward to the weekly visits. “These guys are, all in their own way, very touching,” he says of the residents. “Part of it is being aware of life that isn’t so good for everyone.” Dragotis says he enjoys the immediate gratification of seeing the dogs and the people interacting. “For the majority of the world, it’s pretty damn tough.”

DDR Programs: Operation Safety Net in Action


What would it take to keep your dog from entering a shelter? That one question has saved countless dogs from entering the South LA shelter, since the program started in December 2008. The Safety Net Program is set up to assist low income dog owners in the South LA Animal Shelter area. A sign and postcards are available in the Center lobby to inform dog owners how they can keep their dog when they think they have run out of options. This is how the program works: Dog owners sometimes come into the South LA Shelter because they feel forced to surrender their dog. Most of the time the dog owner can’t afford to feed, vaccinate, spay/neuter, treat a minor medical issue, get basic obedience training, or even pay for a $15 dog license.


Rescued puppies through OPERATION SAFETY NET


With Safety Net, LA Animal Services staff and volunteers encourage the dog owner to take their dog home, and call the Downtown Dog Rescue phone number on the postcard given to them. When the dog owner calls the Downtown Dog Rescue Hotline Phone Number, a volunteer will return the call within 48 to help address the situation that brought the dog owner to the shelter. The great majority of the calls that we receive are a combination of several issues. Most dogs need to be spayed/neutered and/or vaccinated.

The program is modeled after Downtown Dog Rescue’s successful 13 year old Skid Row program to help homeless dog owners.

SUCCESS STORIES:
“Hi Cathy and Lori Thank you very much for all your help finding the right place for my dog’s examination, lucky for him he did not have to go through surgery. please tell everyone at Down Town Dog Rescue who had already made a donation for Zimba’s leg surgery that we appreciate their support and willingness to help a stranger. God bless you all.” – Carlos Orellana

OPERATION SAFTEY NET helped keep Mr. Salazar’s three pit bulls out of the South LA shelter.
“Hi Cathy!! Just to say Thanks…. My dogs are doing BETTTER …LUcky Is heeling well and PACH and GUERO are ok. tha medication work perfet. Please letme know if is something I can do to help ,I passing flyers whit the information abouth the program .. Letme know were are you goint to be next satuday please .. my sister have a female chihuahua and she want […]