A new fundraiser for us!

Donation alert! This month, Babes in Toyland Charity and Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies have teamed up to gather donations for us at Downtown Dog Rescue. We are so thankful they’ve come together to help us!

For starters, there are many opportunities to give through Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies, with 15 stores across LA and the South Bay. So if you need pet food or supplies, we encourage you to go there and donate beds, blankets, collars, leashes, toys, food, treats, pet carriers, flea medications, and more to support our efforts. Just look for donation boxes in any of Centinela’s stores to make a donation. Everything we get from this drive will be used at our Pet Resource Center, which provides much needed goods to the families and pets of the Skid Row community. Our Pet Resource Center, located inside the Inner City Law Center office and in collaboration with LA Animal Services, is offering tangible assistance to people and their pets with nowhere else to turn.

And for even more good news, on Thursday March 30th the 3rd Annual Babes in Toyland – Pet Edition event will be hosted to raise awareness and donations for us! Babes in Toyland gives patrons an opportunity to give back to the community alongside some of the most beautiful women in the world. If you’d like to give back to us, and if you like pretty ladies, please click here to find out more about attending the event.

Sadly there are too many people with so little, barely getting by. But the generosity of this donation drive is flooring us, and we’re already planning to rent a truck in order to pick up all the donations, as well as a storage unit. It’s an unbelievable feeling – to know we will have so much more to offer those who need it desperately . We hope you will be part of this special time. We remain tremendously appreciative for and humbled by everybody who makes our work possible.

 

We are stronger together indeed.

You’ve heard the saying: We are stronger together. Often the most effective way to make a difference is by collaborating with others to get a job done.

Through our Pet Resource Center, we not only get support from Inner City Law Center and Los Angeles Animal Services, we also collaborate directly with social workers, case managers, nurses and doctors all of who serve Los Angeles’ Skid Row population. Last week we partnered with C3 – a multidisciplinary, multi-agency, homeless outreach program in the Skid Row area.

The C3 team is simply amazing! They work right on the streets of Skid Row, their feet on the pavement, developing relationships street by street, identifying areas block by block, and addressing the needs of those who want help. For example, last week we got a call from them about a homeless person who desperately needed to be hospitalized in order to receive necessary health care. However, he would not go to the hospital until he knew that his dog was safe. We were happy to work with C3 to organize care for this pup so that his guardian could receive assistance.

One of the case managers we worked with on this case said it best: “It was a special moment when we were able to get someone to the hospital who hadn’t gone because he didn’t want to leave his dog behind. Our collaboration with the Pet Resource Center and Downtown Dog Rescue meant that we could board this sweet pup while his person took care of his health.”

So you see, we are indeed stronger together. Nobody is meant to go at it alone. While we boarded and cared for his dog – his family member – this homeless man was able to tend to his health. Without teamwork this may have not been possible. And without you being a part of our team, we can’t do what we do. Every dollar you give, every tweet you share, every adoption event you come to fortifies us, inspires us, and lets us be there when others need us. So thank you for making us strong.

 

Data on evictions and how it effects pets

We see first hand through our SIP program and even at the Pet Resource Center how evictions hurt families and their pets. Countless animals are in the shelter now due to eviction, as we see it as one of the biggest reasons for surrendering an animal time and time again.

With a less affordable housing market and higher rents and mortgages across the country, people are finding it harder and harder to keep up with their payments. The numbers are even higher among foreign born citizens, which makes many believe that immigrants are being especially targeted. As this article with plenty of data on evictions states, “The lack of a right to counsel in housing court by tenants facing eviction has led to an imbalance of legal representation in favor of landlords paving the way for abuse of the court system through eviction proceedings.”

This is why we teamed up with Inner City Law Center – in order to try and help prevent families with pets from being forced out of their homes. Since our program started in July, 36 of our cases were referred to ICLC’s attorney Diane Prado. She has then represented pet owners facing eviction in order to defend their rights and their homes as much as possible. Because the amount of stress families endure on a daily basis when they’re home life is threatened – not knowing where they will move to, or if they will become homeless, or how they will ever be able to keep their pet – is a terrifying reality. Basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter are a necessary foundation, and without one of them it becomes increasingly difficult to be stable, to move up, to get a better job, to go back to school, or even to dream.

Until one is facing an eviction or cannot pay their rent, one will never know how they would respond. We hope you will support us as we support those who are unfortunately dealing with these circumstances and trying desperately to keep their two and four legged family members together. There’s a fairer, juster way to keep people in their homes…we hope to be a part of figuring it out.

 

2016 Wrap up of our Pet Resource Center!

We’re so proud of the work we do at the Pet Resource Center. Not only did we open PRC in 2016, here’s our end of the year wrap up where you can see how many people and pets we helped in the first year alone.

Over 50% of the clients we served came to us for spay/neuter services, and almost 50% were experiencing homelessness. Only 38%  had a case manager working with them, most of the people we served were between the age of 30 – 69, and 65% were unemployed. Six out of ten clients were women, as well as receiving public assistance. In terms of education, 35% had some college experience or a degree and the rest completed high school or up to 8th grade. Almost half the population we worked with was African American, 27% were Hispanic, and roughly 19% were caucasian. A few of those we helped had cars or were driven to us, but about 60% walked to our office. Three out of four people needed assistance with dogs, and half of them got their pet from a friend or family member.

As for services provided, we gave 80% of people food, almost 30% a collar and leash, vaccines for 31% and microchips for 25%, 10% needed medical help for their animal, and 36% were given flea meds. ESA assistance was requested by 30% of our clients.

So as you can see we were busy at PRC this year! We look forward to 2017 and to doing much, much more to support the Skid Row community. We believe in the love of family, and hope we can continue to support pets and people who need an extra hand staying together. Without judgement and with a whole lot of compassion, along with your generosity and encouragement, we are certain anything is possible. Last but not least, a special thank you goes out to Inner City Law Center and LA Animal Services for their support and partnership. Together we are making a difference.

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!

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 […]

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 […]