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 […]

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 […]