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 stick with us as SIP grows? Can you continue to support us as we help those living in poverty, and their pets? Three amazing years have gone by. As we look ahead, with great big dreams and plans to do even more, we want to thank you. We could never do this work without you, for the more donations we receive, the more direct services we can provide in the community. Your donations have built the road we walked on during these last three years. We’re so grateful you believe in us as we pave the way for a brighter future.