Thank you to the ASPCA!

We are so grateful to the ASPCA for supporting our work! Thanks to their generous grant, we were able to provide free services to 625 cats and dogs over the course of six months. Spending a total of $62,088.64, our average expense was $99.34 per pet.

The total of 580 dogs and 45 cats we helped received a variety of different free services such as: spay and neuter surgeries, vaccinations, microchipping, de-worming medication, treatment for mange, and treatment for ear, eye or skin infections. Dental work (including pulling infected, painful teeth) was also carried out, as were X-rays and blood work, mostly for the senior dogs we helped. Some of the animals we saw were having seizures or had chronic arthritis, others had bladder infections or tumors needing removal. Lastly, there were a few senior dogs at the end of their lives and suffering; we paid for their humane euthanasia.

Helping families who need us is our pride and joy. There was one requirement in order to receive the free services however: pets had to be spayed and neutered or pet owners had to agree to get their pets spayed and neutered if they weren’t already (a cost we also covered.) Our work focused on Compton, Lynwood, Maywood, Huntington Park, Cudahy, South Gate, Bell, Bell Gardens and part of South LA. Pet owners there were low income or living on a fixed income, and many were on disability or were senior citizens who had no means to pay for what their pets needed.

Partner veterinarians donated their expertise. We also issued vouchers and worked with mobile clinics, stationing them at East Rancho Dominguez Park in Compton on a monthly basis. We witnessed happy tears and heard excited cries by pet owners so relieved to give their pets the medical care they desperately required for a healthier and happier life. Several people had lost hope and thought their pet might die. Can you imagine the comfort they experienced when they learned there was another option?

But none of this work would have been possible without the ongoing support from the ASPCA. We appreciate them and their generous grant more than we can express, for they allowed us to provide these communities with attention, compassion, and assistance. We look forward to doing more, and to sharing all that we have to be grateful for.

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.

 

The 2016 numbers for our Shelter Intervention Program are in!

Transparency is important to us. We want you to know where your dollars go when you support our work, and we want you to feel good about it! So let us tell you about how our Shelter Intervention Program (SIP) took on more cases in 2016 than ever before. In 2015 we helped 1272 families, but last year we assisted 1467! Comparing statistics year by year, we noticed that there was an increase in the number of people unable to pay for medical care and other services for their pets, including pet food and supplies. Despite news about a rise in employment and the growing economy, the South Los Angeles pet owners we met and dealt with were largely unemployed, under-employed, receiving government assistance, or experiencing homelessness. Many pet owners came to see us at the South LA Animal Shelter or visited us during Pet Resource Center office hours, depending on where they were living that week or month.

Because we were able to spend less on spay and neuter surgeries, we were able to allocate that money to people who had pets with other needs. Thanks to the ASPCA spay and neuter clinic which opened at the South LA Shelter in 2014, we’ve been enabled to use our funds for other medical issues, of which there are no programs for. In 2014 we paid for 1110 spay/neuter surgeries; in 2015 we covered 300 spay/neuter surgeries; and in 2016, we paid for only 248 surgeries. Of those 248 surgeries, many pets required bloodwork for being a senior pet, had seizures to contend with, or needed a tangential medical procedure such as dental work, making it cost effective to perform both the spay/ neuter while attending to the other issue. Of course we still support spay and neuter, but our focus has moved further out into the community through offering three mobile clinics which happen the first Sunday of the month in Compton, the second Sunday of the month in South LA, and the 3rd Sunday of the month at our newest location in Lynwood. That means three out of four weeks of every month are reserved for spay/neuter mobile clinics, and we fill those clinics by mailing out vouchers to cat and dog owners in the areas every day. This draws people out of their homes, into the community, and engaging with us. We’re excited to report that we see firsthand how encouraging proper care and a personal investment in their pets is changing perspectives and lives!

So as you can see, SIP does a lot. And we’ll continue to do more! We’re honing down, responding to greatest needs, and meeting people where they’re at. Our mission for 2017 is to increase the number of cats we help, which has always been a smaller percentage than dogs. We don’t meet as many cat owners, but we’re hoping that will change this year. We’re also increasing the number of home visits we do, sending our handyman to fix fences and gates, as well as build dog runs to keep more dogs safe in their yards. By working with animal control officers to keep more pets in their first home, which we […]

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!

Bringing Brooklyn to Texas

Here’s a feel good story for you to enjoy this week!

We recently boarded Brooklyn, a former West Los Angeles shelter dog who was adopted by a veteran named Raleigh. Shortly after Raleigh rescued Brooklyn, he experienced trouble finding housing and found himself going through difficult times. He decided to head back home to Texas, but didn’t know what to do about Brooklyn. Already having a service dog who was permitted to stay with him, Brooklyn was considered his pet. He loved his pet; he wanted to love his life.

Returning Brooklyn to the animal shelter was not an option for Raleigh. unnamed-9So his counselor at the Veterans Affairs office contacted one of our volunteers and they began working together to help Brooklyn through this time of transition. We agreed to board him at our Downtown Dog Rescue kennel for one month, buying Raleigh some time to plan Brooklyn’s trip to join him. We were happy to offer free boarding and a little leash work in order to keep Brooklyn safe because we knew that soon this cherished dog would get on a plane with his owner. Together, along with his service dog, they would make their way to their Texas home and live out their years as a family.

For us, this is what it’s all about. Meeting people where they’re at, extending a hand, and finding a way to make it work for the animals and the people who love them. Sometimes the solutions are easier, and sometimes they’re tough. But every time, we try to pinpoint an answer to one simple question: “How can we help you?” Here’s to Brooklyn and Raleigh, and their happily ever after.