The Alameda Project – DDR’s Newest Outreach Area

With the start of a new year, we identified a new outreach area that we are calling “The Alameda Project” Located in an industrial area where Florence & Firestone intersects with Watts, for blocks there are homeless people living in RVs, some running, others are more of a shell for the resident and their pet to live in. While others live in makeshift tents made of pallets and other abandoned building materials. Huge heaps of trash take up two or three car spaces on the streets. This is definitely a place where no one should live, yet too many call home. It’s a dangerous existence for both the pets and the people who love them.


On February 8th, after hiring an additional outreach counselor, Gerardo, who would serve as the point of contact for this targeted project, and a general map of the area that we believed needed services, he drove up and down the streets lined with RVs. Full of pet food and other supplies, Gerardo began making contact with some of the people, who he would discover had pets, and lots of them. Most of the people with pets were suspicious at first, but when they had a conversation with Gerardo, and understood what we offered, everyone on that first day was grateful for the support and resources. He made a promise to come back several times a week for an extended period of time.

“Husky” and his father dog “D.O.G” after surgery

Three littles from one family on their way to get neutered

Gerardo went back, day after day, to form the relationships that would result in the following services that DDR provided in approximately 45 days.

Spays and Neuters = 8 surgeries all dogs
D.O.G. and his son Husky were the first two to be neutered. Followed by three male chihuahuas who all live with the same family, followed by another family of dogs; one male, and two females, of which one was in heat, and the other was pregnant.
Gerardo picks up the dogs in the morning, drives them in the DDR van to the animal hospitals, drops off, then picks up and delivers them back to their families at the end of the day. Sometimes, a very long day, as late as 10:30PM  DDR pays for all veterinary care.

Vaccinating pets on the street

Vaccinations – 46 cats and dogs

First we invited everyone living in their RVs to come to our free drive thru clinic, but when no one showed up, we decided to bring the clinic to the people with pets in their vehicles. We hired a veterinarian to vaccinate, deworm, and apply flea and tick meds. This was an opportunity to get all the puppies and kittens their first set […]

Lazy’s Life

This is Lazy, who recently passed away peaceful, in the arms of his person Melissa.  She described her life with this special little dog in her words, “He had a great life with me. Never left my side. I got him at 4 months old and had him for 13 1/2 years. We were there for each other. He brought me out of depression.”

It was back on August 23, 2011, when we were first contacted by Melissa.  At that point in time she was homeless, did not have the money to pay for vaccines and veterinary care, but loved her dog so much.  She was referred by another DDR client Tyrone, who had been referred to DDR by his friend Robin.  Yes, we had helped Tyrone, and his beautiful “Baby” who used to ride in a cart on his bike.  They were friends with Robin, who had a dog named Dotie, such a special girl.

Over the years, Melissa reached out for resources and services not only for Lazy, but was always referring new clients with dogs and cats to our program.  Of course Lazy was neutered, and whenever Melissa and Lazy met a new friend with a pet, they promoted DDR’s spay and neuter program.  Lazy was a patient of Dr. Vasquez at North Figueroa Animal Hospital.  Lazy always received compassionate care at this animal hospital, as did the countless pets that Melissa referred.  It was at that hospital that Melissa said her final goodbye to her best friend.  Holding his body as he took his last breathe.  He was sick, tired, and ready to cross the rainbow bridge.

Not a day goes by that Melissa doesn’t miss Lazy.  Her love for him will never stop.  All the DDR volunteers and staff are honored to have been in Lazy’s life, and to know Melissa, who will always be part of the DDR family.

Losing a pet is extremely painful, you don’t have to face this alone.  24/7 grief support is available to all through Pet Compassion Careline by calling 855-245-8214


2021 Year End Service Report

2021 Service Report
Pet Support Space – South Los Angeles
SCVMA Community Clinics
Pet Resource Center – Skid Row

Total number of pets served = 7035
Dogs – 64% 4518 Cats – 36% 2511 Reptiles – 0% 6

Shelter Redemptions = 63 pets – 1% of all cases
Humane Euthanasia services = 56 pets – 1% of all cases
Veterinary Expenses = 3469 pets – 49% of all cases
Pet Deposits / ESA = 25 people – 0% of all cases
Food & Supplies = 1250 pets – 18% of all cases
Spay & Neuter surgeries = 2171 pets – 31% of all cases

Pet Support Space  Office open Monday – Saturday 10am to 2pm – 7 days a week phone / text/ email
34% required assistance with spay/neuter
28% veterinary care
12% clients who identified as homeless
6% clients working with a social worker or case manager
Age range of clients
60% 30-49 years old 20% 50-69 years old 13% 18-29 years old
Employment status
27% working full time 33% part time 38% unemployed 2% disabled
58% receiving government assistance
Time living with their pet
61% 1-10 years 23% 1-11 months 14% more than 10 years
29% pet had never received veterinary care
71% acquired the pet from family or friends 17% Found as a stray
6% shelter adoption 3% had a litter in their home.

Community Wellness SCVMA Clinics Drive thru clinic once a month – second Sunday of each month
2,498 pets (1,1670 dogs and 828 cats)

Pet Resource Center Skid Row Services offered at the corner of Central Ave and Industrial Ave Once a month 10am-1pm
367 clients active on a monthly basis for more than six months
(249 dogs and 118 cats)
Total number of clients enrolled in PRC = 2783 people living in transitional or supportive housing or experiencing homelessness
54% required assistance with spay/neuter
15% required assistance for vaccinations 13% monthly food program 12% assistance for major veterinary care – 6% licensing/fees paid/deposits paid
32% reported being homeless
34% reported working with a social worker or case manager
Age of clients served
41% 50-69 years old 40% 30-49 years old 15% 18-29 years old
Employment status
70% unemployed 14% part-time employed 10% disabled
61% were receiving government assistance
Time living with their pet
42% lived with pet 1-10 years + 35% 1-11 months 19% less than one month
41% pet had never received veterinary care
60% acquired the pet from family or friends 19% Found as a stray 11% shelter

Total number of program staff
full time paid – 1 part time paid – 3 unpaid full time – 1

Total Budget for all programs : $295,163 (average cost per pet $41.95)

Total number of pets served since program began
April 2013 – December 2021 =
22, 415 pets

October Pet Resource Center – Skid Row Community

This month, we were back on the corner of Central Ave and Industrial Street, with our counselors and the Los Angeles County Veterinarian team, offering supplies and services to pets who live in the Skid Row community. A total of 75 pets received services (40 dogs + 35 cats) The line starts to form at 9:00 am, when clients and volunteers unload the supplies and set up our tables, for our official start time of 10:00 am. Pet owners arrive throughout the morning, receiving monthly food supplies, veterinary vouchers, flea and tick prevention, and an opportunity to check in with our counselors.

Checking in means more than “getting free stuff”, all of our counselors are there to support the pet owners just as much as their pets. This involves doing more listening than talking. Sometimes, the topic has nothing whatsoever to do with pets. Some people drop in because they are feeling sad, depressed, may have lost a loved one, whether two legged or four legged, and need a compassionate person to “be there for them”.

All of the services that we offer, we offer in a manner of trauma informed care. Always remembering that these three factors impact our clients’ lives, and lead to stress; uncertainty, lack of information, and a loss of control. By explaining options, offering choices, taking time to explain the information helps our clients feel more in control of their pets’ lives and in turn their own lives. In addition to promoting healthy pets, the benefits of spay and neuter, our goal is to always help our clients see that they have options, they have our ongoing support because we all need help sometimes.

1,977 Pets Receive Services in the Third Quarter

We want to share our progress with you. Here is our third quarter update (July-August-September)

A total of 1,977 pets (Dogs = 1185 + Cats = 792) received the following services through our Pet Support Space office, Drive Thru Community Pet Clinics, Pet Resource Center for the Skid Row Community, and two mobile spay/neuter clinics:

DDR paid a shelter redemption fees on behalf of a homeless/low income pet owner = 14

We continue to sponsor humane euthanasia for senior, terminally ill pets at the end of their lives. By covering the cost for this service, we prevent suffering of the pet and the owner, who often feels ashamed at not being able to help their pet at the end of life situations. = 13

Veterinary care costs continue to be the most important part of our mission. In the third quarter, we paid partial to full payment for everything from vaccinations, microchips, wellness exams, cases where the pet has an ongoing medical condition that left untreated results in daily suffering, to complicated life saving surgeries. = 940

Thanks to the cooperation from H.E.A.R.T., our counselors were able to provide access to pro bono legal services that enabled their pet to remain in their home, or move into transitional living with their owner. = 12

COVID certainly increased the number of pet owners who need access to monthly food and supplies. However, more than 35% of the pets in our food program, continue to rely on our support for the pet’s lifetime. In addition to food, we supply crates, X-pens, leashes, collars, and beds. Often, there is a requirement from a housing program that the pet owner is not able to afford, but through our Pet Support Space, any item that is required is provided. = 337

To be in our program, we require all pets to be spayed or neutered when they are old enough/healthy enough to go through surgery. The requests for spay/neuter far out number the available appointments we have access to. Thanks to the ASPCA spay/neuter clinic and working closely with Spay4LA, we were able to provide surgeries for 661 pets.

Thanks to all of YOU who continue to support of mission of providing compassionate care to pets who belong to people experiencing homelessness and low income families. We are dedicated to serving the most vulnerable populations of pet owners.

Your donation does make a difference!


Help Us Help Them

Stories from the Downtown Dog Rescue Pet Support Space in South Los Angeles

Sindel after surgery

5 year old Sindel’s person, who is a return client of the Pet Support Space, called our office asking for assistance in getting him into a hospital to get his abscessed painful toe examined. Thankful, one of our counselors was able to book Sindel an immediate appointment, and the results were serious.  The infection had become so bad, that he required surgery and a drain was inserted to drain out his infection.  With our discounted rate, the charges for exam, medication, and surgery came to a total of $490.  Sindel’s person was able to pay for half of the cost of care, and DDR paid the balance.

Sweet Mimi – terminally ill

Mimi’s person has been a client of our Pet Support Space since we opened our office last year.  For the past two months, Mimi’s health has been declining.  We sent Mimi to a partner animal hospital for an exam because she had difficulty breathing. Because of the ongoing relationship with our counselors, we were able to have a compassionate conversation about quality of life.  After speaking to the veterinarian, getting more information, Mimi’s person decided that humane euthanasia was the most loving option. Can you imagine watching your pet suffer, knowing that your pet needs veterinarian care, but you can’t afford to pay for an exam?  Mimi’s owner called our office, and thanked our counselors for their help and ongoing support.  Our Pet Support Clients are never alone, especially during end of life decisions.  We have counselors responding to calls for help seven days a week, sometimes, day and night.

Puppy Canelo

Four month old Canelo’s owner called our Pet Support Space office asking for help because Canelo had been vomiting, and had diarrhea. A medical voucher was written for a same day appointment at a partner animal hospital, where he was diagnosed with Parvo.  DDR paid the cost of care, and hopefully, little Canelo will make a full recovery very soon.

No animal or person should have to suffer because of the cost of veterinary care. With more than 600 cases per month, our three Pet Support Space counselors and volunteers are there for low income families with pets, often in their darkest moment.  For others, a monthly food supply, or vaccines, flea & tick prevention, and wellness care to keep more pets in their first home forever home.  Thousands of pets and their families are grateful to YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Can you help us reach our Fall Fundraising goal?  The Saving Pets Challenge ends September 30th.

The Saving Pets Challenge ends September 30th

Please consider making a donation to help us help them.

Community Pet Clinic

On Sunday September 12th, with the volunteer veterinarians and vet techs from the SCVMA, the dedicated DDR clinic volunteers and our friends at Spay4LA, we were able to provide vaccinations, microchips, deworming, flea & tick medication (donation from Frontline) as well as wellness exams, and spay and neuter services to 247 pets.  The 159 dogs and 50 cats and 38 spay & neuter surgeries were provided free of charge for families that are experiencing homelessness, living in transition, receiving government support, and low income pet owners, who are struggling to care for their pets’ health.   

This was our 13th drive thru pet clinic, where all pets have a reservation, which enables our counselors to connect with pet owners before the clinic, in a more meaningful way.  It’s through those first conversations that we learn about the potential addition needs and/or challenges that they are facing. Although this was a drive thru clinic, we accepted all the walk-ups who rode the bus, pushed a cart or stroller, rode their bike, took whatever measures necessary to get their pet to our clinic!

For some families, who are already familiar with our services, we are able to check in, give booster vaccines, and let them know how DDR has expanded.  In fact, it’s through our clients, who refer their friends, family members, and neighbors that we are able to connect to new clients.  As with every clinic, we see a lot of puppies and kittens, who receive their first veterinary exam, vaccination, and deworming, while volunteers discuss pet food, grooming, and training to insure that these little pets start their lives off in a positive direction that includes spay and neuter when they are old enough.

Some of the pets that come to our clinic are too sick to receive services, such as these three kittens who had an upper respiratory infection. The family who found the kittens in their backyard did not know where to turn or what to do before connecting with one of our counselors.  Once the kittens are healthy, they will all be spayed and neutered and available to adopt. Never turning someone away without resources and support, the kittens were examined and treated at our monthly mobile veterinary clinic.

The Monday, that follows every clinic, we have a mobile veterinarian park at our Pet Support Space office on West Florence in South Los Angeles, in order to provide free to low cost veterinary care that we could not provide at the drive thru clinic.  The mobile hospital even provides spay and neuter, dentistry, tumor removal and humane euthanasia for terminally ill, suffering, senior pets.  Here are some of the pets who we treated at our mobile clinic on Monday Sept. 13th

This sweet 8 […]

Us vs. Them

I want to share a special story from our last clinic that not only surprised me, but also caused me to have a good laugh.  When it started, the situation was no laughing matter.  

It was almost the end of another busy clinic when an older model Toyota pick-up pulled up to the entrance. Three large men were squeezed into the cab without an inch of breathing room.  A scared shepherd was tied to the back of the open metal truck bed.  It was a hot morning and I was already feeling the heat when I caught a glimpse of the dog in the back of the truck.   My mind snapped.  I was thinking, “Oh Hell-to-the-no, he isn’t bringing that dog into the clinic like that!”  When I jogged over to talk with the driver, I discovered that attached to the shepherd were two small dogs, cabled from an eye-hook.  My approach was not the best when I greeted him by saying, “Hey, there is no way you guys are going to drive on to this lot with three dogs tied up in the back of your truck.” I went on to explain that not only were their dogs in danger, it was a safety issue for all the other pets and people at the event.  The driver nodded and apologized. He told me he didn’t have another vehicle, didn’t have a cage, and didn’t have money to pay for vaccinations, so that’s why he tied them up like he did.  I asked him why he needed the two other men?  Why couldn’t the dogs ride inside the cab, leaving the men at home? He explained that he, being an older man, could not physically handle the dogs on his own so he brought his two sons along to help.  I acknowledged his effort, and said “Ok, I feel really bad asking you to leave, but your need to back up, go home, bring one dog at a time.”  I also mentioned that the clinic was ending soon and unless he lived really close, we probably couldn’t help him.  He told me he understood, put the truck in reverse, and off they went, sounding like the truck was running out of gas or had some serious engine problem.

Typical thinking pattern for me is to immediately regret telling someone no.  It kind of made me mad that I felt he put me in that position.  My internal conversation began with, What was he thinking? How could I help him if he was a safety hazard? My thoughts continued… he did care about his dogs, and he was really trying. No, there is no way it would have been safe.  Coming from a place of separation, me vs. them, I reverted to old thinking patterns, and convinced myself that I made the right decision.  He drove off, and I assumed that he wouldn’t come back.

About ten minutes goes by and here comes the truck again.  This […]

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