I wanted to share a great event that we participated in on Saturday, a free dog and cat food drive thru, hosted by council members Wesson and Harris-Dawson, for South Los Angeles pet owners in need. With our friends at Watts Project, DDR was able to sign up 67 pets for spay/neuter + vaccinations, who otherwise, might never have learned about the free resources to get more cats and dogs sterilized.
When we first received the event information, it was presented to us as partnering to help pass out food, which is wonderful, but doesn’t have a lasting impact. Don’t get me wrong, for some pet owners, who are in dire financial situations, a free bag of pet food makes a big difference that month, but what about long term? Giving out free supplies and food without resources to me doesn’t make a lot of sense. When I write resources, I mean more than handing someone a flyer, a business card, telling them to call an office, or contact a person, etc, which often never gets done. Why? Because, as I often say to new volunteers who can’t understand why pet owners don’t spay and neuter their pets when it’s free, my reply is,”Life happens. ”
Getting a pet spayed or neutered when one may not have housing at the end of the month, or enough food to feed their children until the first of the next month, is not going to be top of the list of things to get done. Plus, even free sometimes isn’t free. The surgery is free but the vaccinations are not, and the vaccinations are required. A dog license must be purchased to get the free surgery. All of the sudden the free service is costing $20 or more, which may not seem like a lot of money to you, but it’s the difference of paying the phone bill, or getting the phone cut off for many of our clients, and a mobile phone is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity to stay connected to opportunities, and more.
Back to the event, set up in a parking lot, cars drove through, food was picked up, DDR and Watts Project volunteers asked each pet owner if their pet was sterilized. Of the 100 pets who received food, 67 needed services. Not all of them needed surgery, some were sterilized, but needed booster vaccinations, which we will be provided at our drive thru vaccination clinic next Sunday with the SCVMA volunteer veterinarians and techs. We will also partner with Spay4LA, who will have their mobile clinic parked and offering free spay and neuter surgeries.
Through ongoing community events, partnering with other non profits, we continue to spread the message about the importance of spay and neuter, as well as providing pet owners with a resource, right in their community, called the Pet Support Space. At our office in South Los Angeles, we distribute pet food, veterinary vouchers, access to pro bono attorneys, and counseling for a variety of needs, six days a week.
On Saturday October 10th, we are walking at the Rose Bowl to support DDR, of course social distancing, wearing masks, a nice walk with the dogs to raise funds for our annual Race for the Rescue fundraiser. If you can consider making a donation, I would greatly appreciate it.
Funds raised go towards running our Pet Support Space Office, as well as rescuing more shelter dogs, especially senior dogs. Thanks as always for taking the time to read my post, and stay informed about what DDR is up to.