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.