July 5th is the one year anniversary of opening our Pet Support Space office on West Florence Ave in South Los Angeles. For many of you who follow DDR on social media, you already know about the more than 500+ pets to whom we provide services each month. To be exact, 3,549 cats and dogs have received services through our program designed to help no-income to low-income pet owners care for their pets. 52% of all cases our counselors see are pets that require some type of veterinary care. Therefore, one of our goals in 2021 was to expand veterinary services.
Because we have an office in a great location, I envisioned opening a scaled-down veterinary clinic in the lobby of our office that would be open once a month and then scale up to once a week. I was considering hiring a veterinarian, RVT, buying supplies, and learning about what it takes to run a clinic. I then had several discussions with Dr. Weinstein, President of the SCVMA, and, through those discussions, I became more aware of just how much I didn’t know. Because I didn’t know!
We needed a solution. Should we raise money and buy a mobile clinic? Reality set in and I decided we needed to find a partner who already owned and operated a mobile clinic. Although I am not letting go of my dream to start a clinic, the path is going to be different than what I imagined, which has always worked out well for me personally and for DDR as an organization.
Today, from 9:30am to 2:30pm, we hosted the first mobile veterinary clinic at our office and provided services to 11 pets (4 cats and 7 dogs). Here are some of the cases:
“Micha” and “Totoro” (who are a little difficult to see in their carriers in these two photos) were flea infested , were not eating, and had never been examined by a veterinarian before receiving care today.
2-year-old “Max” had been vomiting and had diarrhea. Worried that he might have an obstruction, our counselor wrote a medical voucher, and sent him to Dr. Vazquez at North Figueroa Animal Hospital where he received x-rays and might need surgery.
“Einstein” came to the mobile clinic because he was overwhelmed and not too friendly at our last drive-thru vaccination clinic. He received a rabies booster so that his owner could renew his dog license.
“Snoopy” and his person, Alex, have been in our Pet Resource Center program for Skid Row pets more than five years. Over the years, DDR made it possible for Snoopy to receive ongoing veterinary care. Alex phoned counselor Amanda when he became concerned about hots spots that had developed all over Snoopy’s little body.
11-year-old “Sky” had multiple mammary tumors that needed to be removed. A couple weeks ago, one of our counselors helped Sky’s owner apply online for a free surgery with Sam Simon Foundation. Because he is homeless, connecting to free services has proven very challenging. With no where else to turn for help, he came back to the Pet Support Space. The surgery was not done at the mobile clinic, but we will be paying $800 for Sky’s surgery. We want to make sure she has a safe space to recover.
3-year-old “Chiquito” was neutered, vaccinated, and treated for fleas. Below is a photo of him recovering from surgery.
6-year-old Hercules had surgery to remove an ulcerated tumor on his penis. His family had received veterinary quotes of $2000+. Like many of our clients, they had saved up some money, but not enough – waiting any longer could have proven to be deadly. DDR negotiated and Hercules’ owner paid $800 while DDR paid $200 and the surgery was performed.
We are scheduled to have another mobile clinic at our office in August. It is only through YOUR support that we can continue to provide veterinary care that reduces unwanted litters of puppies and kittens, eliminates chronic suffering, and to connect pets with wellness services to avoid the lifesaving veterinary care that we often provide when there is no other option.
For all of you who believe in me, DDR, and our mission to serve pet owners who often have nowhere else to turn, I say thank you and want you to know how grateful I am for your support. Without YOU, most everything we have the privilege of doing would be just an idea that might work one day. Our ideas are tuned into actions which in turn change the lives of so many. I include myself in the “many” because this work has expanded my life in ways that I could never have imagined and has given me a purpose for my life.
Do you want to know more about volunteering at the Pet Support Space or have a club or organization that needs a service project? We need YOU! I hope to hear from you soon – Lori@downtowndogrescue.org