Two years ago, the Dumb Friends League began thinking about ways to bring our internal resources and capabilities into underserved communities beyond our two mobile spay and neuter units, the Meow Mobile and the Lulu Mobile, as well as the Solutions – Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic. With a goal to help not just the homeless pets that come into our shelters for medical care, food and, perhaps most important, opportunities for second chances, the idea for the Solutions – Pet Resource Center was introduced.
People want to provide their pets with the best care possible and be responsible pet owners. However, they do not always know how to meet their pet’s needs or have the resources to meet them. Once fully operational, the Pet Resource Center will support pet owners with education, including information on the benefits of spay and neuter procedures, nutrition, the importance of vaccinations and general animal care, such as grooming.
League staff collaborated with well-known and trusted local human service agencies and faith-based organizations to identify underserved areas and then looked at specific community needs. Establishing relationships and building trust is a large part of the Pet Resource Center initiative.
The Pet Resource Center, which is a mobile unit, has been outfitted with storage areas, a refrigerator for vaccines, solar panels for powers and a veterinary exam table. The team will travel to different communities and work at our established partner facility spaces to provide low income care, information and resources to allow pet owners to keep their animals healthy, happy and in their homes.
“Our goal is to equip owners to provide the best care they can for their pets,” said Kristine Clay, Pet Resource Center coordinator. “It’s about more than just holding low cost vaccine clinics in the community. It’s about establishing relationships, teaching all the different aspects of pet care, and being an ever-present resource for the community.”
To achieve this goal, the Pet Resource Center will offer two types of events: Well Pet events and Grooming classes. Well Pet events will offer low cost vaccines and microchips, along with addressing other aspects of pet care. Basic supplies that keep pets safe will be offered, including leashes, collars and cat carrier. Education will be provided on dental care, spay/neuter importance, shelter resources and access to low cost medical care through Solutions – Veterinary Hospital. Pet behavioral issues, such as destructiveness, barking and leash pulling, will be addressed with information and supplies.
Grooming classes will teach the importance of grooming, including how many grooming problems can lead to medical problems and cause pain and discomfort. Owners will also be given the chance to practice skills, such as nail trims, brushing and cleaning, with a League groomer.
In addition to holding community events, the Pet Resource Center is starting a Spanish radio program on pet resources that will be broadcast to the metro area weekly.
The Pet Resource Center recently held a preliminary event at a low-income housing complex for senior citizens and had an amazing response. Many of the pets hadn’t seen a vet in years due to barriers of transportation, cost and owner physical disabilities. “People are hungry for information and so appreciative of the services provided,” said Clay.
The Pet Resource Center is close to being fully operational, and the team is finalizing event logistics and processes now, including holding events at Solutions – Veterinary Hospital in January and February. In the spring, events will be held at community host sites, starting in the ZIP codes of 80216, 80239 and 80010.
“Every time we give someone a free cat carrier or dog collar or teach them to trim their pet’s nails, the gratitude from owners is overwhelming,” said Clay. “We are truly reducing animal suffering and making a difference for these pets. I cannot thank our generous donors enough for allowing us to do this work.”
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