People helping pets & Pets helping people
For the past 20 years PAWS San Diego’s mission has been to preserve the human-animal bond by providing pet food and vet care to the companion animals of low income seniors, the disabled or chronically ill. By improving Animal Well-Being they reduce the burden on our animal shelters. By working collaboratively with shelters, spay & neuter programs, veterinary offices, trainers and pet supply vendors PAWS is keeping pets in their forever homes.
By enabling their fragile clients to continue enjoying the companionship of their pet(s) PAWS improves their well-being and empowers them to age in place with dignity and independence. Anyone who has ever loved an animal understands the value of the human-animal bond. There is overwhelming scientific research and data to verify the obvious. Pet owners report increased engagement, exercise, feelings of safety, well-being and usefulness.
Last year PAWS San Diego surveyed over 100 of their senior clients. Face to face, in home, professionally prepared, interviews were conducted by trained PAWS volunteers. The results confirm the impact of PAWS services on the lives of our clients, both human and four legged. 100% of the clients surveyed considered their pet’s part of their family. It is clear their pets are the center of their lives and a main source of companionship.
PAWS PANTRY, a new PAWS program, now offers pet food for distribution by human service agencies, community centers and food banks. Our partner agencies agree to create an on-site pantry to distribute PAWS donated pet food with their human food deliveries. PAWS PANTRY is currently giving out nearly 125 supplemental bags of dog food per month and 75 bags for kitty companions. They expect to donate 500 bags for 500 loved pets per month by the close of the 2012 calendar year.
PAWS San Diego now makes home deliveries to 657 human clients. 64% are low-income seniors, 36% low-income disabled or chronically ill. Many are wheelchair home bound. PAWS is feeding 854 of their companion pets with 78,000 pounds of donated pet food. PAWS also provided over $38,000 for veterinary care.
The need for PAWS services is staggering. In 2006 48.3% of San Diego Seniors lived alone. In 2007 there were 351,317 seniors (age 65+) living in SD county, 11% of the total population, and 8% of those seniors (28,105) was living below the poverty level. The situation for the disabled and chronically ill is even worse.
PAW does not receive any government funding. With the help of more than 100 volunteers, a dedicated part-time staff, community partners and financial support from individual donations and foundations, PAWS has come a long way. They are growing. They are serving more meals to more companion animals and they are becoming far more effective.
If you have any questions or would like more information, would like a tour of their facility or if you are looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity, contact Geraldine D’Silva at 619-297-PAWS.