The PAWS Pantry Engages the Community

The PAWS Pantry is a supplemental food program that assists the needs of low-income pet families and other non-profit human service organizations in San Diego. At a time when so many households are forced to cut corners to meet even the most basic of life’s necessities, oftentimes it is the pets that bear the burden. Something as simple as removing the challenge of resourcing pet food can be the difference between keeping an animal at home or having that same animal taken to a rescue or shelter. With the help of partner groups like The Petco Foundation and the Rescue Bank, as well as individual donations, we are able to supply high quality food to those most in need in order to ensure that these vulnerable pet families stay together.

But it is not just low-income pet families that benefit from this program. From preparation to distribution, the PAWS Pantry engages and assists many individuals (human and animal) in our community. Volunteer groups like Veterans Village of San Diego, Oasis Clubhouse, and Employment and Community Options help us take large bags of kibble and break them down into smaller individual portions for distribution. The groups come in anywhere from once a week to once a month, each time gaining meaningful work experience while contributing a valuable service to our organization.

After the food is bagged, it can be picked up at the PAWS San Diego office or at one of our monthly distribution centers with proof of low-income status. Families with dogs receive an 8-pound bag of kibble and those with cats get a 3.5-pound bag. Depending on the size of the pet and pet family this can help out for a week or a month, and we allow extra bags under certain circumstances. We also educate on the benefits of spaying and neutering animals and provide low-cost referrals for those in need. We are currently looking for dedicated individuals who might be interested in volunteering at a PAWS Pantry site. Locations and dates/times are flexible depending on your preference and availability. Please contact Lauren at outreach@pawssandiego for more information.

Surplus supplies of dry food are distributed in bulk to local rescue groups and shelters. Rescue groups like The Rescue House, Labradors and Friends, and The Barking Lot have all come to our office to load food supplies in their trucks to take back to their animals. Taking the burden of sourcing a food supply away from these groups, even if just momentarily, allows them to focus their efforts on finding forever homes for the animals.

Since its launch in November of 2012, the PAWS Pantry has helped thousands of pet families with food for their animals. We could not be more thrilled with the success of this program and the unintended but wonderful impact it has made on the greater San Diego community. For more information about PAWS San Diego’s programs, please visit pawssandiego.org/programs.

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Meet Ross and Patches

In 1981, at just 17 years of age, PAWS San Diego Pet Care & Vet Care client Ross was in a serious car crash that changed his life forever.  “I was just less than one month away from my 18th birthday, had been drinking beer, and at 4:30 AM got into my dad’s car and fell asleep while driving.”  Ross was in a coma for six months, lost 98 pounds, and had severe brain trauma. He also suffered multiple breaks and internal injuries that left him unable to speak for three years, and unable to feed himself for five years.  Recalling the experience he says, “I was a trapped prisoner in my own body.”

Now 50 years old (or as he says, “25×2″), Ross is the father of two daughters: his 12 year old and his “furry” daughter, Patches. Patches is a 7½ year old white cat with black spots. Ross became a client with PAWS San Diego about 7 years ago, back when Patches was just a black and white ball of fluff. Ross learned about PAWS from an announcement that was on the bulletin board in his apartment complex.

Once an avid sports enthusiast and athlete, Ross still has vivid memories of his participation in motor cross racing, lacrosse, football, and golf, a passion he shared with his father. But this sudden traumatic event ended all of that.  He says that the fact he can barely get around with the help of a walker is a monumental achievement. Slowly but surely, he is driving and adding activities to his life.

While he sees his daughter just once a week, Ross’ daily contact with Patches means the world to him. With limited mobility, Ross depends heavily upon the assistance of others throughout the week and Patches is his soothing companion every moment of the day.

If Ross did not have PAWS to help, he says it is doubtful that he would have a pet. Living on SSI and Section 8 housing, Ross says even with his assistance, he must cut corners. Regarding his relationship with PAWS, Ross says, “They are very kind to me and punctually efficient with food and litter. They listen to my needs and desires…PAWS is like my best friend when it comes to my cat. They are not just employees.”

Ross paused in the interview and stared at Patches as she stretched nearby and commented affectionately, “When I watch TV, she puts her little chin on my leg.  She talks to me in her cat language, little murmurs and cries. When she talks to me she displays her intelligence. When I pet her, I can see her smile. Plus, she’s got my eyes!”

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Shop at The Honest Kitchen and Support PAWS San Diego!

THK LogoThe Honest Kitchen, which is based in San Diego, specializes in human-grade food for pets. Through the month of February only, The Honest Kitchen will donate a percentage of all ONLINE sales to PAWS San Diego!

Check out THK’s website for product information, availability, and testimonials. Their dehydrated food has been shown to help with a number of pet health issues including skin, allergy, and coat.

If you haven’t already, try out their products. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

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PAWS got a truck makeover!

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A great, big thank-you to our amazing sponsors, Petco Foundation and Las Patronas!  Our truck makeover helps us to more effectively show who we are to the community! Thank you!

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