With the cost of living on the rise in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, so is the number of people in the unhoused community.
Many homeless individuals are also caring for pets.
Local non-profits C.A.R.E.4Paws and The Street Dog Coalition want to ensure these furry friends are being taken care of properly.
C.A.R.E.4Paws offers affordable medical care for pets belonging to people in underserved communities, while the Street Dog Coalition (SDC) supports pets in the unhoused community.
The non-profits are partnering together to host free pet wellness clinics up and down the Central Coast.
Their first event will be taking place on Saturday, April 15, at the City of San Luis Obispo United Church of Christ from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
C.A.R.E.4Paws will have its mobile veterinary clinic on-site to provide free medical care for dogs and cats.
Services provided by the non-profit are sponsored by the SDC and will include vaccines, flea treatment, nail trimming, wellness exams, and treatment of skin, ear and eye infections.
“We rely on supporters and community partners like C.A.R.E.4Paws to help us think outside the box, complement existing resources, establish trust, walk the talk, and deliver accessible, quality care through tailored delivery models,” said SDC’s Executive Director Katrina Weschler. “We are very grateful for the support C.A.R.E.4Paws provides for our mutual clients: people who may not have a roof over their heads but certainly have a home in their hearts for their four-legged companions.”
C.A.R.E.4Paws and SDC have plans to host events one Saturday a month and will alternate between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
For animal clinics being hosted in San Luis Obispo County, Central Coast Partnership for Animal Welfare (CCPAW) will also be collaborating with the nonprofits and will help promote the event and distribute food.
Those needing extended medical care for their pets beyond one Saturday a month can refer to C.A.R.E.4Paws mobile clinics or a local veterinary clinic partner.
Pet food and supplies will be distributed at Saturday’s event and SLO County’s Shower the People will also be in attendance, providing mobile show services for the homeless.
“We want people and pets to stay together,” said Isabelle Gullo, Executive Director and co-founder of C.A.R.E.4Paws. “Pets provide comfort, love and loyalty and they are nonjudgmental, unlike us humans. For so many people experiencing homelessness, the companionship of an animal is everything. And that human-animal bond is mutually beneficial.”
To learn more and support C.A.R.E.4Paws’ services, go to care4paws.org.
For more information about The Street Dog Coalition, visit thestreetdogcoalition.org.