I asked Wendy Kohn, DVM and PAW’s Executive Director, a few questions about how the PDX community can help the PAW (Portland Animal Welfare) team. This is timely with their October clinic happening this Sunday from 1-3 p.m. at the Bud Clark Commons Clinic. More information can be found here: http://www.portlandanimalwelfareteam.org/. There are only TWO MORE clinics scheduled this year.
This is such a cool organization to volunteer for. My classmate is volunteering this weekend and will be helping check folks in. There are lots of opportunities to get involved!
For those, not *in the know* – the PAW team helps the homeless and low-income people to keep their companion or service pets healthy and fed. PAW Team is a unique non-profit organization that impacts two related social issues: homelessness and animal welfare.
http://blog.portlandanimalwelfareteam.org/ – check out their blog as there are some very heart warming stories about the companion animals they help at these clinics.
More from Wendy…
Q. PAW team is running low on funds, how can people help if they don’t have a lot of disposable income to donate?
A. Even small amounts help, we are very frugal and we’re able to use nearly every penny to help pets of the homeless. We’re always in need of volunteers to help with our outreach booths at events, or to hold fundraising events, or to collect pet food/pet care supplies, or to take our donation jars and brochures to local businesses. We wouldn’t exist without volunteers! You can sign up to volunteer using our volunteer application form on our website, and then put your name on the list to volunteer at any of the events listed on the events sign-up page.
Q. Now that you need to move locations too, how can folks help –is there specific criteria for the new building you’re searching for?
A. We need help identifying sites (getting addresses and phone numbers of potential locations) and people to call the realtors/owners and find out more about the locations, so let us know if you can volunteer to help with that.
As far as space, we have two options we’re looking for:
1) A large warehouse space, 2000 sf or so, where we can store everything and hold large clinics once a month, on the weekends. We would love to have a space with electricity and water, and access to a restroom, but just indoors with dry storage area works fine.
2) A small office somewhere centrally located in Portland, around 150 sf, where we can just set up our pharmacy and medical supplies and medical records, and then run mobile clinics all around Portland area, in parking lots and community spaces. We would need electricity in the office space, but we would not be seeing clients at the space, it would just be for a central pharmacy and office.
We can’t afford much, but we are very good at fixing up run-down spaces indoors and out, and we work hard to patrol the immediate neighborhood and keep everything clean and safe in the area. We will also be very happy to promote in all our outreach materials and on the web the good name of any landlord or business who is willing to host us.
Q. How many homeless people and their companion animals have you helped since the inception of PAW team?
A. Oh, gosh, I think we’re up to thousands now! We treated well over a thousand pets in 2010, which was double what we saw in 2009 when we held quarterly clinics. In 2011 so far, we’ve seen about 500 pets, mainly because we have had to limit the number because of funding. We had 200 people lined up for services at our last clinic at Division! If we had a permanent/stable space, and enough volunteers, we could easily take care of nearly 2000 pets a year. Not every pet had a homeless person, some of our clients are housed, but just barely. We see people on disability, in Section 8 housing, seniors on Social Security, people who are hanging on by such a thin thread that feeding a pet or getting shots for their pet means they go without food themselves, or risk losing their housing because their pet isn’t licensed.
Q. What will PAW team do if a location isn’t found?
A. We are able to store our supplies at Division through the end of this year, but we won’t be able to have more clinics there since we are packing everything up. We have to move everything either into storage or into a new location by December. We will still be holding a limited number of clinics, just two more through the end of the year, at Bud Clark Commons. The dates are Oct 2 and Dec 4. Because the space there is small, we can only see about 20 pets at a clinic. We hope to find a new space and move in this year so that we can start holding more clinics in the new year. We have a couple of options of places to hold mobile clinics if we have a central storage location for our pharmacy/medical records, and we will continue to have the small clinics at Bud Clark Commons every month or every other month all through next year.
“Sign up and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates! We also have a blog on our website and at www.blog.portlandanimalwelfareteam.org, there are some lovely stories and photos there, about our wonderful clients and the pets who own them,” said Wendy.