When people cannot provide the care their animals need, everyone in the family suffers, and pets are at much higher risk of ending up homeless. The demand for help is greater than ever as thousands of community members still struggle to make ends meet in the aftermath of COVID-19—in addition to the countless pet families already living in poverty prior to March 2020. This is why C.A.R.E.4Paws hosts a Howliday Donation Drive-Thru on Saturday, December 3, at Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara.
The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., raises resources for pet families in need to keep pets safe, healthy and homebound. Supporters can drive through and drop off dog and cat food and monetary donations with the C.A.R.E.4Paws team to support the organization’s intervention services.
“Times are hard for so many community members, and families should not have to choose between caring for their animals and putting food on the table,” says executive director Isabelle Gullö. “C.A.R.E.4Paws does everything we can to ensure pets stay healthy and with the people who love them, and we cannot do this without our wonderful partners and donations from the community.”
Over the last 13 years, C.A.R.E.4Paws has worked to help families keep their pets by providing access to critical resources for low-income, senior, disabled and unhoused community members. This includes free and low-cost veterinary care, spays and neuters and vaccine clinics in the organization’s two mobile clinics, support for pet families exposed to domestic violence, and assistance with pet food and supplies. In fact, since the pandemic started, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Companion Pet Assistance program has distributed one million pounds of pet food throughout Santa Barbara County, compared to 4,000 pounds total in 2019.
Most of the food is provided through Pet Resource Centers co-operated with several animal and human welfare partners. These resource centers are located at Santa Barbara County Animal Services’ (SBCAS) shelters in Lompoc, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara as well as at People Helping People in Solvang, Good Samaritan Shelters, Unity Shoppe and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.
Some food is also provided during community events. For example, during weekly visits to Santa Barbara’s Alameda Park, volunteers provide food for pets of the unsheltered along with blankets and flea treatment. Once a month, C.A.R.E.4Paws brings A’s Mobile Grooming to the park to bathe dogs of the unhoused for free, a service also provided monthly in Santa Maria with Doggie Parlour.
In addition to the December 3 donation drive, pet food and monetary donations can be dropped off year-round, countywide with several of C.A.R.E.4Paws’ business and animal welfare partners, including Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Clubs, ASAP (Animal Shelter Assistance Program) in Goleta, Montecito Pet Shop, La Cumbre Feed, Advanced Veterinary Specialists, Plaza Deli, George’s Pet Shop, SYVHS/DAWG in Santa Ynez, and at the Pet Resource Centers at Barbara County Animal Services’ three shelters. All locations are listed at care4paws.org/drive, where supporters can also donate funds and contribute food through C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Amazon Wish List.
To learn more and support C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Howliday Donation Drive-Thru, go to care4paws.org/drive. For more information about C.A.R.E.4Paws and its services, visit care4paws.org or reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-968-2273.
C.A.R.E.4Paws—short for Community Awareness, Responsibility & Education—works to reduce pet overpopulation, keep animals out of shelters and improve quality of life for pets and pet owners in need. The organization was founded in 2009 with the goal to promote animal welfare and alleviate the burden of Santa Barbara County shelters by intervening before animals become homeless. Its critical services include free spays/neuters, assistance with veterinary care and low-cost vaccine events in C.A.R.E.4Paws’ own mobile veterinary clinics; distribution of pet food and supplies; support for domestic violence survivors and their pets through Safe Haven; Paws Up For Pets youth education that inspires compassion and accountability for animals; and Pet Emergency Training (P.E.T.) for First Responders. In 2022, C.A.R.E.4Paws expanded its mobile clinic services to San Luis Obispo County. Learn more at care4paws.org.
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