When Angela Padilla started Family Dog Rescue, she saw a need for a more proactive and collaborative approach to educating adopters and the community about the health and humane treatment of companion animals. This was particularly urgent in areas where large numbers of stray dogs were being rescued by the organization. In response, Family Dog Rescue decided to test the concept of mobile community clinics that offer spay-neuter services and owner education.
Trial clinics were run in Central California in January and February in partnership with the local animal advocates in the Latino community. Due to their resounding success, Family Dog is proud to announce that this program will be an official part of an ongoing mission to rescue all types of dogs (regardless of size, breed, background, or disability), while creating a healthier, happier human and canine community.
“We don’t just want to help homeless dogs,” says Padilla, founder of Family Dog Rescue. “We want to end the homelessness in the first place by reducing unnecessary breeding.”
The clinics will be held once or twice a month. In addition to surgery, the animals will receive rabies and DHLPP vaccines and flea and tick treatments. An important piece of this program is the owner education that will be offered by local volunteers in Spanish and English on housing dogs indoors, rather than chained outside, and the need for regular flea-and-tick treatments as well as de-worming.
Creating a program without barriers to entry was important to Family Dog Rescue. “We accept dogs and people where they are,” says Padilla. “There are no judgments and no pressure to accept additional services. We want to educate people about humane dog ownership, and key to that is being invited into each local community, and to have the support of local residents, so we can provide culturally-competent services.”
Every year, 2.7 million companion animals are euthanized, and millions more are left homeless, according to the ASPCA. The main cause, overpopulation, is preventable by spaying or neutering, which also helps reduce roaming, aggression, and marking, as well as the risks of certain cancers in males and females. The lifespan of a neutered pet generally increases by one to three years in dogs.
Regardless of these benefits, however, many owners cite cost as being the prohibiting factor in taking their pet to get neutered. Family Dog Rescue is raising funds to run the clinics and finding local vets to participate in high-volume, low-cost spay-neuter services. The program was started with a seed donation in honor of Padilla’s 50th birthday, but as Family Dog Rescue will continue to cover the costs, the organization needs to raise up to $5,000 per month to keep it running. Family Dog Rescue relies heavily on donations and assistance with donations of flea, tick, and de-worming medication for clinic participants.
The next clinic will be April 16-May 16, a co-sponsored program with the Basic Needs Foundation. The free Fix Your Pets will be for residents in zip code 93505. Find out more by contacting Info@BasicNeedsFoundation.org.
Until we can end overpopulation, Family Dog Rescue will be there for the dogs that need a little help finding their loving home. To find your next family member, or to donate to the program, please visit ILoveFamilyDog.org.
Amy Goddard is a senior volunteer at Family Dog Rescue, which is based in San Francisco. Family Dog believes that Dog + Human = Family, helping hundreds of dogs, regardless of breed, background or disability, find loving homes every year. For more information visit ILoveFamilyDog.org.
Main article photo by: courtesy of ILoveFamilyDog.org