Thousands of homeless veterans are now on track to improving their health and living situations through services they received at Stand Down San Diego. This life-changing event has taken place annually for the past 28 years, each time helping to uplift more than 1,000 homeless veterans with services such as dental care, medication, haircuts, clothing, job counseling and more.
These crucial services can take extended periods of time and sometimes run overnight. So for homeless veterans with pets, this opportunity to change the course of their lives almost didn’t happen…but thanks to PAWS San Diego, it did.
With dedicated staff and volunteers working the front line of this three-day event, PAWS San Diego made it possible for veterans with pets to participate by providing animal-sitting services, bags of pet food or care supplies to 70 pet families. This allowed veterans the time and peace of mind to obtain the services they need to get their lives on a better track – for themselves and their beloved companion animals.
In addition, through a new partnership with Banfield Pet Hospital this year, PAWS San Diego expanded the scope of its services to include animal wellness exams and vaccinations. This new offering improved the health and future well-being of 21 pets.
Russell was just one of the homeless veterans who relied on PAWS San Diego during Stand Down. His 10-year-old Chihuahua, Buttons, is the center of his world. Having a dog was never in Russell’s plan, especially such a small one! But he says he couldn’t help falling in love with Buttons.
Russell took comfort knowing that PAWS San Diego was looking after his beloved Buttons while he received various services for himself at Stand Down. Despite how busy Russell was, he made time to visit Buttons every day and take her on walks in the afternoons and evenings. He even visited Buttons each night to put a little jacket on her because he was worried she’d be cold.
At the end of this three-day event, both Russell and Buttons were healthier, happier and positioned for a brighter future together.
Protecting human-animal bonds, like the one so clearly shared between Russell and Buttons, is the reason PAWS San Diego exists and will continue to participate in impactful events like Stand Down.
Here is a recap of the vital services and supplies PAWS San Diego distributed at this year’s Stand Down event:
70 pet families impacted with information and supplies throughout the weekend
35 total animals were watched over (26 dogs, 7 cats, and 2 pigeons) throughout the weekend
28 bags of pet food handed out (15 dog, 12 cat, 1 bird seed)
21 animals received wellness examinations or vaccinations
17 bags of treats
5 cat carriers
It’s astonishing how something as simple as an 8lb bag of pet food, vaccinations, or animal care assistance can help vulnerable pet families – like homeless veterans and their companion animals – stay together. PAWS San Diego is honored to provide these resources to the retired servicemen and women who have given so much to our community and country.