Large orange pizza boxes piled high on the counters of Sox Place’s kitchen awaiting the flood of street kids and travelers that would be hungry for lunch. On Wednesday June 1, 2016 those big red doors opened like they often do and the stream of kids lined up for lunch grabbing cheese pizza by the slice donated from Little Cesar’s.
Free pizza was met with yet another treat. An animal clinic hosted by For the Love of Paws, a local rescue that has found it’s place partnering with Sox Place stepping up as our primary vet resource for all things pets. Jen, the heart of the operations works around the clock for Sox Place and all our visiting pets, even though a year ago she admits that she was not interested in the partnership at all.
“We had never heard of Sox Place. I just knew that we did not have time,” said Jen. But Cindy from a non-profit called Favors Project who often donated collars and leashes to Sox Place didn’t give up on her. Eventually Jen agreed to meet with Jordan Robinson and got a tour of Sox Place. Little did she know what she was in for.
After talking for several hours and witnessing the multitude of kids and pets, Jen couldn’t say no. “I remember coming here for the first time and just being blown away by this place,” said Jen, “It was different than what every other rescue was doing, and we were trying to find our place in rescue.”
For the Love of Paws was on the hunt for a mission that fueled their fire and took rescue a step further from the amazing work of just pulling animals from shelters. “Our hearts wanted more, and we found it the minute I walked in the door here,” said Jen.
Megan Brocato, another key player For the Love of Paws recalled getting a phone call after Jen’s meeting with Jordan. The memories played back in her head like an old record, “I remember Jen calling me and just saying ‘This is what we need to do, and I need you to be on bored,’ recalled Megan. Just a week later they both found themselves being engulfed by the missions at Sox Place.
By 4:00 P.M. last Wednesday the team of volunteers had served eleven dogs and two cats, treating them with a series of vaccines, distemper, and even microchips. This basic and yet necessary care can often cost a pet owner a good chunk of change, and yet they offered the whole clinic for free.
According to a 2014 article off CBS money watch, Americans spend $55.7 billion dollars on their pets annually for all costs. Later in the article it reports that $14.37 billion dollars were spent just on veterinary care.
For the Love of Paws works around the clock networking and fundraising for Sox Place and the pets that are passing through those big red doors. “We have donors and grants that are specifically for Sox Place and Best Pets and (C.A.R.E) sponsored this clinic. There are people behind us that are behind you guys.”
For the Love of Paws not only helps provide dog and cat food, leashes and coats, but also has connections with groups that are ready to pick up any spay and neuter costs that come out of Sox Place. One of the dogs that was treated was a black momma Pit Bull who happened to be super sick. Jen kneeled down in front of the dog owner with her hair pulled back in a ponytail behind a ball cap. After having a very hard conversation with the owner, they agreed the dog would receive urgent care the next day, expenses paid for.
“She’s going to the vet tomorrow,” Jen said shaking her head. “Jeff is going to do what needs to be done on her and the best part is that it’s totally paid for, that dog needs serious medical attention,” said Jen with passion in her eyes.
When Jen and Megan started this rescue a year ago, they approached Jeff Baier to come on board, who is the designated Veterinarian for the clinic.
“We knew we needed to get him and we didn’t even have to convince him to do it, he just said yes right away. He is a blessing to us,” said Jen. Jeff is a Vet at Planned Pethood Plus and get’s Jen’s emergency rescues into a very busy clinic. “We could not do what we do without him. The pit bull is in tomorrow, which otherwise would have taken just 24 hours to get a phone call back,” said Jen.
While working in rescue for animals and pet owners can be rewarding, there are lots of difficult conversations and decisions that Jen and Megan are faced with. While spending time at Sox Place, there have been times where Jen felt the need to step in to a dog or cats life and help make the owner make a choice that both benefits the animal as well as the owner. “There was a puppy that I met here and I told the kid, this one’s got to go, because she’s not going to make it,” said Jen remembering those agonizing times.
Those hard decisions don’t stop at the door of Sox Place either. When a dog out of Sox Place ends up in a shelter Jen is often faced with the choice of leaving them there to be adopted to a new family or to put them back on the street. Back in the hands of a street kid.
Only a few weeks ago one of Sox Place’s kids was approached by Jen for this exact reason. Jessica, an owner of black lab as well as four other pets had her hands full. Jen recognized the lab to be a great animal and eventually asked Jessica to let him go to a home.
“I like Jessica she’s one of those kids that just knows that she couldn’t do it anymore. It was too much. Those are hard choices that we have to make, and she wants to do right for her animals. That’s the kind of kid that we love working with because the want to do the right thing.” said Jen.
There are so many stories and special relationships at Sox Place between a human and their pet. After working in rescue there’s a lot of terrible things that they witness happen to animals but they admit that these kids are not the ones abusing their pets. “That’s their soul pet, their life, their buddy. They’re not going to abuse their animal. I see a greater appreciation for their animals from these kids,” said Jen.
Pets can play a big role in a persons life and we are so grateful for our friends at For The Love of Paws and all that they do to support Sox Place and our pets. If you believe in what they are doing for Sox Place please consider visiting their Facebook page. We are so excited to see how this friendship will continue to grow between us.
Last Friday Sox Place was blessed by the presence of organizations, Favor’s Project and For the Love of Paws Rescue, who ended up making a difference in the lives of street kids and their pets. By the end of the day Twenty-two pets received vaccinations, deworming, and treatment for fleas and ticks and a check up provided by Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Barin. Dog baths were provided by Chuck and Don’s Pet store from Lakewood and there was additional help from DMK rehoming and The San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society.
The teams of volunteers unpacked their vehicles full of boxes containing mass amounts of dog food, leashes, collars, and doggy treats. For the Love of Paws provided all the vaccines that would be given to the dogs and one very brave cat.
“If these kids went to a vet and asked for vacs, this is everything that they would get,” said Jenn with For the Love of Paws.
The doors opened at noon, but many of the kids began gathering in the back, dogs in hand, as early as 9:00 a.m. waiting for the green light to grab food and sign their loyal companions up for a day of care.
Nancy from San Luis Valley Animal Welfare Society met each dog and owner, getting them on the waiting list to get in to see the doc.
Many of these dogs are on the road, or haven’t had the vaccines they need due to the lack of education and cost, leaving their pets vulnerable for infection and disease. The volunteers were a beacon of hope in the lives of these homeless pet owners by providing 100% free love and care.
Dogs are very common for street kids to have. As a pet owner myself, I understand that a dog or cat is not just a furry face, they become family members. Dogs are a fountain of unconditional love and loyalty when treated well, and many of these kids have never experienced that kind of treatment from the families they were born into, so it’s no surprise that dogs are so common among the homeless youth.
Records and documentation of the updated treatment for the pets were kept and handed out to each one of their owners. All the volunteers were so well informed and answered a lot of questions that these kids had about proper treatment.
There’s no doubt the genuine love and compassion that all the volunteers felt for both our street kids and their pets.