In May of 2012, I attended Animal Care Expo in Las Vegas and learned about a brand new community outreach program called “Pets For Life”. At that time, the City of Dallas No Kill task force was wrapping up, having concluded that the way to make Dallas a no kill community was to focus more effort on the community, rather than the shelter. I knew right away Pets For life was what we needed. It’s taken nearly two years, but thanks to the wonderful PFL team at HSUS, the generosity of PetSmart Charities, and a Grow South grant and the hard work of everyone at the Dallas Companion Animal Project, and their partners at Duck Team 6 and Spay Neuter Network, Pets For Life Dallas became a reality this past Saturday.
What is Pets For Life? PFL is a non-judgmental community outreach program that focuses on building relationships in targeted areas where low- income residents have little or no access to pet related services – no PetSmart, no Petco, no groomers, no veterinarians. Their role models are their parents and their neighbors, they work for minimum wage, and many have no reliable transportation.
For weeks prior to the event, PFL volunteers canvassed the targeted area near Beckley-Saner Recreation Center in South Dallas, meeting with the neighbors and asking about their pets. Volunteers invited the pet owners they met to the event, which offered free vaccinations, free microchips, free nail trims, free collars and leashes, health and behavioral information and a chance to meet other pets lovers in the area.
This week, DCAP volunteers will be following up with the people we met, helping them get their pets scheduled for free spay/neuter appointments, and arranging transportation if needed. We’ll be there for them the day of the surgery, and we’ll follow up with them afterward. And we’ll be around down the road if/when they need help again, providing the resources they need.
The best part? Many of the guests at the event were so grateful for our help that they are becoming ambassadors for the program, helping spread the word that we’re here to help, and encouraging their neighbors to be responsible pet owners.
For more information on Pets For Life, visit HumaneSociety.org/PetsForLife.
To volunteer or donate, visit DallasAnimals.org.