On April 1, Santa Barbara County nonprofit C.A.R.E.4Paws launched a new mobile clinic and expanded two of its largest programs to address the needs of low-income, senior and disabled community members and their pets. The goal: to prevent suffering and ensure animals can stay with their families for life.
The new clinic, which replaced C.A.R.E.4Paws’ aging and lower-capacity “Spay Mobile,” will allow the organization to perform more mobile spays and neuters each year and to treat a majority of pets in need of veterinary assistance “in-house” instead of sending these clients to a partner veterinarian.
In fact, C.A.R.E.4Paws will more than triple the number of pets helped through its Veterinary Intervention Program in 2018, from 100 to 350, and the program has gone countywide. The expansion is partly due to the recent closing of Diana Basehart Foundation and the formation of the Basehart Lifeline Fund under C.A.R.E.4Paws. For the past four years, Diana Basehart Foundation has provided critical veterinary care to more than 1,500 dogs and cats, serving southern Santa Barbara County. Going forward, founder Diana Basehart will contribute significantly to C.A.R.E.4Paws’ Lifeline Fund to ensure pets in the Santa Barbara area continue to receive the medical attention they need.
“If you look at the reasons why animals end up in shelters, lack of resources to provide vet care tops the list,” says Executive Director Isabelle Gullo, who cofounded C.A.R.E.4Paws in 2009 to prevent animals from becoming homeless in the first place. “Many owners, as much as they love their pets, make the tough decision to relinquish their animals in hope they will receive medical help this way.”
Often, these pets suffer from treatable medical conditions, like skin infections and dental disease, and with financial assistance, the animals could have stayed with their families. “By offering support, we not only prevent a lot of heartache, but we save the community money,” Gullo says. “It costs C.A.R.E.4Paws an average of $150-$250 to provide medical care for one dog or cat, and it costs most shelters $300 or more to house one animal for a month.”
With the help of grants and private donations, C.A.R.E.4Paws supports the county’s most underserved communities, where many families live at or below the poverty line and have limited access to pet care of any kind. The Spay Mobile is vital to the organization’s work as it brings free and low-cost services directly to those in need, including weekly spay/neuter, vaccine and vet care days.
On medical days, which happen on Fridays, the mobile veterinary staff assists pets in their homes or at a central location, providing anything from vaccinations and wound treatment to dental cleanings and mass removals. The nonprofit can also visit senior care facilities and assisted living communities.
Depending on a pet owner’s situation, mobile medical services are offered for free or at very low cost, and all clients requesting help must fill out an application and show proof of financial need.
“We’re very excited to increase the use of our mobile clinic and make our services even more accessible to the animals and pet owners that need us the most,” says Gullo.
For more information about C.A.R.E.4Paws’ mobile clinic and its services, to make a donation, or to apply for assistance, please visit care4paws.org or call 805-968-CARE.