Forget making a trip to the veterinarian’s office—animal care organization C.A.R.E.4Paws is fundraising for a larger mobile vet clinic that’ll come to you.
The organization provides affordable veterinary services to low-income, senior, disabled, and homeless pet owners in Santa Barbara County. However, its recent expansion of services to SLO County in February 2022 and the number of residents seeking affordable veterinary care since the pandemic have put a significant strain on C.A.R.E.4Paws, which is why the organization is looking to raise money for a larger, brand new mobile vet clinic.
“We used to help about 7,000 pet families every year before the pandemic, and now we’re helping more than 20,000. And that’s just in Santa Barbara County alone,” said Isabelle Gullo, C.A.R.E.4Paws executive director and co-founder.
The larger, 37-foot mobile vet clinic would help with handling C.A.R.E.4Paws’ newest program, Snip & Chip SLO, which was developed in partnership with nonprofits such as the Animals in Need Fund and Animal Shelter Adoption Partners.
“One thing we’re struggling with right now is that there’s a huge demand for spaying and neutering and other services for large dogs, but we can only accommodate so many per clinic day because of our current setup,” Gullo said.
So far, the organization has raised $252,000 but needs $100,000 more to meet the fundraising goal.
“Our goal is to reach $350,000 by March because we were picking the unit up in April,” Gullo said.
The two current mobile clinics that C.A.R.E.4Paws uses are 26 feet long, but they’re as capable of providing similar services as a stationary vet clinic.
“You’d be surprised how many people we can fit in there,” Gullo said.
However, the current mobile clinics lack the space to provide certain services like X-rays, so C.A.R.E.4Paws has partnered with several local veterinarians and animal clinics for those services that the nonprofit can’t provide inside its mobile clinics.
“We always work with the clients and figure out what they can do, and if we can get discounts from the vet clinics that we work with, [to] pitch in a little bit of money,” Gullo said.
Aside from their mobile vet clinic services, C.A.R.E.4Paws offers a variety of programs, such as the Companion Pet Assistance program, where pet owners can pick up emergency food and supplies and sign up for critical mobile clinic services. For those facing domestic violence situations, C.A.R.E.4Paws has a program dedicated to providing a safe haven for pets so their owners can leave an abusive partner without fearing for the well-being of their pet.
In addition to monetary donations toward the fundraising goal, community members can also drop off dry and canned pet food at various locations throughout Santa Barbara County. Want to contribute with a hands-on approach? C.A.R.E.4Paws offers multiple volunteer opportunities to those looking to lend a helping hand.
“For me, it’s just really wonderful to see how the organization is able to grow, and that’s just because of the community support,” Gullo said. “We have a really wonderful team that I would say, no pun intended, really goes the extra mile to help families in need.”
To find out more ways to help or for a comprehensive schedule of upcoming pet wellness clinics, visit the C.A.R.E.4Paws’ website at care4paws.org.