C.A.R.E.4Paws had the opportunity to pick one community to serve when it applied for the Access to Care project grant. Gullö said Oceano is a fairly remote area where pet families have zero access to veterinary care or even affordable pet food, about 42 percent of the community members are Hispanic, and the per-capita income is less than $34,000 per year.
As part of the first Pet Wellness Clinic event at the Oceano Parks and Recreation facility on Aug. 6, the nonprofit will provide free spay/neuters and medical care inside its mobile units by prior appointment, as well as a walk-in clinic with free vaccines, microchipping, flea treatment, deworming medication, and nail trimming. Gullö said C.A.R.E.4Paws will be back in Oceano on Aug. 11 and 18 and then either weekly or biweekly, depending on the turnout to the first couple of events.
“It’s a bit hard to say how huge the need is going to be, but we are definitely planning on having a regular presence there going forward,” she said.
Gullö cofounded the nonprofit in 2009 with fellow Santa Barbara County Animal Services shelter volunteer Carlos Abitia, C.A.R.E.4Paws’ mobile clinic manager. She said they realized that the main contributor to shelter overpopulation is a lack of access to affordable pet care, so they launched the nonprofit that would work directly with communities, providing low- and no-cost care to pet families in need. In 2022, C.A.R.E.4Paws expanded its mobile community outreach and spay/neuter outreach program into SLO County with plans to do more in the future, including serving communities in North County.
On Aug. 6, the nonprofit will be rolling out its new 37-foot mobile clinic in Oceano, which C.A.R.E.4Paws raised money for over the last three years.
“The new clinic is larger and better equipped than our existing 26-foot units, with capacity for two surgery teams and increased kennels space, which allows us to house more large dogs during clinic days,” Gullö said. “This means we will use it the most going forward, but we plan to double up or use all three units as often as resources allow. The need for help keeps growing in both Santa Barbara and SLO counties, and we want to do all we can to meet that demand.”
To make an appointment, visit care4paws.org/clinicservices and care4paws.org/oceano. To learn more about C.A.R.E.4Paws and find out how to contribute to the organization, visit care4paws.org/how-to-help.