Downtown Dog Rescue wants to keep pets with their family - even when they don't have housing

Phillip Palmer Image
Saturday, April 6, 2024
Downtown Dog Rescue helps those struggling to stay with their pets
Downtown Dog Rescue works to keep pets with their families - whether that family is housed or living on the streets.

People love their pets but the cost of caring for them can be overwhelming, especially when you struggle to care for yourself. Downtown Dog Rescue is in the business of helping pets stay with their families - whether that family is housed or living on the streets.

Clancy's Closet in South Gate is a thrift store for dogs and cats, selling discounted items to help fund Downtown Dog Rescue, a non-profit dedicated to keeping people and their pets together.

"We meet people where they are. Where they're at today," said Lori Weise, the executive director of Downtown Dog Rescue.

Started in 1996, DDR helps people on the streets of Los Angeles, where the need is obvious, but also low-income families who might be facing an unexpected and unaffordable vet bill.

"Our organization understood that, just with a little help, sometimes it's just once... financial support for the veterinarian, ongoing food donations, it really does make a difference in people's lives," Weise explains.

"I love shopping here, I love the cause, I love how they help people, I love Lori, I feel like it's family and everybody that comes here feels like it's family," said Elizabeth Castillo, a frequent shopper at Clancy's Closet.

Street outreach teams from Downtown Dog Rescue cover a wide area of L.A. From Skid Row to Compton, they offer access to veterinary care and support, keeping pets healthy and reducing shelter intake numbers.

"We will make that appointment for them, pick up the dog, take the dog to the hospital, do the surgery, bring the dog back... so it's, you know very holistic, and we make sure that they have access to vaccines, to spay/neuter, to food," said project coordinator Liv Sigel.

The focus of Downtown Dog Rescue may be the pet, but that's not the only thing they're trying to do. It's through the animal that they're able to make a connection with people who are living here.

"When their pet is the only thing that they have and that is not stable, then themselves are not going to be stable. So by helping the pets, we're helping the people and that is a full circle thing," explains Sigel.

Sean McPhilmy has used the help of Downtown Dog Rescue often and recommends them to his friends.

"They come through reliably with all kinds of assistance for us like medication for fleas and ticks and stuff like that... We get them for all the different sized dogs, and they provide us with a pretty decent amount of food also. It makes It a lot easier, less stressful not having to wonder sometimes how to get dog food, you know what I mean?"

A mobile clinic will soon increase the ability to provide more direct veterinary care, but the ultimate goal for Weise and her team will always be to get pet and owner housed.

"To touch somebody and to offer something that you have access to and the person maybe didn't know it existed... all you're doing is connecting... that's what makes my day so happy."