By Tamara Anne Fowler | CNA Media Team
The fear is that the day may come when only the wealthy can afford pets. With the rising cost of pet deposits and rents, as well as veterinary care, that time might not be far off.
Enter Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team. PAW Team provides free veterinary care to the animals of people experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty. PAW Team offer vaccinations, some surgeries as well as spay and neuter services, and has been a part of the Portland community for the past 10 years.
In the recent past, there were no overnight shelter options for people who had pets – causing many to have no other option than to spend their nights on the street. Now, recognizing how important this is, some shelters are starting to allow pets.
Concordian Margaret Wixson volunteers for PAW Team.
Landing her first job out of the University of California, Davis veterinary program, Margaret works at the Oregon Humane Society (OHS). She spends her weekdays working as a shelter veterinarian there.
During her off hours, she serves on the board of PAW Team. She has been doing so for the past year.
Margaret volunteers at drop-in clinics and provides phone and email consultations when she can’t be there during the week. “We have a team of amazing vets who see patients during the week,” she pointed out.
By the time a diagnosis reaches Margaret, the pet has been seen by the PAW medical team and comes with a plan of action.
PAW Team uses donated surgery spaces to conduct the spay and neuter clinic a few times a year. Those days are labor-intensive, including identifying volunteers to help some clients who don’t have transport.
So PAW Team relies on volunteers to caravan them.
Concordia is Margaret’s favorite neighborhood. She loves the linear arboretum on Ainsworth, and she appreciates how close she is to 42nd Avenue, and Dekum and Killingsworth streets.
She also finds it a dog-friendly neighborhood and enjoys the dog parks. “I know my neighbors by their dogs,” Margaret admitted. “I know the dogs’ names, not the names of their owners.”
Being bike accessible is another amenity that impresses Margaret. But, even more, she is thrilled being a part of PAW Team. “Nobody should ever have to make the decision between their meds and their dog’s meds.”
Tamara Anne Fowler is Edit Kitten, a writer with 20-plus years of experience offering a sof ter, gentler approach to editing and coaching. Her personal editors — Armani, Max Factor and Spicey’D — are also her cats. Visit her at EditKitten.com or contact her at Tamara@EditKitten. com.