News Item | PAWS Chicago

PAWS Helping People Help Animals in Need

Feb 22, 2019

A story of 7 Back of the Yards pets - preventing the cycle of unwanted breeding

Four days each week, the waiting room at PAWS Chicago’s Lurie Clinic in Little Village is full of people with their pets. Even more animals are brought in by feral cat caretakers and PAWS for Life outreach. An average of 80 pets are spayed or neutered each day for free or low-cost, depending on need. Here is one family’s story. 

Through our PAWS for Life program, our social workers and volunteers canvas the Englewood and Back of the Yards neighborhoods where access to basic pet-care resources is severely limited. Before PAWS, spayed or neutered pets were rare.  But we’ve been at work going door-to-door since 2014, so that’s changing. 

Rene, like many residents of the Back of the Yards community, is a lifelong animal lover. When he sees a pet in need, his instinct is to help. And since his neighborhood typically lacks access to spay/neuter surgeries, he’s met plenty of animals from accidental litters in need of a home.

First it was a Pitbull puppy in need, and Rene welcomed him home. Next, when neighbors could no longer keep their Chihuahua, Rene again opened his door. And later, his family was also kind enough to take in another dog on the verge of homelessness.

And it wasn’t just dogs. When an accidental litter of cats in the neighborhood came to his attention, Rene stepped up to take one in. Fiona was Rene’s first cat so they purchased all the needsed supplies. 

But Fiona got outside one day. A few weeks later, it was clear the cat was pregnant. “I had no idea this could happen so quickly. I wasn’t sure what to do next,” Rene said. Overwhelmed with the responsibility, Rene reached out to a friend for help, who connected him with PAWS.

Our PAWS for Life team worked with Rene and his family to develop a care plan to ensure they were prepared to care for Fiona and her kittens. Fiona gave birth to four kittens this past September,  and our team supported Rene to ensure each of them (including Roxas, pictured above) received the best care.

As part of that essential preventative work, on February 6th Rene’s entire pet household was picked up by the PAWS for Life Community Outreach Team for a comprehensive care offering of spay/neuter surgeries plus vaccinations and microchips.

Thanks to the sustained efforts of our PAWS for Life outreach team and Rene’s loving commitment to his pets, we have not only helped ensure the health of an entire family of pets, but they will no longer repeat the cycle of unwanted breeding that leads to unwanted pets dying on the streets or in kill shelters. Prevention is the most important way to build No Kill communities!