PAWS in the Media item | PAWS Chicago

Community Medicine in Action

Mar 09, 2022

Read about Whiskey, a 15-year-old Chihuahua mix that was helped by the PAWS for Life outreach program

Don’t miss this Block Club Chicago story about Whiskey, a 15-year-old senior Chihuahua mix we were able to help through our PAWS for Life door-to-door outreach program that addresses pet resource inequities in Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods.


Since launching the program in 2014, we have built relationships with pet owners in Englewood, West Englewood, Woodlawn, and Back of the Yards, providing free services to 17,000 pets in those communities.

Whiskey was suffering from severe infections caused by advanced dental disease, which could have been fatal if left once the infection entered his blood stream. Our Community Medicine veterinary team performed a three-hour emergency dental surgery at our state-of-the-art Medical Center in Little Village. 

The PAWS Chicago Community Outreach team is composed of five different programs, each working in tandem to address pet overpopulation and resource inequity on the South Side of Chicago:

  • PAWS for Life - our door-to-door, relationship-building outreach program that removes barriers to spay/neuter and preventative care for pets
  • Community Medicine - where we provide complimentary weekly illness and injury veterinary care at our Englewood Outreach Center
  • Pet Help Hotline - where we connect residents to pet services, problem-solve issues around pet care and behavior, and counsel pet owners going through stress related to their pets (available in English and Spanish)
  • Pet Food Pantry - distributes donated pet food to residents, based out of our Englewood Outreach Center
  • Community Cats - creates access to trap-neuter-return services for residents who feed outdoor cats

Our teams work on the ground in our service communities five days a week, year-round, and our Pet Help Hotline receives 200 calls a day from South Side residents looking for help with their pets.

Seventy-five percent of the pets have never been to a vet, as there are no veterinarians, pet supply stores, or other pet-related resources in these neighborhoods. The majority – 95% – of pets are unaltered when we meet them, and 83% end up getting spayed. Whiskey was not neutered, so we performed a free neuter surgery as well. We’re there to connect with pet lovers who do not have access to these vital services.
To learn more about receiving assistance through our community outreach programs, call our Pet Help Hotline at: 773-217-9113.