Community Outreach: A People Approach
The Gateway Pet Guardians Community Outreach Program began in January 2013 as a response to bitter cold temperatures and dogs left outside in the elements. Since its inception, it has grown into a program with dozens of volunteers that spend their weekends in the community, helping residents improve the lives of their family pets. By arming community members with doghouses, tie-outs, bowls, leashes, collars, and other supplies, they make it easier for community members to care for their animals.
What happens in a typical day of outreach? Volunteer Tanya Koelker explains: “We might see a resident who has five dogs with heavy chains in their backyard and dilapidated dog houses. We speak to the resident regarding the chains, how they are illegal and damaging to the dog and arrange for them to be replaced with tie-outs and provide the resident new dog houses. We also provide straw for the houses, information on the food program, free spay/neuter, vaccinations, etc. We work on building relationships with community members and educating residents as well.”
The bonds that are formed with residents are what fuel the program, and word of mouth helps spread news of our resources. “Our approach has made us a resource for residents of the community, and they see us as an ally for not only their pets but for themselves as well,” says volunteer Brittnee Curlett. “We come at just the right time to offer help when they are struggling, or tell them about resources we offer that they have never even heard of but are more than happy to do for their pets, and we gain not only another case but friendships. Changing perceptions is one of the most important things I get from going out and helping those in communities closest to me.”
The Community Outreach Program is what truly sets Gateway Pet Guardians apart. We believe compassion towards people is just as important as compassion towards animals, and our approach has proven successful in the Metro East community. If you would like to help us make a difference in the lives of community pets, visit www.gatewaypets.com/donate and make a donation today. Your donation can help us keep a community pet in its loving home instead of becoming another homeless animal on the streets or in a community shelter.