The work of the Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team began in the early 1990s and became an official 501(c)3 organization in 2003 when compassionate, community minded veterinarians came together to provide critically needed veterinary care to the companion animals of those in need. Operating on a shoe-string budget, four-legged clients were seen and treated in makeshift clinics located in basements, lobbies, courtyards, warehouses, and in a variety of parks and homeless encampments. Since its inception, PAW Team has established itself as the one and only source of free veterinary care for the pets of people who are homeless or living in extreme poverty. Hundreds of them rely on us to provide life enhancing, lifesaving medical care to their beloved companion animals. We are proud to play a unique, vital role in contributing to the strength and integrity of our community’s social safety net.
Our three main programs are:
- Basic Veterinary Care - Through our free veterinary clinics we provide: a veterinary exam, vaccines, a county license, a microchip, any needed medications, food, and supplies, all free of charge to the client. Utilizing volunteer veterinarians, we host at least seven clinics a month. Because we do use volunteer veterinarians, we cannot offer emergency veterinary care to clients, however, we do what we can to coordinate with clients and partners to find the best alternatives for the injured pet. In 2018, we helped 1,687 pets belonging to 1,262 families (a 70% increase over 2017 statistics); we offered 1,371 free veterinary appointments at 91 clinics. We ensure every dog and cat we see is vaccinated, microchipped and spayed or neutered.
- Spay/Neuter Surgeries - For pets not spayed/neutered, we partner with local organizations to provide the service at no cost to the client. This service further helps reduce the pet overpopulation in our community, keeps more animals from being abandoned or turned into local animal control agencies. It also helps keep animals healthier as they age. In 2018, coordinated 646 spay/neuter surgeries, an increase of 60% from 2017 figures.
- Major Surgeries - We offer free lifesaving and life enhancing surgeries to our patients through our close partnerships with veterinary clinics in the Portland Metro area. These clinics offer us major surgeries at less than 20% of market rate, allowing our resources to serve as many pets as possible. Most surgeries we see are mass removals and biopsies, as well as dental surgeries. Both surgeries can prove to be lifesaving for an animal, but more often, they turn out to be life enhancing as the significantly ease pain and can make movement much easier.