We moved in July from the sprawling warehouse in the industrial district to the St. Francis Complex in South East Portland and what a difference the location makes!
To be clear, our new digs are much smaller, by about ten times smaller than the old place. But contrary to what they say, size doesn't actually have to matter. Our first couple of clinics have gone petty smoothly, thanks to the many volunteers and a whole lot of proactive work.
We now operate out of what used to be an old school building (the clinic is technically in the fifth grade classroom!) and use the multipurpose room in the basement for a waiting room. That room is large and climate controlled, it was nice and cool on the hot summer Sunday of our first clinic. Thanks to Robin Smith, our Board President who just so happens to also be a substitute teacher, we were all using our "inside voices" to combat the echoing hallways. The clinic was actually very quiet, even with four pets being seen at the same time.
Every day we register new clients who find us because of where we are. Clients who live out of shopping carts in the area like "Zombie" and his cat Furby, and clients that are just passing through and get a meal at the St. Francis Dining Hall like Darryl and his dog who just to happened to wander through and found us, getting food, flea control, a harness and leash for his four-legged buddy. We're also dispensing a fair amount of education to pet people to help them take better care of their pets such as why prong and choke collars shouldn't be used, and how to keep pets healthy in the scorching heat when you live on the streets.
I've been asked a few times if the location is good for the PAW Team. While this building is old and not exactly glamorous, it actually works really well for what we do and for our clients, it is in the perfect location. They can find us, even when they didn't know we existed.
There's been a huge increase in demand for our services as a result of the move. We're in "homeless central" and word on the street spreads rapidly. The good news is that we're helping lots of animals that truly need help, although it's stretching our resources to the limit. We need to build a new ADA ramp and bathroom to accommodate clients with restricted mobility; we need to do basic, boring things like paint rooms and change out old (and icky) carpeting. From the costs of security our medications to making the building comfortable for the disabled, we can use your help
In a world where those we assist are the poorest of the poor, there's no shortage of people who need us and ways in which they need us. If you'd like to make a contribution toward our new facility, click here. It can make it a little easier for those who are struggling, not just financially, but with just physically making it to our facility.
Cindy Scheel, Executive Director, PAW Team