The History of Peace, Love & Paws

 

In November 2013, Dr. Carolyn Karrh, who became a veterinarian as a second, chosen career at the age of 40, started a non-profit organization called Peace, Love & Paws, dedicated to helping the pets of the homeless and indigent community of Denver, Colorado and the surrounding areas. After completing a shelter medicine internship at Colorado State University, she worked in several local animal shelters and developed a deep affinity for homeless animals. Then, while working as an associate for a well-known Denver veterinary hospital, she was consistently faced with the difficult dilemma of not being able to provide quality care for the pets of those who had little to no financial means. Dr. Karrh soon realized that there was a great need for veterinary care in the homeless and indigent community. Even though it was a non-profit hospital, clients were still expected to have a certain amount of money just to have an exam---and it was nearly impossible to help the homeless, as it was a “drain on hospital resources.” It was heartbreaking to watch pet parents be forced to choose between rent and life-saving pet vaccines, to witness people make medical decisions for their pets based on how much money they had, sometimes choosing euthanasia due to lack of financial resources, and to watch homeless citizens and their pets be turned away because they had, literally, no money.

After leaving that hospital after several years (and before starting Peace, Love & Paws), Dr. Karrh first volunteered her time with StreetPetz, a local organization that provided vaccine supplies to veterinarians who wanted to go into the community and vaccinate pets of the homeless. But she soon realized that this was a larger endeavor than expected, as she was unable to provide requested advanced medical care in addition to vaccines and wellness care. The homeless community had no resources for veterinary care for their pets---and they needed it.

At first, when talking with people about starting an organization to help pets of the homeless, many people scoffed at the idea, stating emphatically that “you shouldn't have a pet if you can't afford one.” But Dr. Karrh, a life-long lover of animals and pet parent to dogs, cats, birds, fish, small mammals, etc., believed differently. And she knew there was a need. And having few resources to help the old man on the sidewalk with his chihuahua or the kind woman pushing a packed grocery cart with her cat on top was the final catalyst for starting PLP.

The first clinic was offered in February 2014, at a local homeless day shelter, Father Woody’s Haven of Hope. After talking with the Executive Director there months before, it was clear they both had the same mission, to provide care for those who were experiencing homelessness, and help pets and their owners stay together by keeping them healthy and providing for their basic needs. The first clinic was set up with one veterinarian (Dr. Karrh) and two technicians---about 13 people and their pets came. It wasn’t long before word got out and each clinic thereafter saw sometimes upwards of 60 pets! Gradually, the need for more volunteers became necessary, and PLP now in 2017, after three years, has a volunteer base of about 30 people, offering a once monthly free veterinary clinic to the homeless and indigent at a local church with 4-5 veterinarians, 10 technicians and assistants, and several more volunteers to help with administration and other duties. In addition to having a volunteer mobile groomer each month, PLP has also developed a partnership with Colorado Pet Food Pantry and provides hundreds of pounds of food for our clients at each clinic. We are regularly reminded of how important our services are to this community with thanks yous, hugs and many tears of gratefulness from our homeless and indigent friends.

The basis of our organization is this: we know how important pets can be to our physical, emotional and mental health. In addition to many others who are financially disadvantaged, there is a large Denver homeless and indigent population who have pets---and they love their fur-children as much as anyone else! For many in this community, their pets are their only companions---they provide the unconditional love they often don't receive in the community as a whole, so quite often, their pet parents will forego their own needs in order to care for their animals' needs. Their fur-children are well-loved and deserve proper veterinary care, as they have no control over their circumstances and to whom they belong. Because their parents are often not able to afford veterinary care or often just simple pet needs, we provide basic wellness care, vaccines, pet supplies, food, bathing and grooming, nail trims, ear cleanings, and address minor health concerns.

Our future goal is to open a full-service facility that will provide more services including diagnostic tests parasite testing, bloodwork, other labwork, xrays, hospitalization if necessary and surgeries/dental procedures for pets of those who are homeless or indigent. We hope to be able to help anyone who needs it, regardless of their financial means or ability to pay.

Peace, Love & Paws has been a registered Colorado 501(c)(3) non-profit organization since November 2013.

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What We Do:

We are a registered Colorado non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to help care for pets of the homeless and indigent community and those who are economically disadvantaged in the Denver metro area. We do this by providing free pet exams, vaccines, dental evaluations, nail trims, minor illness consultations and medications if possible, dog and cat food, treats, pet beds, leashes, collars, etc. We are funded solely on donations (monetary and items) and are strictly a volunteer organization.  All monetary donations go toward purchasing supplies for our clinics and all item donations go directly to the people and their pets!

Proud Member

of the

What We Do:

We are a registered Colorado non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission it is to help care for pets of the homeless and indigent community in the Denver metro area.  We do this by providing free pet exams, vaccines, minor illness consultations and medications, dog and cat food, treats, pet beds, leashes, collars, etc.  We do not charge our clients for any services or pet supplies.  We are funded solely on donations (monetary and items listed above) and are strictly a volunteer organization.  All monetary donations go toward purchasing supplies for our clinics and all item donations go directly to

our clients and their pets.

 

You can help people

and their pets NOW!

For Pets of the Homeless/Indigent Community:

 

Pet health exams

Minor medical illness treatment

Vaccines

Rabies certificates and Rabies tags

Heartworm testing 

Heartworm medication

Vaccine records

Nail trims

Dog and cat toys

Dog and cat food

Leashes and collars

Pet jackets, sweaters and coats

Pet beds and carriers

Vouchers for free spays and neuters

Matted hair shaving, as medically necessary

 

 

UPCOMING CLINICS:

December 5th

January 9th (the second Thursday)

February 6th

March 5th

April 2nd

May 7th

June 4th

July 2nd

August 6th

September 3rd

October 1st

November 5th

December 3rd

NOVEMBER 2019 CLINIC:

Our November clinic will be on Thursday, November 7th from 9 am-12 noon at St Barnabas Episcopal Church (address below).  Registration will start at 8:00 am.

 

Please know that will be working with a small veterinary volunteer team each month and each pet may not be able to see a veterinarian.  So, if your pet only needs vaccines, heartworm testing or nail trimming only, a veterinary technician team will be happy to assist you with this, as your pet may not be able to see a vet this time.  We may be limiting our veterinarian exams to sick patients only--to be triaged by our medical staff at the time of registration, so if you feel that your pet needs to be seen by a vet, we are happy to accommodate as many people as we can---there may be a long wait time, however, so bring a book!  :)

 

If you need help before or after our clinic, please visit the Resource page on our website for a list of low cost veterinary clinics in the Denver and

surrounding areas, as we are unable to provide urgent or emergency services. 

St. Barnabus Episcopal Church

1280 Vine St.

Denver, CO 80206

(see map in the "Contact Us" tab)

Just need help with PET FOOD? 

Please contact the

Colorado Pet Pantry:

303-818-0618

eileen@coloradopetpantry.org

https://www.coloradopetpantry.org/

 

OTHER EVENTS::

Project Homeless Connect

Colorado Convention Center

Thursday, October 10th

We will be providing veterinary care, vaccines, pet food and pet supplies for pets of those experiencing homelessness.


 

 

 

 

 

We do not charge for any of our services, although we do accept donations as you are able.

We provide all of the services listed above, however, we are currently unable to provide heartworm testing, heartworm medication, microchipping, labwork, surgeries or  dental cleanings.  Additionally, we are unable to provide veterinary care outside of our regularly scheduled free clinics. 

 

If your pet needs assistance at times other than the first Thursday of the month, visit our Resource page for local low-cost veterinary clinics and hospitals that can provide these additional services.

 

 

 

QUALIFICATIONS TO USE OUR SERVICES:

 

If your pet is over the age of 6 months, he or she must be SPAYED OR NEUTERED to use the services of Peace, Love & Paws (exceptions include advanced age or severe illness---this will be determined by our veterinarian).  If your pet is not spayed or neutered, we will see your pet once, determine if your pet is an exception to this rule, then if not, you will need to have your pet spayed or neutered in order to be seen again.  We do not provide services to breeding dogs and cats.  We can provide free spay/neuter vouchers for those who need it and qualify (see below).  You will be asked to provide proof of need once per year.

 

You must PROVIDE PROOF OF NEED to use our services by bringing one of the following:

  • Quest or EBT card

  • Paycheck stub (showing income of no more than $769 per 2-week paycheck) 

  • Income-tax return form (showing income of no more than $30,000 gross per year)

  • Unemployment check stub (with current date)

  • Medicaid card

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) ID or letter

  • FDPIR

  • WIC

  • Or you must be currently experiencing homelessness