I was asked the other day, “Why on earth would you want to start your own nonprofit. The headaches, the politics, the drama, just, why?” I paused after I was asked that, because I guess I never really thought about it that way.
While growing up, we had tons of animals. Always had at least 5 dogs, a few cats, and a few birds. But while growing up, we also didn’t have a lot of money. My grandmother, she was the matriarch of our family, and she always found dogs on the street brought them home, treated them if they were sick, and sometimes kept them. This woman, saved on the low end, 20 dogs a year, and on the heavier years up to 35 dogs. My grandmother only had a 6th grade education, and yet, she was able to raise her four kids on her own, work full time, run her own small business, and rescue animals. She barely made ends meet, barely was able to scrape enough money together to feed her kids, let alone the animals, but she always found a way.
A lot of what has shaped me now began with my grandmother, Mary. That strong, bold, and tenacious woman that built my family. I would help her every day, feed, walk, bathe, and play with all the animals. When I first started bringing animals home, she showed me what I needed to do. My first kitten season, was when I was 11. We lived in South Los Ángeles 90011, and we found 6 different kitten litters, my grandmother showed my sister and I how to bottle feed, and we raised over 25 kittens that season.
Back then we didn’t know about spay or neuter. Back then, we didn’t have the resources or the information on spay/neuter, the importance of vaccines, microchips, or wellness services. We loved our pets, but we only could do so much.
I think often about my grandmother, and what she would say about what we do. One of the saying she always would tell us, her motto in life. She would say, “mijita, you must like it because your aren’t doing anything about it. If you didn’t like it, you would change it. If you didn’t like it, you would do anything to change it.”
I started PAW Mission, because I do believe that people who struggle financially are just as great pet parents as people without financial issues. I believe every animal’s life is worth love, respect, and dignity. I believe we can make resources more accessible to people, and provide information without judgement. I believe people as a whole will do right by their pets if given the ability and the resources.
We know there are shelters still killing animals for space. We know there are accidental litters of dogs and cats being born. We know there is a family thinking about giving up these beloved pet because they cannot afford basic needs, but cannot bear to see it go into the shelter. We know it. We see it.
We don’t like it.
So we are doing something about it.
PAW Mission, we are here for them.