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On Friday, January 13th PAWS/LA honored a few of its most dedicated volunteers with a special event presented at BottleRock LA. Distinguished volunteers received the President's Volunteer Service Award recognizing the hundreds of hours they gave to the PAWS/LA community in 2016.
The PVSA encourages citizens to live a life of service. Our volunteers definitely meet up to the award's vision of recognizing those who take positive action to change the world.
Thanks to these volunteers -- and to each one of you who serves PAWS/LA-- we continue to accomplish our mission of keeping people and pets together.
PAWS/LA has been invited to participate in a fun event called Night on Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. We are partnering with a downtown-LA group called DTLA PROUD, which works to create an all inclusive community that represents the diverse population that lives, works and plays downtown.
We're saying farewell to 2016 and welcoming the New Year.
1. PAWS/LA helped care for more than 1,800 companion animals in 2016.
2. Our food bank delivered 40 tons of food to hungry pets.
3. We served 1,100 HIV-positive individuals and low-income seniors.
4. We provided more than 1,000 veterinary visits!
5. Our volunteers provided 7,000 hours in support of our homebound clients!
6. Our Housing Advocacy Program helped scores of disabled pet guardians stay in their homes.
7. Your gift is tax-deductible!
8. Because it's never too late to make a difference.
I want to ring in the New Year by donating to PAWS/LA.
This holiday season I want to thank you for helping me and my best friend, Miss Bella, stay together. From the bottom of my heart, I am forever grateful that there are people like you who support PAWS/LA. Trust me, your donation to PAWS/LA has been a gift to me and Bella and has definitely made a difference in our lives.
I want to share my story with you so you know how your support has so positively impacted my life.
Before I met Bella I was crippled by loneliness and living in darkness. I was homeless and living with HIV; I had been incarcerated because of my dependence on drugs and alcohol. I can still remember sitting in a prison cell, praying for another chance. My prayers were answered when I got out of prison and had a chance to get back on my feet. But through it all, I felt alone. I had no family or friends on the outside.
That all changed when I met Miss Bella. I’m not too tough to say this, especially because it’s true: Bella has transformed my life. Thanks to her I’ve managed to stay clean and sober. Her love allowed me to put my life back on track. I now have a job, which I enjoy and am good at, and I have a place to live. Things aren’t perfect, but Bella gives me a reason to wake up in the morning and to come home at night.
When Bella first came to live with me she was seriously ill. I had heard of PAWS/LA and the help they provide to pets and people in need. I went to their office where I enrolled immediately. The team at PAWS/LA treated me like a person, and Bella like the princess that she is. They sent me to a veterinarian and she quickly got well. PAWS/LA also provided free pet food and other supplies to keep Bella fed and comfortable. It was a huge relief for both of us.
Your support no matter how big or small made this happen for Bella and me. If it wasn’t for you I may have been forced to give her up. Your gift brought joy to my heart. The more I think about it, when you give to PAWS/LA you demonstrate the love and celebration of the human spirit that make the holidays such a precious time.
Bella is a true blessing and a gift from God. On behalf of families like ours, I want to wish you Happy Holidays and encourage you to continue supporting PAWS/LA. Take it from me and Bella, your gift saved our lives!
May God Bless You.
Kevin Lewandowski & Bella
By Bob Dellinger
Angelus News Magazine
Nov. 5, a brisk early Saturday morning near the merry-go-round in Griffith Park. Diego Ortiz of PAWS/LA was standing in front of a white tarp trying to get the attention of two dozen dogs and their guardians. Since 1989, the nonprofit has been dedicated to preserving the healing benefits of animal companionship for low-income elderly and others facing life-threatening illnesses like HIV/AIDS. But today he was talking about the launching of a new program called Project Petstrong geared to veterans suffering from PTSD. And part of the kickoff was with a two-mile “pets’ hike” in the sprawling urban park.
“There are 1.9 million veterans in California, 350,000 in Los Angeles County alone,” he said. “And according to PAWS/LA estimates, there are approximately 6,000 low-income veterans with PTSD and/or depression who count on their companion animals to cope with the devastating effects of PTSD. That’s 6,000 just in LA County. That’s why we started Project Petstrong.”
Ortiz pointed out that more than two-thirds of today’s veterans reported difficulties adjusting back to civilian life. And up to 45 percent of post 9/11 veterans suffer from PTSD, with nearly 14 percent demonstrating suicidal tendencies. “As we all know, our companion animals can bring us out of the darkness,” he said. “They can take us out of that dark place, and give us a reason to live.”
Kevin Lewandowski, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who was homeless for 28 years, spoke passionately about his transformation out of that darkness and addiction. He testified how living on the street had left him with a “hardened heart.” It was during a three-year stint in two California state prisons that he finally turned his life over to God, returning to the Catholic faith of his youth.
PAWS/LA TO LAUNCH PROGRAM FOR VETERANS WITH PTSD AND THEIR PETS