With a population of just under 7,500, census data shows that 1 in 10 people in Oceano are grappling with poverty. But one organization is ensuring that families with pets don’t stress over vet bills.
C.A.R.E 4 PAWS, an organization dedicated to reducing pet overpopulation and improving the quality of life for pets of families in need, has recently expanded its services to San Luis Obispo County.
“We started out as an animal welfare organization, but it’s really about pet family welfare,” said Isabelle Gullö, C.A.R.E 4Paws Executive Director. “The animal-human bonding is so critical and if you help an animal, you have to look at the circumstances of that pet’s family and vice versa.”
The organization brings a mobile clinic to the Oceano community every month, offering a range of services that could otherwise cost thousands of dollars.
Fabian García-Uscanga, who lives in Oceano and owns two dogs, tells me he’s spent more than $1,400 on a dental service for his small dog and any other consultation can be quite costly.
From flea treatments to spaying and neutering, the mobile clinic provides access to community members like García-Uscanga, making veterinary care more affordable.
“These services are going to come in very handy because going to the vet these days is hard with empty pockets,” he said.
The organization relies on donations and business sponsorships to offer free and low-cost services. In Oceano, funding comes from Petsmart Charities, aiming to cater to the underserved Hispanic population.
“We are one of ten organizations in the whole United States that received this grant and it’s specifically to support pet families in Oceano,“ Gullö said, adding that any resident in the county is invited.
C.A.R.E 4 PAWS determines those most in need of free services, including the homeless, through a sensitive process, avoiding income verification.
Gullö says this is how they plan to reduce pet overpopulation and, “Keep pets healthy at home.”