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In Difficult Times, PAWS NY Keeps Pets and People Together

By Elisha Neubauer

Thanks to PAWS NY, sick or disabled individuals in New York City no longer have to worry that they will not be able to continue caring for their pets.

The mission of PAWS NY is to "preserve, support, and nurture the human-animal bond for New York City's most vulnerable residents." Through the efforts of volunteers, the PAWS program strives to keep animals healthy, happy, and in their respective homes. Founder and Executive Director Rachel Herman explains, "Everything we do is done with the goal of keeping our clients and their pets together as a family."

The core program of PAWS NY, known as the Housecall Program, has volunteers visit clients' homes to provide assistance and care. Their jobs include dog-walking, litter box maintenance, transportation to the vet, and more. Housecall clients are also offered pet food donations through the Pet Pantry program, access to veterinary care through the Veterinary Care Program, and, in the event of a medical crisis, foster care through the Foster and Emergency Care Program. Volunteers even gather during the holidays to wrap gifts for clients' pets.

"All of our services are provided by volunteers and are free of charge to our clients," says Herman. "We have more than 800 volunteers, and this number continues to grow every month." In 2014, volunteers donated more than 6,100 hours of time on 9,000 client visits- and Herman projects a 25% increase this year.

Although a small organization, PAWS NY has very strong supporters. The group holds a fundraiser every June, and about 180 people on average attend. "This event is so critical because we would not be able to continue operating without the money raised," says Herman.

What really drives PAWS NY is the firm belief that animals play a crucial role in the lives of human beings. As someone's health deteriorates, it is often heartbreaking for them to wonder if they can continue to take care of their cat or dog. Sometimes, their pets are all they have. As Herman says, "the unconditional love of a pet is such a remarkable thing, and our clients are living longer, healthier, and happier lives because of it." PAWS NY does more than just keep pets in their homes- it keeps a companionship together.

Pictures by Emily Dewan Photography

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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