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Best Friends and SpokAnimal

ICM Best Friends Program

A national organization called Best Friends, which provides resources for individuals experiencing homelessness and their pets, along with SpokAnimal, is now part of a CCEW pilot program focused on keeping pets out of shelters and connecting caseworkers to local resources for clients' pets.

Many people know what it's like to have a family pet at home that is loved and cared for. Our clients love their furry companions in the same light we all do. Sometimes, their pets are their only source of companionship and love.  At Catholic Charities Eastern Washington (CCEW), we see many instances where the love between a pet and the owner is the only thing that keeps an individual going. If a client needs to go to treatment, counseling, or access other services, one of their primary concerns is their pet's welfare. What can we do to ensure that our clients and their pets are taken care of?

CCEW is now part of a strategic partnership that is addressing these issues. A national organization called Best Friends, which provides resources for individuals experiencing homelessness and their pets, along with SpokAnimal, is now part of a CCEW pilot program focused on keeping pets out of shelters and connecting caseworkers to local resources for clients' pets. Since its launching in January of this year, the program is already impacting the daily lives of our clients.

CCEW quickly identified the real challenges for clients and their pets, and SpokAnimal responded to the needs in a big way. They now have an on-site pet food pantry, free spay and neuter services, and a free temporary pet boarding program for those served by CCEW. SpokAnimal is also providing medical services (vaccines, spay/neuter), routine care such as dental for dogs and cats, hundreds of pounds of free food, and essential pet supplies like collars and leashes donated by Best Friends. Not only is the program giving clients peace of mind that their pets have access to the medical care they need, but clients can access the services they require as well.

While this program is in the infant stages here in Spokane, the goal is to bring this partnership between Best Friends and Catholic Charities organizations throughout the country.