The demand for PAWS programs in Teton Valley has never been greater, especially MedFund veterinary assistance, Spay/Neuter vouchers, and PAWS Shelter Fund. Plus, PAWS COVID Pet Fund is helping pet owners who become ill or lose their jobs or housing by providing free pet food vouchers, increasing our pet medical assistance, offering emergency pet boarding, and partnering with health and human service organizations to cover all COVID-related pet needs throughout Teton Valley.
Scooby, COVID Pet Fund Recipient #298, is a classic example of how PAWS helps local pets and their owners. Little Scooby, a 9-year old shi-poo, needed emergency bladder surgery and his owner needed financial support due to COVID-related issues. PAWS stepped in to make sure Scooby got the care he needed. PAWS has helped more than 400 pets and their people throughout Jackson, Star Valley and Teton Valley since it launched the COVID Pet Fund in March of this year.
In 2020, PAWS has spent $16,318 to distribute 185 free Spay/Neuter Vouchers for Teton Valley pets. They have also supported 28 dogs and cats by helping local pet owners pay $6,754 in veterinary bills through PAWS MedFund. This includes unexpected medical pet expenses such as cracked teeth, gum disease, C-section, vaccinations, tumor removal, jaw surgery, head trauma (car strike), diagnostic tests, x-rays, cancer, broken bones, torn ACL, bladder surgery, bowel obstruction (ate a towel), and a series of severe infections.
Through PAWS Shelter Fund, they have granted $7,500 to the Teton Valley Community Animal Shelter. The shelter is dedicated to providing shelter and medical treatment for homeless, abandoned and lost pets until their permanent homes are found. The grant funds were used to support TVCAS’s general operating budget and to help spay/neuter incoming dogs and cats that were later available for adoption.
Due to COVID, PAWS was unable to offer its Pet and People Compassion Education program this year in partnership with TCSD#401. These 45 minute-educational lessons were taught by PAWS staff, pets, and RUES guidance counselor to small groups of 4th and 5th graders in 2018 and 2019. This program taught students about compassion, empathy, passion, kindness and responsibility. PAWS will miss this year the students this year, but hopefully they will be back in the schools working with students to help teach these valuable and enduring life-skills in 2021.
This past spring, Teton Valley Trials and Pathway received a Community Foundation grant entitled TVTAP/PAWS Ambassador Program. PAWS of Jackson Hole has provided support and expertise in establishing an ambassador program in Teton Valley with the goal of educating users on regulations and trail etiquette. PAWS Program Director Jess Farr has conducted two summer workshops for volunteers recruited by Trails and Pathways on engagement strategies and canine education. One additional workshop is planned for this fall.
PAWS would like to remind everyone that Pets are important members of the family, offering love, companionship, and emotional support. They also reduce stress and provide purpose in their owners’ lives during challenging times. Through their pet services, PAWS is happy to strengthen the bonds between pets and people, and improve the quality of life in Teton Valley.