SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Tiny puppies had several hearts melting at Thursday’s C.A.R.E.4Paws clinic in Santa Barbara.
"I love animals they mean a lot to me … I love animals they’re better than everything … they're better than people," said pet owner Rita Balderaz.
But as a pet owner, life hasn’t been easy for Balderaz.
"It’s very tough … people don’t have jobs anymore … people are overworked and under paid … it’s hard," said Balderaz.
Managers at C.A.R.E.4Paws say during the pandemic the needs from the community have increased dramatically since 2021.
"So many in the community have lost their income during the pandemic … so we are trying to step in and provide a safety net of critical pet wellness services ... so pets can stay healthy and in their homes," said executive director Isabelle Gullo at C.A.R.E.4Paws.
The organization has increased its supplies with thousands of pounds of food distribution.
They’re also offering more veterinary care.
Leslie Smith and her puppy Suzy are grateful for these services.
"I think it’s terrific … so that I can get this done ... so I take my puppy dog for a walk," said Smith.
This week organizers say they continue to see an overwhelming need for pet wellness services.
C.A.R.E.4Paws is continuing to increase services, not just here in Santa Barbara, but throughout the county and across the Central Coast.
The organization is also expanding its Pet Wellness Clinics to SLO County.
C.A.R.E.4Paws is collaborating with two SLO nonprofits in a project called Snip & Chip SLO.
Its first pet Wellness Clinics are February 20 and March 20.
The clinic will be offering free and low-cost spays and neuters and low-cost vaccines clinics for pet families in need in SLO.
Managers say this is the first time this kind of community project is happening in SLO.
Throughout Santa Barbara County, managers say each clinic gets busier with more pet owners in need of services.