Pet Patrol began its life in Houston in 1986. It started by serving the HIV/Aids community. This was during the early days of the epidemic. Tory Williams is the Founder of Pet Patrol. In her line of work she dealt directly with HIV/Aids patients and they’d have long lists of concerns. Usually near the top though was their animal.
"And I was shocked and sort of happy to know that so many of these clients said my pet. And the reasons for this were anything from my mother won’t take my pet because she thinks she’ll get aids from my dog. To my partner can’t because he or she is in the hospital."
Williams says her clients could be in and out of hospital at the drop of hat. So ultimately she knew they needed someone reliable to take care of their pet. And that’s how it all started.
"And so I started to give out my phone number and people would call me if they knew they were going into the hospital and I would foster their dog or their cat."
But then the calls turned from a trickle to a torrent. Williams realized as her house started to resemble a zoo that she might need a little bit of extra help.
"So I started calling friends who said I don’t know anybody with aids but I love my pet and I would be glad to help. And I would assign them to a client."
At one point in the early days Williams says they had about 400 clients and between them 800 pets. For their low income clients Pet Patrol provides all the basics.
"All the pets have to be spayed or neutered. And if they’re not we will provide that. And then we will provide all of their basic wellness care."
As medication and the life expectancy of HIV/Aids patients improved Williams decided it was time to branch out Pet Patrol’s client base. Now she says about 60% have HIV/Aids and 40% are frail and elderly.
"Knock, Knock. Hey it’s me Judith."
Modelle Brudner is one of 70 current volunteers with Pet Patrol. She checks on her three clients once a month and brings the pets necessities. She’s an animal lover so getting involved with Pet Patrol made sense to her.
"These people wouldn’t be able to keep their pets, well that just tears me apart I can’t think about giving my pets away because I couldn’t feed them. So I said well I can deliver food and that’s what got me in it."
One of her clients is Judith. She survives on social security and is so grateful for Pet Patrol helping her keep her beloved cat, Kitty Witty.
"It was really a hardship to have to take that out of my income to make sure that she got her inexpensive items. So I just don’t know what I would do now without pet patrol. It’s just an ongoing relationship that has been the most kind generous people that help me and I really, really wanna thank em."
As the price of pet food and care continues to rocket Pet Patrol has had to limit its clients base. Williams’s hope is that with some extra help and more volunteers the Patrol can continue to grow. From the KUHF Newslab I’m Edel Howlin.