Credit: Courtesy PAWS Chicago

Pets aren’t just a cute addition to your household. The federally funded National Institutes of Health are finding in recent research that being a pet companion can actually help us reduce stress and lower blood pressure. But what if money is tight or you don’t have adequate transportation to get your pet to the vet or other services?

Some people find that they just can’t afford it or make it work anymore and sadly try to surrender their pets to the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) facility at 2741 S. Western. Chicagoland Rescue Intervention and Support Program (CRISP) was created to intervene at the last moment and help these families. CRISP volunteers hang out at CACC Wednesday afternoons and throughout the weekend and can offer to help speak to a landlord, find outside funding for vet bills, or find a temporary foster family for your pet. You must be a Chicago resident to use their services.

PAWS Chicago is seeking to address this issue by targeting neighborhoods that have historically had a large gap between the need for veterinary care and the ability to pay for it. In 2014, PAWS for Life launched in Englewood, offering free spay/neuter services and vaccinations for dogs and cats, and a free van that will transport your pet to and from the clinic. From April to October, PAWS also runs the GusMobile (named for a past PAWS adoptee rescued from flooding in Iowa), a spay/neuter clinic on wheels that visits outdoor gatherings in both Englewood and Back of the Yards. Residents of both areas may be eligible for PAWS’ free services.   v