PAWS believes that the healing impact of the human-animal bond is one of the best supports available for medically vulnerable individuals, and mounting evidence indicates that this bond can yield valuable health outcomes. For many people, having a companion animal is part of living a happy and fulfilling life. For some individuals, especially those who are chronically ill, frail, and isolated by disease or age, having a companion animal can be central to their health and well-being. Animal companionship becomes even more important when our human contacts diminish because of aging or illness.
Through the generous support of individual donors, private foundation grants, corporate grants and business supporters, PAWS is able to provide needed companion animal services to hundreds of low-income San Franciscans so they continue to benefit from the healing power and unconditional love of their beloved pets.
The mission of PAWS is to preserve, support and nurture the human-animal bond for those most vulnerable in our community.
PAWS began as volunteers mobilized in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. While serving at The San Francisco AIDS Foundation Food Bank in 1986, volunteers noticed that some clients were neglecting their own nutrition and feeding donated food to their animal companions instead. With the belief that no person should have to choose between feeding themselves or their beloved pets, the volunteers created a special food bank to carry pet food and supplies. The demand for this new service was overwhelming and, in October 1987, PAWS became an independent, nonprofit organization.
Over the years, PAWS has expanded the array of services available for our clients and the community. We are now serving over 1,000 companion animals of 800 clients who depend on us to provide pet food, vet care, dog walking, transportation, foster care, grooming, education and case management. Through our educational programs, PAWS has been a leader in the field of Human Animal Support Services (HASS) with national conferences and the publication of Safe Pet Guidelines, The Health Benefits of Companion Animals, and The PAWS Start-Up Kit that helped launch PAWS-like organizations in over 28 other communities.
For 25 years, PAWS has helped thousands of people and their companion animals find healing, hope, and unconditional love. Since day one we have remained completely privately funded and have depended on the generosity of our donors to support our services. Today PAWS is a vibrant and thriving organization and, with your continued support, ready to meet the challenges of the future.