WHY WE EXIST
PETS-Washington DC Inc. ("PETS-DC"), founded in October, 1990, is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with HIV/AIDS and their companion animals. Many people with HIV/AIDS live alone and having a pet supports them living independently. A pet's love and affection are unconditional and everlasting. That love is a very important part of the emotional support network of persons living with HIV/AIDS; yet many of our clients experience financial and physical barriers making it difficult to care for their pets. We seek to fill in the gaps between other AIDS-service providers and animal-related organizations, and to address the particular health-related needs of pet owners with HIV/AIDS in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. Our mission is to assist by providing public health education, volunteer, financial and advocacy resources.
WHAT WE DO
Dedicated volunteers assist clients in obtaining: public health education, veterinary care, in-home pet care (e.g. dog-walking, feeding, litter box care, cage/tank cleaning), pet food and supplies, housing advocacy, foster pet care, grooming care, and pet adoption services. In addition to serving clients, the public health education program offers assistance to other health care providers such as physicians, nurses, and other HIV/AIDS service agencies.
If you or someone you know is a person living with HIV/AIDS or other disabling condition and needs help in caring for a pet, please contact our Case Management Team by calling (202) 234-PETS.
"This would be a very empty house without my dog, but I couldn't have kept him without PETS-DC. It's more than what they do for my dog, it's the daily contact. They check to see I'm OK," said Hank Carde quoted in the USA TODAY, January 14, 1997. Hank depends on PETS-DC volunteers to help with daily walks of Bimmer, his bichon frise'.
"I don't know how I would have made it through the last 3 1/2 years without my dogs," says Don Haines of Washington, who has full-blown AIDS and two dogs. "When my partner died in 1994, I went through pure hell. Every time I'd get upset, they were right there beside me." [ USA TODAY, Jan. 14, 1997, page 4D. ]
People like Hank and Don depend on PETS-DC to help with the care of their pets. In 2001, PETS-DC helped 139 families with 193 pets. Without the organization's assistance, pet companionship would be one more part of their life that a person with AIDS would have to give up.