An afternoon with the volunteers of Street Dogz, helping disadvantaged and homeless pets
Clark County Detention Center welfare case worker Cheryl Noori started Street Dogz with two friends during Thanksgiving weekend of 2014. Her mission: to help feed the pets of homeless and low-income people in Las Vegas. Not a small goal, given the valley’s high rate of homelessness. Now the nonprofit has 15 regular volunteers and distributes some 1,500 pounds of dog food every month to homeless and low-income pet owners. They also give out supplies like dog shoes, coats, and beds, as well as help coordinate and fund medical care for pets, spaying and neutering, and even emergency sheltering. On August 11, we tagged along with volunteers Leann Maiolo and her daughter Gabby as they distributed supplies at a trailer park in northeast Las Vegas.
Rocky, a 15-month old pitbull, received a large bag of food and doggie treats. The shy dog took one of his new treats and hid under the deck of his trailer. “He loves it down there,” says his owner.
A loud family of dogs: Junior, Chucky, Hanky, Darth, and a cat named Kit living between two trailers receive eight zip-lock bags of dog food and one of cat food. The big ones won’t bite; it’s the small ones you need to watch out for, advises their owner as he lets the volunteers through the chain-link fence. No volunteer has ever been bitten, Street Dogz says, and that doesn’t change today.
“Congratulations on Bruno,” Gabby says to the proud owner of a brown Chihuahua that just graduated from service-dog training. At the owner’s call, Bruno emerges from the trailer with a bandana around his neck. Gabby rewards the amiable dog with treats.
On this cloudy but warm day, the owners of Bootsy, a pitbull mix, and Timber, a puggle, ask for a small pool to keep the dogs cool. Leann says she’ll get it delivered soon.
The quietest dogs in the park, Havoc and Iris, sit patiently behind the fence of their trailer. The black pitbull and Labrador pant as they watch Evelyn, Street Dogz’s contact for the trailer park. She accepts the food on behalf of their owner, who isn’t home. (streetdogzlv.org)