Founded at the height of San Francisco's AIDS epidemic when food-bank volunteers banded together to provide support for their clients with pets, Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS)is still going strong — and keeping families together. Many dogs and cats end up in shelters because their people are going through health and/or financial problems, and it's a loss all around: The animals are traumatized at best, and the humans lose loved companions just when they need them most. That's not happening for the 800 dogs, cats, and other animals who belong to PAWS' current 630 clients; thanks to the organization and its corps of volunteers, they all get walked, fed, taken to the vet, and otherwise cared for as needed.
One of PAWS' longtime clients recently faced a scary situation when his health problems required a long hospitalization. In the old days, senior cat Tony and dog Riyah, his constant companions, would have faced a dark future, as the client had no family or friends to call on for help. But Tony landed a cushy boarding spot, and PAWS volunteer Victoria took Riyah into her own home for seven months. Now their person is home and recovering—surrounded by his best friends. Also, Victoria is still taking Riyah out for spa days.
It takes a lot of supporters to make all this possible, and for the last two decades, SF's architects and designers have been taking part in Petchitechture, an innovative fundraiser that takes place this year on June 11 at Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center. Over the years these creative souls have dreamed up some awesome habitats for our animal friends, and 100 percent of the event's proceeds fund PAWS's continued work in the community. Get your tickets now, and we'll see you there!