“What do you mean Misha was found in a ditch?”

Carol Caridad asked upon adopting the sweet little pup from a shelter.

From New York to Tampa to Miami, Misha was an enthusiastic companion in all of Carol’s trips and adventures. The idea that perfectly healthy, caring dogs could be abandoned without a second thought and the fact that these animals were often left in cramped shelters only to await euthanasia planted a seed in Carol’s mind. This seed, nurtured by the desire for a more compassionate method of helping pets find homes, eventually bore fruit in April of 2007 with the incorporation of Paws4You.

Located in South Miami-Dade County, Paws4You operates by sheltering and fostering to educate, place, and keep dogs safe from the threat of euthanasia and combat displacement of family pets with guidance and alternatives to surrender, such as:

  • Saving dogs from abandonment and euthanasia;
  • Providing needed medical care including, but not limited to spaying, neutering, and vaccinations;
  • Providing a safe retreat/shelter with the end goal of adopting dogs into safe and loving families;
  • Educating the community to spread awareness of the aforementioned and grow its volunteer and donor base.

By helping individuals to nurture healthier relationships with their pets from the beginning, we can avoid such high instances of pet abandonment and abuse. Furthermore, Paws4You assists in finding homes by carefully matching owners to potential pets. In such a way, we envision a community where pets live safely and happily while enriching the lives of those owners who will care for them forever.

Although there are other organizations rescuing pets in South Miami Dade County, the vision of Paws4You is to not only save animals but to elevate the way communities interact with their pets; thus, preventing abandonment and abuse altogether. The motivation behind this once small, foster-home based organization led us to quickly outgrow our previous method of operation. Paws4You is grateful for each individual who has contributed to where we are today. The more lives we save, the more visible we become, but the more people insist it is our duty to help them. We had to set boundaries and educate others about their responsibility as well as their responsibility to the community. By remaining committed to our mission and vision, this has allowed us to educate, listen, and offer assistance to those in need.

We have gone from saving wards of mothers and puppies from being euthanized to pulling maggots out of puppies who sat at Miami Dade Animal Services who were waiting for their call to the euthanasia room where they are said to be humanely put to sleep. Their bodies are then bagged and dumped at the landfill. Paws4You has dealt with a variety of different cases: Abused burn victims who should not have survived due to complicated secondary infections to broken and smashed limbs to seeking every avenue for a complicated diagnosis to confirming aspergillus. Or the simplest non-medical case: The poor black dog stigmatized and rejected as part of the documented phenomena of Black Dog Syndrome. Then there are the seniors, often passed over for younger dogs but still very much full of life and energy themselves. These dogs were powerless in their circumstances, without voices or advocates, and left to await the conclusion to their fates.

Since Paws4You’s inception, we have seen Miami Dade Animal Services incorporate new methods. But as the community has become aware of our services, they have resorted to tying dogs to our fences and leaving kittens in gift-wrapped boxes. The volume of need for assistance of strays and unwanted pets can be disheartening.

Paws4You has opened their doors to teach compassion and allow others to contribute their time to be responsible neighbors.

Moving into the future, we will build upon and structure the programs currently in place in order to retain the dedication of volunteers.

Carol Caridad

Executive Director