"Lori is one of the most dedicated people we have met," said Carolyn Badger, a volunteer and president of the nonprofit ASK Foundation. "She is exactly the type of person we want to help in animal-related causes. Taking it to the Streets is the type of organization we want to assist because Lori's efforts are part of our mission to reduce euthanasia of pets."
Badger said Ms. Rich's efforts contributes to this mission because the homeless pet owners care for their animals in a humane manner, but many lack the money or resources to get their pets vaccinated, licensed or fixed.
"Lori builds trust within the homeless communities and the owners, in turn, receive the benefits of her organization's outreach," Badger said. "And these pets, when they get altered, won't create litters of puppies that would burden the owners – and possibly end up inside county shelters."
The ASK Foundation provided Taking it to the Streets a donation of $500. Riverside County Animal Services' Veterinary Services Division matched the funding with an additional $500 in funding from a special grant fund.
Originally, Lori Rich was involved in receiving animals from local shelters and networking them. But the "rescue world" became unsatisfying because she said she wanted to try to do something to prevent animals from ending up in shelters. That's how Taking it to the Streets was born.
Ms. Rich said she believes the work she and her daughter are doing provides a service to an underserved population of pet lovers.
"This is a way to get into a community of people that do not like to let people in very much – and one that people don't want to go into too much either," Rich said.
Taking it to the Streets works closely with the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center's spay & neuter clinic in Riverside. The Mary S. Roberts clinic provides her organization with some discounts on the surgeries to help keep her budget costs low.
"I certainly appreciate the impact she has on the community," said Christina Krahenbuhl, director of the Mary S. Roberts Spay & Neuter Clinic. "I recently went out with her and was extremely touched by what I saw. It really opened my eyes and gave me more insight with what she deals with, and the emotions attached to what she does."
Krahenbuhl said she also appreciates Ms. Rich's "high-spirited nature" and "I can see her heart is in the right place."
Robert Miller, director of Riverside County Animal Services, described Lori Rich and her organization as a key element in the county's overall mission in reducing pet overpopulation.
"We cannot do it alone, and people such as Lori are providing an amazing resource to those that do not necessarily reach out for help when it comes to getting their pets fixed," Miller said. "But one thing we know for certain: These individuals love their pets. And to trust their animals to Lori is an illustration of just how hard she's worked to form a credible bond."
For more information about Taking it to the Streets, visit the organization's Web site at: http://takingittothestreetswithloriandshira.org/
Or check out the organization's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TakingItToTheStreetsWithLoriAndShira
The ASK Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization that assists programs and services that benefit the animals at shelters operated by Riverside County Animal Services. The organization's board members are all volunteers. For more about ASK, visit: www.theaskfoundation.org