Local Couple Brings Warmth and Comfort to Unsheltered Pets

(Contributed Photo)
Gary and Pam Schroeder have been transforming yoga mats since 2013, offering homeless pets respite from the winter weather.

    For the past six years, Orinda residents Pam and Gary Schroeder have been doing their part to help homeless pets have a more comfortable place to rest their paws during the cold winter season.
    Their organization, Pads4Pets, collects new and used yoga mats and repurposes them for the companion animals of people living without shelter in San Francisco. The mats are washed, cut and stenciled by Pads4Pets, then passed along to partner organization Veterinary Street Outreach Services (VET SOS) for distribution.
    Pam Schroeder said she was inspired to cut her old yoga mat in half and repurpose it for an animal in need after a cold morning walk with her dog Cody in 2013.
    She delivered her first pet mat to a homeless person the next day. After getting the word out to neighbors, she soon had 25 additional mats ready for her husband, Gary, to cut and stencil. Now in their seventh winter season, Pads4Pets has produced more than 1,000 mats for pets living on the streets.
    “Gary and I are both dog lovers,” says Pam Schroeder. “And it’s such a simple thing we can do to potentially make the life of a dog and its caregiver on the streets a little bit more comfortable.”
    Gary Schroeder says he has witnessed firsthand the important role a pet can play for a person living without shelter, particularly for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments.
    “People deserve to be loved regardless of their living situation, and their pets provide them, in many cases the only love that they get,” he says. “Our goal at Pads4Pets is simple – to help the unsheltered care for their pets, because every pet deserves a warm, dry place to be.”
    To learn more about Pads4Pets, including how to donate a new or used yoga mat, go to www.pads4pets.org.

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