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PAWS Chicago Opening First Permanent Center For Pet Services In Englewood

CHICAGO (CBS) -- If you have a dog or cat, you know good vet care is invaluable.

But in the Englewood community, there is not a single veterinarian. As CBS 2's Jim Williams reported Wednesday, that's about to change.

Dolly Stackhouse is as dog owner and a generous soul. She can't say no when a dog or cat needs a home - including one 3-year-old dog named Rocco that she was walking when she talked with us.

"My niece had the dog and she moved into an apartment that didn't allow pets. First she put it on Facebook, and then she called me asked me if I would take him. So I told her yeah," Stackhouse said.

Stackhouse, of Englewood, actually has three dogs and five cats.

They all get treated by PAWS Chicago, the no-kill shelter which for five years has driven vans through the under-resourced community.

PAWS Chicago even goes door-to-door, offering a variety of services for dogs and cats.

"We could barely get down the block, because people would stop us - like the ice cream man - and say, 'Hey, my cat just had kittens – can you help me?' or, 'Hey, my dog is scratching – what can I do about that?'" said Laurie Maxwell of PAWS Chicago.

The demand for PAWS reflects the enormous need for pet care in Englewood.

"There's currently no veterinarian, no Petco, no place to buy a leash or a collar," Maxwell said.

The closest veterinarian is three miles away - a world away when you don't have a car. And there's the cost – of course, caring for a dog or cat is expensive."

And so PAWS Chicago is opening its first permanent center in Englewood, housed at St. Stephens Lutheran Church, 910 W. 65th St.

It offers veterinary care, grooming, training classes, and even a pet food pantry - all free.

"This says we are here to stay," said PAWS Chicago's Nancy Brown.

Brown calls it an affirmation for Englewood.

"You can count on us, and we have made a commitment and we are part of this community," Brown said.

"Welcome neighbor," say Dolly Stackhouse and Rocco.

"Oh, they've got a big heart – a loving heart," Stackhouse said.

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