Grantee Stories

Pets are Wonderful Support (PAWS)

PAWS Senior Program client poses with her dog, one of over 2,700 seniors and their beloved animal companions kept together by PAWS.

Helping to keep people and their companion animals together

Pets are Wonderful Support (PAWS) was founded in 1987 in the midst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. After a merger in 2015, PAWS is now a program of Shanti Project. For over 34 years PAWS has helped thousands of low-income people with HIV/AIDS, as well as those with other disabling illnesses, and now senior citizens, keep their animal companions. For many PAWS clients, their animals are both their closest friends and their family.

PAWS provides a myriad of free services to keep clients and their companion animals together, including: 

  • pet food bank 
  • preventive and emergency vet services 
  • direct pet care such as grooming and dog walking 
  • transport to vet appointments  
  • In-home cat care 
  • foster care when clients require hospitalization. 

PAWS is a national leader in recognition of the lifesaving human-animal bond. Through their educational program, they have helped launch PAWS-like organizations in 28 other communities. 


Since 2007, Graham Family has partnered with PAWS to support and expand their critical mission. 

  • GFF collaborated with PAWS to begin their service expansion to low-income seniors over 60 and has supported the senior services since their launch in 2007. 
  • GFF provides ongoing support for critical PAWS services including the pet food bank and veterinary care. 
  • We supported expansion of PAWS’ client base through hiring additional Care Navigators who perform client intakes and coordinate pet care services. 
  • Through contributions to the Love Unconditional Campaign, GFF assisted PAWS’ capital campaign in obtaining a permanent home in San Francisco in 2010. One of the Client Intake rooms in PAWS’ building is dedicated to Victor and Olga Graham and a tile on the Tile Wall is in remembrance of Dorothy Graham’s beloved cat Pepsi. 

“I am so appreciative for all that the Graham Family Foundation has done for PAWS over many years! The partnership makes it possible for us to keep seniors and their beloved animal companions together through thick and thin”

“The Graham Family Foundation was pivotal in PAWS' expansion to offer our comprehensive animal support services to seniors in our community. Thanks to the Graham Family Foundation's vision and commitment, PAWS has kept hundreds of isolated seniors together with their pets.”


Pet wellness exams provided each year, plus up to $500 per pet in vouchers to local vets


Seniors supported with comprehensive pet support services, including pet food, vet care services, and care navigation.


Clients served each month by PAWS Food Bank

A Generous Spirit Lives On
A Generous Spirit Lives OnIn Memorium
Read More
Through the Graham Family Foundation's support of PAWS' senior program, the late Olga Graham continues to make a difference in the lives of senior citizens and the companion animals they love.
Dorothy Graham Donor Profile
Dorothy Graham Donor ProfileShanti Newsletter Fall 2017
Read More
Olga and Victor Graham, Dorothy’s parents, loved animals. Recalling her parents as “cat people,” Dorothy remembers that the family always had felines around to provide great companionship. More than simply pets, the Graham family cats were true members of the family. From early on, Dorothy learned that pets are fundamental to a person’s well-being.

Image Gallery of Our Projects

Learn more about PAWS on their website