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We Can Be Heroes

A Dose of Good Dogma

Good Dogma has been training humans and their dogs since 1996. Readers are invited to submit questions to Contact information for all offered services can be found on our website

January 19, 2024

By Lisa Ellman

In 2005, Isabelle Gullo, with a background in journalism, was a volunteer at the Santa Barbara (SB) Animal Services. She loved what she was doing, helping homeless pets, but she also knew it wasn’t enough.

In 2009, with her then husband, Carlos, and other shelter volunteers, she co-founded, and became executive Director of, CARE4PAWS (C4P).

The acronym translates to Community Awareness Responsibility Education. An organization built to keep pets healthy and in homes. Establishing programs in both English and Spanish, the organization continues to improve knowledge, and accessibility to pet resources across cultures, including a mind shift in communities to support spaying and neutering their pets.

C4P not only began providing free and low-cost spaying and neutering, but also initiated “Project Responsibull,” a training intervention program involving pitbulls. They took this program around to schools, educating youngsters about the breed.

By 2019, C4P had helped 8,000 pets. By 2023, 16-17 thousand animals were helped. Creating and maintaining a partnership with the food bank, they are also able to provide animal food, including horse, bird, rabbit and chicken feed. In SB county there are 12 resource centers for pet food and supplies (blankets/pet beds), that will also deliver. Isabelle estimates they provided around 2-tons of free pet food per year, until COVID hit in 2020. Then the amount increased to about 4-tons per week! 

In 2012, C4P added a mobile vet clinic. Prior to that they had been using brick & mortar clinics. After fund raising for three years, they now utilize three mobile vet units and each 37 foot unit includes dual surgery suites. With a day to day, full time, core veterinary team on staff, the units provide free/low-cost vaccinations, deworming and microchipping services.

Recruiting veterinarians for the program involved asking them to volunteer their time at first. They utilized word of mouth to find doctors as well as technicians. Community volunteers also joined in to help. Now, there is a great need for groomers, if you know of any that would be interested in volunteering their time and equipment, please ask them to reach out.

The need is so great to reduce shelter populations, that C4P offered a “Spay-a-thon.” Four teams of vets, over two days, carried out 131 spays.

C4P operates now in both SB and San Luis Obispo counties and provides a community outreach consulting program for groups or organizations that inquire about starting up a unit in their own area.

C4P also partners with Street Dog Coalition, specifically for unhoused families. Dr. Alex Gomes donates exams, nail trims and flea treatments.

In 2020, C4P initiated a collaboration with agencies that aid (human) domestic violence victims, providing foster care and or boarding for their pets. Other (human) agencies in SB and SLO counties, have collaborated with C4P and can pass along information for pets in need.

CARE4PAWS depends on the public’s participation; word of mouth to get the information to people that will benefit from their free/discounted services. If you’d like to get more information about this remarkably, generous organization reach out to them. The website is

Good Dogma has been training humans and their dogs since 1996. Readers are invited to submit questions to  Contact information for all offered services can be found on our website

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