Walking down Cesar Chavez Street, Paul Crowell is enduring the delicate task of walking a small, yet curious dog to its owner.
“This is Dipsy. She’s not mine, she’s a work dog,” Crowell said.
By work dog, he means a dog he cares for during work hours. On most days Crowell take dogs like Dipsy out for a hike at one of the big parks, but today he ran out of time and instead elected to take the small dog on an hour long walk.
Crowell, a 30-year San Francisco resident, said he runs a nonprofit organization called Project Open Paw out of his home near Garfield Square Park between 24th and 25th streets. He said he got the idea after hearing about Project Open Hand, another nonprofit organization that feeds seniors and seriously ill people in San Francisco.
Open Paw is focused on helping homeless dogs and dogs living in homeless camps.
Crowell started caring for the dogs two years when he noticed some of them were malnourished and he began to feed them leftover dog food from his old job at a kennel. Nowadays, he runs the nonprofit fulltime and only recently elected to take a small salary for himself.