For the last five years of his life, Paul Crowell has been a guardian angel to hundreds of homeless people and their dogs.

It all started when Crowell used to walk to work in San Francisco, California. A self-professed animal lover, he was heartbroken by the number of dogs he would see struggling alongside their homeless human counterparts on the streets.

Coincidentally, Crowell worked at a doggy daycare and boarding facility that would always throw out their extra pet food. Instead of letting it go to waste, Crowell came up with a perfect solution for the excess kibble.

“I started rescuing that food from being thrown in the garbage, and I delivered it to the many homeless dogs I saw in the encampments around here,” Crowell told GoFundMe. “Pretty quickly, I became known as ‘the doggy food man,’ and I started bringing it all the time.”

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His strategy was disrupted, however, when his facility was bought out by a new company that told Crowell he could no longer take the excess food.

“I got really upset,” he said. “I really loved doing it, and it brought so much joy to my life. I didn’t want to lose that.”

Crowell loved feeding his neighborhood dogs so much, he refused to give up. In November 2015, he launched a GoFundMe campaign with the hopes of raising some money for more dog food. He then took some pictures of local homeless pups that he helped cared for and posted them to social media.

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When the donations started pouring in, Crowell decided to create Project Open Paw, an organization dedicated to caring for the homeless and hungry animals in San Francisco.

It costs about $200 to $300 to feed all of Crowell’s canine friends every week. If an animal is in need of a veterinary visit, it typically costs another $200.

“I provide vet care for a lot of dogs,” says Crowell. “When I go down to the ASPCA, they probably pull up my name and see 40–50 dogs. So now, I’m the big poppa of them all.”

The Project Open Paws GoFundMe page has raised over $98,000 since its creation. In addition to using the money to provide food and care to the dogs, Crowell hopes to raise enough money to open his own facility that can take care of homeless dogs when their owners are arrested or sent to rehab.

“The dogs give these people a reason to carry on, and a lot of times, that may be the only thing. They’re a team out there; they help each other live,” says Crowell. “My goal has always been to keep them together, unless there’s abuse. I’d like to be able to reunite owners with their dogs when they’re able to have them again.”

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