Homeless individuals who own pets have an extra set of challenges. But there is help from a generous veterinarian. The crew from the VCA Lakeside Animal Hosptal puts on a homeless pet clinic to help both people who are less fortunate and their pets.
Up to 10% of homeless people in the U.S. have pets, according to one Nevada nonprofit. Take a trip outside a shelter or a tent city, and you'll see dogs and cats providing affection and love to owners who need it. Anyone there can tell you...it’s hard to hold on to a pet on the streets. The shelter only allows service animals, and many would never part with their pets. Elizabeth Stanton of VCA Lakeside Animal Hospital knows how financial problems leave pet owners in crisis mode. As she told us, "A pet to a homeless person is their whole life. They will sacrifice everything to keep their animal. They'll feed their animal before them. They will do anything to take care of their animal before themselves."
Which is why she works these clinics for pets of the homeless. Wellness exams, nail trims, vaccinations, deworming, micro-chipping…all done at no charge once a month every summer. They also bring pet food to pass out, to folks like Edith Bonds, who lives in an RV with her puppy. She told us, “He's a schnoodle. He's a miniature schnauzer and miniature poodle mix."
Swelly is new to her family. She just lost her pet of 9 years. "He got diabetes and got sick, and we couldn't afford to get the medication to help him, so we had to have him put down." Swelly, and Angel, both checked out A-OK…a clean bill of health.
The next homeless pet clinic will be held next month, its location to be announced later.