Street Vet-A New Initiative
In light of World Homeless Day this week we at Vital Pet Health want to tell you about a fantastic new initiative aimed at helping homeless people and their pets.
Homelessness is a growing problem in the UK and an increasing number of homeless people have dogs. The bond between many homeless people and their dogs is profound and the health and wellbeing of their canine companions is very often a major priority for their owners.
Having seen the close bond between homeless people and their dogs first hand, qualified vets, Sam and Jade, wanted to try to find a way to help out. This started out with them going out with a stethoscope and some flea and worming treatment to give the dogs a check over and provide basic preventative healthcare. Despite many of the dogs being very well looked after and in good health, there were a few that needed further treatment. With this in mind, Jade and Sam got together to create StreetVet, a veterinary led initiative that allows vets in the UK to volunteer their time to prevent and treat diseases in the dogs of the homeless.
StreetVet has now developed the framework to provide a free, first opinion veterinary service for homeless people across London. They have a constantly growing team of veterinary professionals and have the close support of many drugs companies, veterinary practices, animal welfare charities, social non-profit organisations and local councils to enable them to develop the most comprehensive veterinary service possible for the homeless pet owners in London.
They have vets out in the community at least 4 days a week and everything that can be done in a consultation room, they are able to perform on the street. This includes medicating, vaccinating, blood sampling, urine analysis, lump sampling, microchipping and more.
When their vets and nurses meet a dog that needs more advanced treatment they are able to take them to one of the practices that they work at to perform procedures including neutering, dental work, surgery, diagnostic imaging and even hydrotherapy.
“Being vets, we love animals, but much of our day-to-day work involves caring for their owners as well. Many of the owners that we meet are vulnerable people and one of the main benefits of having vets out on the streets is that we get to know the owners and their dogs and gain their trust. Through effective communication and consistency we have been able to check and treat over 80 dogs across London to date and in time, we hope to be able to extend this service to many more across the country”.
Dean and Huni-A Street Vet success story
I was contacted recently by a homeless organisation in Watford about a homeless man who was sleeping in his car with his dog. Dean’s story really resonated with me as he had been employed his whole adult life and it was only after a break up and subsequent mental health problems that he found himself struggling. Dean was determined not to lose his best friend Huni and so slept in his car rather than in a hostel as no hostels he approached would take dogs. It was after he had been sleeping in his car for weeks that I was made aware of his situation. Fortunately I was aware of a possible solution and I started to make some phone calls. Within a few days, I took Dean and Huni for an interview at Emmaus in St Albans. One week later I helped them move into their new accommodation – Dean now has his own bedroom, bathroom and kitchen and everyone at Emmaus loves Huni! I am in constant communication with Dean and will continue to provide any veterinary care that Huni needs.
To make a donation to Street Vet today please click here