Whether living on the street or in a low-income family, pets of all sizes are able to receive free veterinary care at Our Place Society once a month.
Vets for Pets, started by Jane Vermeulen in 2009, is set up in the courtyard of Our Place the second Thursday of every month, except February and July, for two hours per session. Volunteer vet provide vaccines and also manage parasite control and ear and eye infections.
All of the care is free, and is meant for homeless or low-income people and their pets.
Vermeulen came up with the idea after seeing other non-profit groups running a similar clinic on sporadic occasions.
“There’s a need to do it once a month, regular consistent veterinary care,” she said. “These pets interact with a lot of household pets, so it keeps the disease population low.”
Vets see 60-65 pets in the two-hour time period, although normally about 80 people come, so vets are unable to help everyone.
“We’re always looking for more veterinarians,” said Vermeulen. “That’s probably our biggest challenge.”
New to this month’s Vets for Pets, held last week, was the presence of FLED, Finding Lost and Escaped Dogs, a volunteer-run organization on Vancouver Island.
Members from FLED gave out collars, leashes and other pet supplies, along with special ID tags with FLED’s phone number on them.
“We take photographs of the dogs and take down some contact info for the owner,” said Audrey Yap, FLED volunteer. “We can send the photo to animal control if it’s missing.”
Also at Vets for Pets was the Victoria branch of the SPCA, which started coming to Vets for Pets in April.
SPCA members gave away dog and cat food, cat litter, leashes, toys and collars.
“We work on bringing as much as we can collect in a month,” said Annie Prittie-Bell, SPCA Victoria branch manager.
The next Vets for Pets will be on Oct. 9.