Accessible care for homeless pets

July 19, 2021 BY

The volunteer team braved the cold to provide care to companion pets of homeless people in the region.

A TEAM of local veterinarians has introduced a crisis clinic to the region, helping vulnerable groups get access to pet care.

Pets in the Park is a national charity focusing on the veterinary health and welfare of companion animals, brought to Geelong by Cherished Pets Foundation owner Alicia Kennedy.

“Cherished Pets is a local organisation and our purpose is to specifically help vulnerable people in the community with their pets,” she said.

“One community group that is struggling to support their pets are people experiencing homelessness.

“After several years in conversation we were able to launch Pets in the Park in Geelong working with an established organisation with all the things in place to host monthly vet clinics.”

The collaborative project has enlisted the help of community organisations and members with volunteer veterinarians and vet nurses conducting the clinic as well as Uniting Barwon providing the venue.

“Lyn Fitzgerald from Uniting Barwon approached me last year about doing something for pets of the homeless and this was the ideal opportunity to open up Pets in the Park in Geelong,” she said.

“Homelessness is rising in our region and if pets are involved it makes life more complicated.

A volunteer vet nurse and veterinarian from the region conduct a health check at the first clinic held in Norlane. Photos: SUPPLIED

“At the end of the day we want to keep pets and people together and prevent them from having to surrender them.” Ms Kennedy said the housing crisis is presenting a “really big issue” for pet care in the region.

“My motivation for Pets in the Park is to bring care across vulnerable groups,” she said.

“The homelessness community is one that has special needs and Pets in the Park fits nicely.”

The pop-up clinics will provide health checks, vaccinations, worming, flea prevention and treatment for health issues requiring basic supplies.

“One common scenario our team has found is when people are trying to find secure housing they may need to find temporary care for pets however they won’t be accepted into boarding scenarios if their aren’t vaccinated.”

Pets requiring ongoing or more specific treatment will be connected with Cherished Pets directly to coordinate a care plan.

“We have committed to three clinics, and we had the first one last Saturday, the next will be August 7,” she said.

“If the community responds and enough of the local vets and vets nurses would like to volunteer their time it will become ongoing.”

To get access to Pets in the Park, owners will need to meet an eligibility criteria and have a referral from their case worker.

To find out more or get involved, make contact via email [email protected]

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