The term street vets doesn’t sound like much, but they have made a name for themselves in Los Angeles. As pet owners, you want to do all possible to keep your pets healthy and happy. Most people have the opportunity, but it may be more difficult for individuals who live on the streets. You might be surprised to discover how many people living on Los Angeles’ streets possess pets.
25 percent of America’s homeless own pets
People all require companionship, and even those in difficult circumstances typically try their best to care for their dogs despite limited means. Research shows that 25 percent of America’s homeless population has pets. Most of them have pets for company, but they also provide security.
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And sadly, they do not always have the financial capability to afford veterinary treatment. Fortunately, there are volunteers to the rescue.
Kwane Stewart is known as the “Street Vet.” He makes rounds in Los Angeles’ Skid Row and provides free care to homeless people’s pets.
How did he start?
Dr. Stewart had wanted to be a veterinarian since he was seven, but his dream clashed with reality when he began working at a county animal shelter. It gave him a constant cash stream, something he needed. Indeed, a veterinary school can be costly, depending on your choice.
Dr. Stewart was in the process of repaying tens of thousands of dollars in debt. However, he struggled with the duties he had to do at the shelter. Dr. Stewart remembers owner after owner handing off their dog or cat, causing the county shelter to become overcrowded.
People were reluctant or unable to care for their dogs during the recession from 2007 to 2009. As a result, Dr. Stewart found himself euthanizing up to 70 animals on certain days. And that made him question his decisions and left him depressed.
But that changed when he left the convenience store to get some coffee before going to work and made eye contact with a homeless man sitting outside with his dog, which seemed sick. Dr. Stewart stopped and asked the homeless man if he might examine the animal. The next day, he returned with medicine to treat the infestation.
And with that simple treatment, Dr. Stewart enjoyed and loveed treating homeless people’s pets rather than staying at his previous job. So although he has some worries, that doesn’t stop him from doing his mission. And that’s when people began to call him “The Street Vet.”
What type of medical services are offered?
Aside from giving free medical checkups to the pets of homeless people, Dr. Stewart and his team also offer various medical services for free. The said medical care includes free vaccinations, medications for flea infestations and other issues, drops, and other supplies.
Considering limited resources, Dr. Stewart shares information on how homeless people can keep and raise their pets.
Teamed with other animal clinics, Dr. Stewart also has the opportunity to set up pop-up clinics. That is where the homeless can bring and check their pets for more advanced medical treatment and operations, such as spaying and neutering.
Dr. Stewart has always dreamed of being a veterinarian in order to help any pet regardless of their situation. As soon as he started treating the pets of homeless people, he immediately felt that it was his calling. Dr. Stewart realized he would continue doing it as he believed there was more to this.
Moreover, Dr. Stewart’s primary purpose in doing this popular TV show called The Street Vet was to give a better perspective on how important pets are to homeless people. That is because as he was doing this, he heard some comments saying homeless people don’t deserve or should not have pets.
As Dr. Stewart continues to treat homeless people’s pets, he also has the opportunity to learn about their stories. He discovered that most homeless people consider their pets their companions, giving them a sense of security and protection. They are a companion that helps them to survive and continue living their lives.
Those stories show how homeless people treasure their pets as being much more important than their own lives. Dr. Stewart was glad to know his efforts were not in vain. The smiles of homeless people are enough of a reward to motivate Dr. Stewart to continue on his path.
Man’s best friend
Indeed, dogs are man’s best friend, the same with other pets. And nowhere is this clearer than on Los Angeles’ streets. And the majority of homeless people own a pet.
Even though they don’t have the financial capability to get enough medical treatments, you can see how much they treasure their pets. That is why they received a blessing in disguise, the street vets. Thanks to Dr. Stewart, they can keep their pets happy and healthy as they deserve.