A loving pet can make the world a brighter place for its owner, but what happens when you don’t have enough money or resources to look after yourself, let alone take care of your pet? When times are tough, disadvantaged pet owners in Ottawa can look to the Community Veterinary Outreach program to provide free healthcare and support for their furry friends.
The outreach program offers homeless or at risk of becoming homeless pet owners a range of free services for their animals, including medical check ups, inoculations, spaying, ID chips and food supplies. Staff also offer these vulnerable pet owners information and advice as to how to care for their pets, and provide vital links to other social and health services.
The program was established by Michelle Lem in 2003 and has since spread to the cities of Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto. Based in the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, the service operates on a mobile basis, setting up in missions, churches and community centers in an attempt to reach out to as many needy people and their pets as possible.
Staffed mostly by volunteers, the clinic operates on weekends. Volunteers are typically qualified or student vets and vet technicians who donate their time and skills for free. Motivated by an understanding that by helping care for pets and keeping them healthy, these altruistic individuals also contribute to the well-being of marginalized people who so often rely on their pets for companionship.
The Community Veterinary Outreach program understands the vital role played by pets in sustaining their owners through times of adversity. By taking care of the needs of these special friends, they are providing a much-needed life-line to a vulnerable group of people, helping to restore their faith in a society that has let them down. These devoted volunteers are among many kindhearted people that go above and beyond the call of duty to make the world a better place for pets and their owners. Follow this heartwarming puppy dog tale to learn about another dedicated veterinarian in action.
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