While Metro Vancouver’s homeless count has increased 30 per cent in the last three years, some local volunteers are trying to help by treating their best friend.
Paws for Hope Executive Director Kathy Powelson says this is the fourth year hosting free pop-up clinics for homeless and low-income pet owners, this time at the McLaren Housing Society downtown.
Powelson says they usually see an average of 40 pets at a time for free vaccinations, parasite control, physical exams, ear cleanings, and nail clipping.
She explains often the animals are healthy and very social because they’re around people more, resulting in less anxiety and fear.
“The pet owners are putting their pet’s well-being before their own and they’re being fed before they are. And, you know, there actually has been research that confirms that what we see anecdotally at our clinics and that the health of these animals really, really does parallel to animals in private practice.”
Powelson says the organization is funded through donations and partnerships with Purina and vaccination companies.
She adds they’re now working with the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia to get site approval to expand to Surrey and New Westminster.
She says the next pop-up free pet clinic will be in September.