Pets are a huge responsibility. Love, care, and attention are vitally important to a pet’s well-being, but there is an also an undeniable financial component. Properly caring for a pet is expensive. Providing adequate food and keeping pets entertained with safe toys is a source of constant expense.
But all those expenses pale in comparison to the cost of veterinary attention. If something goes wrong with a beloved pet, or they simply need a checkup, it’s going to be expensive. The financial element weighs heavily on the homeless population that keeps a pet.
In an effort to make animal care more accessible to the homeless, Jade Statt started Street Vet.
“I was just out in London, and I came across a man and his dog. I always stop and talk to the homeless,” Statt told the BBC. “And his dog had a really bad skin complaint. And I just thought, ‘I must be able to do something.'”
Statt formed Street Vet because she wanted to donate her skills to those who needed it most. While she continues to work in a traditional practice as well, she is making strides to expand the Street Vet network. What started off as a personal mission has grown to include a number of volunteer vets and nurses.
For more complex medical emergencies, a number of veterinary offices have also volunteered to perform costly surgery, free of charge, several times a year.
Statt and the Street Vet team roam designated areas in the UK with backpacks full of medicines and vaccines that would otherwise be inaccessible to the dogs.
“Microchipping, vaccinating, flea treatment, worm treatment, you know, sometimes even only their nail clipping,” Statt says as she lists some of the more routine procedures she performs every day.
What she finds most discouraging about her work is the stigma that comes with the homeless owning pets.
“If you’re a dog lover, you get it, you see how desperate they are to care for them,” she said, via ThePawPost. She insists that she is yet to come across a dog that is not well fed and loved.
“They’re always well fed while the owners will do without,” she says.
Statt continues to expand her network to care for more and more dogs, but her efforts don’t stop at the pooches.
While Statt focuses primarily on the four-legged member of the family, she can’t help but lend a hand to the person behind the pooch when she can.
“Our focus is making sure they’re healthy and get treatment if they need it and do what we can for their owners too,” she said.
She finds that too often, the owners have simply fallen on hard times and need a hand back up. Notably, she helped a man named Dean Coleman and his dog Huni get off the street and into a dog-friendly hostel, eventually integrating back into the workforce.
“It reminds me of why I became a vet in the first place,” Statt said. “It’s without a doubt the most rewarding part of my career so far.”