Have you ever heard of StreetVet? Perhaps not – but we’re sure you’ve noticed how many of London’s homeless community have pets to keep them company. Have you ever wondered who looks after them when they get ill or are injured? Because someone has to! For many homeless people, their pet is their only companion, but of course, they would struggle to access normal veterinary services. That’s where StreetVet step in – and we’re proud to support them!
Who are StreetVet?
StreetVet are a charity, set up by two vets in 2016, to provide free and accessible veterinary care to pets whose owners are homeless. In cities across the UK, vets and vet nurses volunteer their time to care for these animals. In London alone, they have 50 volunteers, and operate a regular “drop-in” clinic in Camden, as well as covering Soho, Shoreditch and parts of Hertfordshire. They vaccinate and microchip, treat for fleas and lungworm; prescribe pain relief and antibiotics; perform surgeries; and sometimes just sit and talk.
How do Goddard fit into this?
As the biggest veterinary group in London, we feel it’s important to help all the pets on our patch. So, Goddard have pledged to support SV with £1000 of vet fees across their branches in 2019. This means that we pay for investigations, surgical operations, medications, nursing and emergency care.
In 2018, we averaged 10 cases per month treated free of charge for StreetVet – they need the support and we have the facilities plus the staff willing to help out! We hope it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Belle is a Staffie, belonging to Rob. After a series of strokes, Belle helped him to rebuild his confidence and supported him throughout his recovery. Regularly visiting the StreetVet outreach station in Hackney, she was popular with all the volunteers!
However, in November last year, she was badly spooked by fireworks, ran onto the railway line and was hit by an oncoming train. Although she wasn’t killed outright, she suffered severe and life-threatening injuries. After emergency stabilisation by the RSPCA, she was transferred to our Wanstead Hospital for treatment.
She had suffered severe injuries to her right side, her right leg, and her skull and jaw, which was fractured. Sadly, our surgeons couldn’t save her leg or her right eye, but we were able to repair the rest of the damage and wire her jaw back together. Incredibly, she was up and walking only two days after her operations, and was able to be reunited with Rob after only two weeks of hospital care.
We’re really proud to have been able to support Rob and Belle through StreetVet, and at the last report, she’s still going strong and is something of a Hackney celebrity now!
How can I help?
The service StreetVet offer is completely free to the people they serve. However, food, bedding, toys, and medications have to come from somewhere, and this does cost money. You can donate food or other pet supplies directly to them by purchasing from their city-specific Amazon Wishlists – see their website for ideas. However, to make it easy, we have collection boxes in most of our branches – ask our receptionists for more details!
Of course, some things, like medications, need to be purchased from licensed suppliers. So, donations of money and fundraisers are also really important to keep them on the road. You can donate to support StreetVet on their Golden Giving page.
Please help the homeless and their animals this summer! We are, and we’d urge you to do the same.