Grass Valley, Calif. May 3, 2015 - Since February 2010 Rob Avery, DVM and owner of For the Love of Pets Veterinary Hospital (FTLOP), has been providing veterinary services to the pets of our local homeless, but getting that message out to folks on the street was a challenge. "We simply didn't have the outreach to find the people with pets in need of care" said Dr. Avery. Meanwhile Patti Galle was forming Nevada County Pets of the Homeless (NCPoH) and putting together a determined group of people to be on the front lines delivering food, supplies and information to homeless folks living in the woods with their pets.
NCPoH and FTLOP found each other on Facebook just after Thanksgiving of 2014. FTLOP met with NCPoH and solidified a strategy: NCPoH interviews the humans to determine if they qualify for help, and if so, they are issued an ID card for altered pet(s) which enables them to receive free veterinary services at FTLOP. They are also assigned an ID tag to go on the free collar they are given. The ID tags are inscribed with a phone number for NCPoH and a registration number linking to the owner of the pet. NCPoH Patti Galle says, "The purpose of the ID tags is to eliminate pets of the homeless from being turned in and further burdening our already full shelters."
NCPoH also delivers collars, leashes, pet coats and is working on temporary housing for the pets of those folks getting assistance through Hospitality House. FTLOP has been examining, treating, vaccinating and altering the pets screened by NCPoH. "Everyone needs to come together for these pets says Galle, These pets can get foxtails or ear infections just like any one of our pets could, and they don't deserve to be dismissed because of a homeless situation they can't control."
Dr. Avery says, "We have helped 12 pets this year alone (2014). People might be surprised to know that typically these pets are in great health and do not appear to be suffering from malnutrition or neglect. Safe recovery from surgery and anesthesia was a real concern for us, but the owners understood our worries and found solutions." FTLOP Office Manager Kim Furtado added, "During our brief period of snow, the homeless owners of pets that required surgery and/or anesthesia networked amongst themselves, friends and family to stay near phones and find temporary housing for their pets to recover safely out of the wet and cold. They made certain that their pets needs were met before their own."
NCPoH presented Dr. Rob Avery and FTLOP staff with a plaque and a donated luncheon as a gesture of appreciation for providing veterinary services to their mutual clients.