(DENVER, Colorado) July 13, 2023 — Pets give their humans love, companionship and protection, and in return their owners want to give them the medical care, nutrition and comfort they need and deserve. But for owners experiencing homelessness, providing that level of care to their pets can be a real challenge.
During the annual American Veterinary Medical Association Convention – held this year in Denver – the AVMA and The Street Dog Coalition partner to offer pet owners experiencing homelessness free veterinary examinations for their animals and complimentary food and essential supplies. This year’s event, scheduled for Sunday, July 16 from 11am-3pm MT at the Welton Street entrance of the Colorado Convention Center, is sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Merck Animal Health and Western Veterinary Partners.
Animals will receive health checks and basic care, and pet owners will get a hygiene kit for themselves and – for their pets – food, a collapsible water/food bowl, treats, toys, leashes and collars.
Merck Animal Health, a Street Dog Coalition Legacy Sponsor since 2021, is providing all the vaccines for the clinic and preventatives such as heartworm and flea/tick medications, along with dog bowls and other supplies as needed. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a global leader in science-led nutrition, will provide free pet food for cats and dogs. Western Veterinary Partners, a Street Dog Coalition Legacy Sponsor since 2023, will be supplying lunch for volunteers and pet owners. For spaying, neutering and other surgeries, owners will be referred to local veterinarians who donate or reduce the cost of in-office procedures.
Each volunteer care team will be led by a Colorado state-licensed veterinarian and consist of a veterinary technician or student and staff to help with intake, check-in and check-out, and distributing hygiene kits.
“Veterinarians are compassionate and altruistic people, and every year many AVMA members and staff volunteer for this wonderful event,” said Dr. Lori Teller, AVMA President. “The Street Dog Coalition is incredible and working with them helps to give back to our host communities. And we couldn’t be more grateful to our generous sponsors.”
“People experiencing homelessness have incredibly strong bonds with their pets who provide companionship, purpose, and unconditional love. By providing free compassionate care to both ends of the leash, we hope to help preserve, protect, and strengthen those bonds,” said Katrina Weschler, Executive Director of The Street Dog Coalition.
“As a company that stands by our unconditional commitment to pets, pet owners, and those who care for them, it’s an honor to continue our long-standing partnership with The Street Dog Coalition to provide vaccines, medications and resources that allow the AVMA and our volunteer veterinarians to deliver accessible, quality care to those who need it most,” said Dr. Robert Duquette, professional services veterinarian for Merck Animal Health.
"The Street Clinic at the AVMA Convention is a great example of veterinary professionals doing what they do best – coming together to serve people and pets in the community," said Dr. Karen Shenoy, US Chief Veterinary Officer for Hill's Pet Nutrition. "We are humbled to again have the opportunity to support this Street Dog Coalition initiative. It's a wonderful opportunity to live our shared mission of enriching and lengthening the special relationships between people and their pets.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with The Street Dog Coalition and help support their mission to provide free medical care and related services to pets of people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness,” said Carollee Brinkman, CEO of Western Veterinary Partners. “The team at Western Veterinary Partners recognizes and honors the human-animal bond and we are committed to doing our part to help protect that bond through our partnership with The Street Dog Coalition.”