This year’s annual convention for the American Veterinary Medical Association has been turned into a medical care drive for the companion animals of the homeless in the Denver area.
In partnership with the Street Dog Coalition and a number of corporate sponsors, the event held over last weekend allowed anyone to bring in an animal to receive a free health check, vaccinations, and essential supplies to take home with them.
Social isolation is as deadly to human beings as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and a companion animal can almost entirely alleviate those maleffects.
For people experiencing homelessness, that emotional support can be even more important.
“I think there’s a big judgment and stigma out there about, ‘gosh you need to be able to afford everything or you shouldn’t have a pet,’ and I really struggle with that,” says Dr. Ashley Ackley, one of the volunteer veterinarians who offered up their time during the convention.
Each pet owner was given a referral for spaying, neutering, or follow-up vaccinations depending on what was required within the Denver area.
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“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.
WATCH the story below from NBC 9 news…
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