Mobile veterinary clinic provides free care for furry friends of the homeless

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The sound of many dogs barking echoed along West Street in Raleigh on Saturday, as the Women's Center welcomed pet parents to a free outdoor veterinary clinic. Organizers called it a "No Pet Shaming Zone" for the homeless and people at risk of losing their homes.

"Many of those women who we serve have experienced homelessness, and the homeless community have pets. They often will choose pets over finding shelter.", said Brace Boone III, director of The Women's Center.

Dozens of dogs and their human companions took advantage of the opportunity, so many that Nora Robbins of the Women's Center exclaimed, "I am blown away. Blown away! We have women who sleep in the woods and abandoned buildings. And these animals need care! And so Dega Mobile Pet Clinic has partnered with us, and they're providing all vaccines. Heartworm, flea and tick prevention."

"It helps, first of all, give them a sense of well being and happiness that they're taking care of their loved ones, you know? But also, decreases pets going to the shelter because they are cared for. They're vaccinated, and preventing disease that if it happened, they can't afford to treat it," said Dr. April Gessner, the veterinarian behind the non-profit mobile veterinary care service.

The response was so great that they decided to widen their focus, and offered the free services to anyone who can't take care of their pets the way they want to, due to the challenges of the pandemic. And while the Saturday clinic ended at 2 p.m. the work's not over yet.

"We have in store some animal-assisted therapy as well," Boone said. "This is the first step toward working a lot more deeply, with our clients and their animals.'

We'll let you know the date and location of the next no-cost clinic provided by The Women's Center and Dega Mobile Veterinary Care.
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