The annual convention for the American Veterinary Medical Association turned into a medical care drive providing veterinary examinations and complimentary food and essentials.
This year, the American Veterinary Medical Association as part of its annual convention partnered with the Street Dog Coalition and a number of corporate sponsors to help provide free care for the pets of people experiencing homeless in the Denver area. The free drive took place at the Colorado Convention Center on Sunday, July 16, 2023. Vets and volunteers attending the AVMA Conference gave out health checks and basic care to those in need and pet owners were given a hygiene kit for themselves and for their pets. According to the Denver Post, the pet's care package included food, a collapsible water/food bowl, treats, toys, leashes and collars. The animals were also given vaccines for heartworm, flea/tick, bordetella, parvo/distemper and rabies.
“It's a lot of those just core vaccines that are really important. Preventative medicine is what we're really after, in terms of these free clinics. So providing rabies, vaccines, parvo vaccines, but we're also able to test for heartworm and provide heartworm prevention medication, as well as flea tick prevention medication,” said Katrina Weschler, nonprofit Street Dog Coalition executive director, reports Denver 7.
“A lot of people that we meet at these clinics take such good care of their animals. And we see cats, too. But the bond that develops between the animals and the human, it's so strong. And a lot of times, these pets are just living their best lives. They're out there, they're in the world, they're socializing. They get to smell everything, they're seeing different places. And truly, they're very, very well cared for and they're very, very much loved. People will go without shelter, they will go without food to make sure that their animal eats first,” Weschler said. “What they're not able to do sometimes is get that veterinary care because it's expensive.”
Weschler noted that 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,” Weschler added.
📹 This video is from this weekend's @AVMAvets Cares street clinic in Denver and captures moments that remind us why we do what we do. Many thanks to our volunteers and sponsors, including @MerckAH, Western Veterinary Partners and @HillsPet who help us care for those in need. 🤝 pic.twitter.com/DMvvTKEYqk— The Street Dog Coalition (@thestreetdogco) July 19, 2023
The event witnessed many animal lovers who wanted the best for their four-legged companions regardless of life circumstances. "Just make sure she's a healthy little puppy," Ulinda Carroll told vets when she handed over her 8-week-old black lab to them, reports 9 News. "You don’t find a lot of places that are willing to help," she said. "They usually want a lot of money or they won’t help you."
Five dogs in the transitional housing she's staying at died of parvovirus including her own. "I literally just had a puppy die from parvo and our family can’t do another one," she said, getting emotional. She took her puppy, Sarah, a few days after she got her to the Colorado Convention Center. "I've been through so much abuse in my life," Carroll said. "She’s going to be my emotional support animal. So it’s super important because she’s like my other half."