The Street Dog Coalition offers free veterinary care for unhoused individuals with pets who require medical care.
In over sixty cities across the United States, the coalition exists and is run by volunteers with a shared mission to provide essential services to the pets of individuals experiencing homelessness. Their commitment is rooted in preserving the bond between individuals and their animals.
Comprising veterinarians, vet techs, social workers, and dedicated students, their team operates pop-up street clinics, delivering care to both pets and their human companions.
Michelle Schmidt, a dog owner experiencing homelessness, said having unvaccinated pets can make it more difficult to access housing.
“I’m homeless, and until we get the dogs with the rabies and the proper vaccines, I can’t move in,” she said. “I didn’t go to a shelter because some places don’t allow dogs, and I know it may be selfish of me to keep my dogs and not let them go, but they’re… I say that’s my tribe; these are my people.”
Individuals like Michelle are the reason the Street Dog Coalition hosts their events.
Kim Maynard, co-chair of Tucson, Arizona’s Street Dog Coalition, said it is pivotal that we care for the pets of unhoused people.
“Some of these pets are what these people live for, right?” he said. “It’s the reason they get out of bed; it’s the reason they’re walking around is because they have these things to take care of, so it’s just really important that we know that our friends are being cared for just as much as we can.”
With the rising costs of veterinary care, proper treatment becomes nearly impossible for those facing financial difficulties. There are no alternatives for these pet owners.
“Because a lot of these people can’t afford treatment, it would be a death sentence for these dogs,” said Maynard.
The coalition provides a range of free veterinary services, including nail trimming, check-ups, and vaccinations.
The Tuscan Street Dog Coalition hosts their event on the second Sunday of every other month. If you want to learn more about the coalition or find an event near you, click here.