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Paws for Hope runs a free veterinary clinic in Surrey for low-income owners

Vaseline 2 months ago

A nonprofit foundation hosted a free veterinary clinic Sunday to help pet owners facing high healthcare costs.

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation says that due to the persistently high cost of living, some low-income pet owners struggle to get adequate care for their fur babies, sometimes surrendering their pets to animal shelters.

The foundation organized a free veterinary clinic in Surrey to help people alleviate healthcare costs.

Paws for Hope says the need for vet support in BC is enormous.

“Every month the charity Paws for Hope receives 200 new requests for help with veterinary care, which are left unfulfilled. The number of requests has doubled year over year,” according to an email to CityNews.

This free veterinary clinic is offered to residents of Options’ supportive housing complex in Surrey to remove transport barriers and financial concerns.

“The critical care provided to these pets during the one-day clinic costs the charity an average of $12,000 per clinic (including supplies, resources and follow-up animal care),” the organization said.

It says the combination of more clients and higher costs for veterinary care has significantly increased demand for the foundation’s help.

“As requests for assistance have increased, operating costs have also increased. Between April and February 2023, Paws for Hope spent €145,000 on veterinary care. So far, they have spent $200,000 by the end of February 2024 (for the same period),” the report said.

Kathy Powelson, executive director of Paws for Hope, tells CityNews in an interview that they provided several different types of services at the animal clinic.

“We provide pre-vaccinations, parasite control, physical exams and minor care,” she said.

“If there is any aftercare that we see today, it will ensure that we work with our local park vet partners to get that aftercare done for the residents.”

Powelson says veterinary care is critical to the health of the community.

“We believe that all pets and their people deserve equal access to care,” she said.

She says free clinics have removed some of those barriers for low-income pet caregivers who may not be able to afford preventative or follow-up care.

“We truly believe that pets are family and should be cared for just as much as our human family members,” she said.

Powelson says people and the veterinary care sector in BC are really struggling.

“The cost of living has gone up, so it’s hard for people to make ends meet, to get vaccinations for the pet, to get them operated on,” she said.

“We are seeing an incredible increase in requests for support from our program.”

She says Paws for Hope not only helps coordinate surgeries with veterinarians, but also helps pet owners with transportation costs, such as a taxi or an Uber to get the pet to the hospital and back home.

“It’s only for low-income families, and our ability to help really depends on our resources,” she said.

“We are a small charity that relies on donors for this type of care.”

The veterinary clinic expects that an average of 30 pets will receive free examinations, vaccinations, parasite control and minor care.

Follow-up care is offered for dental surgery, orthopedic surgery, diabetes treatment and diagnosis, lump removal and biopsy, and spay and neuter services.

Paws for Hope says it is crucial to help their pets because pet owners live on a low fixed income.

“This is about meeting pet owners where they are. It is also important to remember that routine pet care prevents more serious problems later on,” the report said.

-With files from Angelyna Mintz.