It’s been a well-used phrase for centuries, a dog is a man’s best friend, and the world over people and animals share a special bond. For those experiencing homelessness, their pet can take on an even more important role, a companion by your side through thick and thin. But the cost associated with caring for an animal can prove to be a major hurdle, so one Australian charity has come up with a great solution. Pets in the Park (PITP) provides free veterinary care for companion animals owned by people that are homeless, or at risk of homelessness.
This is Australia’s Story of Gratitude for Pets in the Park
The care is provided by an amazing team of volunteers, including vets and vet nurses, who put on the free clinics once a month; these are held at locations in every state and territory in Australia. As the name suggests the clinics are generally held in parks, where there is room for everybody’s pet to play as they wait for their treatment and a friendly and welcoming smile is there to greet everyone when they arrive. This is a community united in their love for animals and giving them the best of care.
The concept was conceived in 2012 when Dr. Mark Westman, Vicki Cawsey, Dr. Leah Skelsey, and Linda Warlond collectively realised there was an urgent need for a service dedicated to caring for the pets of those experiencing homelessness. The four co-founders combined their passion, drive, and determination to develop PITP and involve strategic partnerships with human service providers, including soup kitchens and outreach cafes, and a referral system working with social workers and caseworkers for people experiencing homelessness.
Those who attend are provided with food, medication and other treatments through the support of the community and corporate donors. Mr. Swan who uses the service said he now had access to vet care he could otherwise not afford. “Monthly worming tablets or heartworm tablets, even surgery at one stage. Pets in the Park is fantastic.” For another client of the service, Jaq Sampson, his dog Diesel is a regular. “Diesel is my emotional support animal. He’s my reason to get up in the morning without him, I wouldn’t be here,” he said.
One of the clinics is timed to coincide with a monthly Sunday roast at the Salvation Army’s Streetlevel Mission. Team leader Paul Maunder said the clinic helped his service connect with people who might not otherwise seek help. “We want to give people a little bit of a taste of heaven,” he said. “We want people to know they’re valued, accepted, and loved, and for people doing it tough in life that doesn’t always happen.” The monthly clinics across Australia provide a constant and dependable place of care for people and their pets, knowing their companion isn’t going without, even in the hardest of times.
Imagine if in our daily lives we reached out a generous hand of support to those with a pet in need, a single tin of food provides a huge amount of joy. This is Australia’s Story of Gratitude for Pets in the Park. We were only able to mention a few examples of the incredible work that they do; if anyone knows more please contact us here as the Share Gratitude community would like to thank those involved and look to support this initiative.
We encourage you to follow us for more Stories of Gratitude and invite you to share your story – or send a simple message of Gratitude to those behind this initiative, please visit sharegratitude.com