SAN DIEGO — One nonprofit is providing crucial veterinary care to pets of owners experiencing homelessness.
CBS 8 spent the day walking through East Village with the ‘Street Vet’ as he provided medical care to animals whose owners could use a helping hand.
“She’s friendly,” said Dr. Kwane Stewart, as he approached a chihuahua. “How old is she?”
After 5-year-old ‘Loca’ received a thorough checkup, Dr. Stewart gave her vaccines for rabies and distemper parvo.
“She looked great. Her weight was good, healthy dog overall, so I didn’t have to do much,” said Dr. Stewart. “I vaccinated, dewormed, and I’m going to return with some flea medication.”
It’s all in a day’s work for this special veterinarian, who has 25 years of experience. He’s earned the nickname, 'Street Vet' for his work with pets whose owners are experiencing homelessness.
Loca’s owner, Kim, was grateful her dog received a free checkup. “She’s like my daughter,” said Kim. “She’s everything.”
“Luke, come here. Come here,” said Dr. Stewart, before providing an examination to another dog whose been on the streets for 11 years with his pet parent, Michael.
“Oh, he’s everything,” said Michael. “I couldn’t picture my life without him.”
“They have this amazing bond,” said Dr. Stewart. “Luke also for his age, very good health, great weight, nice temperament, teeth were looking good, so for him, it was basic care, basic wellness and preventative care.”
He gave Luke a rabies vaccine and de-wormer pills, and some homemade ‘street treats.’
“Treats are very important to relax pets, to make them compliant, to gain trust,” said Dr. Stewart. “So, I just kind of started doing my own just for fun and so far, they seem to like them.”
Though this ‘street vet’ has been doing this kind of work quietly for over a decade, his nonprofit, Project Street Vet, has been operating for the past year and a half.
“It’s their number one best friend in this life,” said Danae Davis, Executive Director for Project Street Vet. “And as we all know, people come into this situation for a variety of reasons and their pets are their best friends, so that’s what we’re here to support.”
The ‘Street Vet’ even has a TV show that airs in 30 countries around the world. For him, this work is extremely rewarding, and he says folks like Kim and Michael take care of their pets as best they can.
“They do remarkably well, given their resources, taking care of these pets,” said Dr. Stewart. “They shower them with love. They get so much love and attention. And what I offer is the one thing they struggle to get, and that is medical care.”
To learn more about their nonprofit, just visit projectstreetvet.org.
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