In a world where you can be anything; be Kind – especially to Animals.

Firstly, I want to say Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, too; ours was a little different this year at Underhill Towers, thanks to the arrival of Jesse. Just gotta say, I LOVED my first Christmas as a Daddy! I have to confess to not exercising much restraint though, so we ended up with loads of ‘stuff’ – and it got me thinking about how blooming fortunate I am. And I suspect many of you are sat reading this, nodding your heads in agreement; am I right?

I’ve always tried to re-cycle surplus gifts, whether it’s been via gifting them on to others, donating them to a charity shop, or giving them as prizes in raffles. Then I had a thought (dangerous, I know!) to give them to homeless charities to re-distribute, which then got me to thinking about those out on the streets and their pets.

Whenever I’ve stopped and fussed the (mainly) dogs and got chatting to their owners, I have always been touched by the sheer love and care they show to their furry companions. They make every effort to ensure that their fur-baby is fed and warm, often spending any monies they are given to get extra food and coats for their dog before tending to their own needs. Street life is (I can only imagine) harsh and tough anyhow, so the care and compassion seems to mean even more; in the most desperate circumstances, the human capacity for love and compassion towards pets shines through. Veterinary care has always been a struggle for this section of society to access and afford, but since 2016 there has been a helping hand that is ever-increasing its reach.

Street Vet (……

was started 3 years ago, sparked by the strength of the bond between one homeless person and his faithful canine companion. It is an RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) registered practice that delivers care to those without homes and their pets, free of charge, all over the country, with teams emerging in more and more cities. Street Vets’ teams of Vets and Vet Nurses have so far helped hundreds of street animals – not just dogs, they’ve helped cats and rabbits too! These amazing colleagues of mine have vaccinated, wormed, de-flea’d, microchipped, treated for lungworm, fought infections, prescribed analgesics (pain relief) and even performed surgery when needed, on any animal in need of their help.

In collaboration with shelters, outreach programmes and homeless charities, the Street Vet teams have helped these furries’ humans too. This has meant that the homeless people have received clothing, shelter and medical care that they might otherwise not have had access to, via these channels.

As our clients and their furries know, and yes, I’m going to toot our own trumpet here, the team at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre have an extensive array of Veterinary skills between them – both medical and surgical. The Street Vet team contacted us to see if we would be interested in joining them, and we said we’d love to. Unfortunately, when we got down to the nitty-gritty, finer details, it just wasn’t going to be feasible. One of the requirements is to provide 24 hour care, and whilst the daytime hours were doable, we just couldn’t commit to the overnight shift at this moment in time. Who knows though, things may change in the future.

In the meantime, there are lots of other ways to lend support to the Street Vet teams, whichever neck-of-the-woods they’re in. Like most charities, which Street Vet now is, they are always grateful for any monetary donations, but they also have an ‘Amazon Wish List’ which allows you to donate specific items if you prefer.

I wish it was solely Street Vet that needs help, but there are many more equally deserving organisations in need of support; your local animal shelter will also be needing any help you can give, too. If your circumstances allow, the best gift you could give is the gift of a ‘furever’ home to an animal in need of adoption; or perhaps you fancy fostering an animal temporarily? There is, sadly, always an influx of unwanted ‘Christmas pets’ coming in to shelters about now; people have forgotten that “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”.

Think too, about those animals in Australia affected by the catastrophic bush fires. Shelters and rescue centres will need everybody’s help if they are to care for the volume of injured or mis-placed wildlife coming to their door. I’ve seen appeals for knitted and/or fabric pouches, slings, nests and mittens, so this may be a way that you are able to help. Seeing the devastation wreak havoc has made myself and the whole SLVC team feel very grateful for where we live, as I’m sure it’s given you all pause for thought. The thought that anywhere between half a billion and a billion animals and birds could’ve have perished in this disaster is gut-wrenching.

I feel very blessed and fortunate to be in a job that allows me to care for animals in need, whatever the circumstances. Here at Saint Leonard Veterinary Centre we’re always on hand for you and your furry family members; simply get in touch with one of the team and we’ll always help in any way we can.

Until next time; stay safe, stay well, and be happy 🙂