A TEAM of volunteer vets and nurses is offering free help to pets belonging to homeless people in Cardiff city centre.
Once a month, team members from Valley Vets in Cardiff visit the Huggard Centre, a homeless hostel in Hansen Street, Cardiff, to offer veterinary care for dogs living rough on the streets with their owners.
They provide free health checks and administer medication, microchips and preventative treatment, including flea and worm protection, to pets that need it most.
Valley Vets, which has two veterinary hospitals in Cardiff and Ystrad Mynach and branch surgeries in Caerphilly and Pentyrch, provides the products at a discounted rate and vets and nurses give up their time voluntarily for the project, run by the Street Paws charity.
Street Paws was set up in Newcastle upon Tyne in April 2016 by a former veterinary practice manager, Michelle Southern, to help dogs owned by homeless people and she now has 130 veterinary staff, supporting five monthly outreach sessions across the UK, including Cardiff.
So many vets and nurses at Valley Vets were interested in volunteering that the practice has a rota to meet homeless pet owners when it takes to the streets of Cardiff on the first Sunday of each month.
Practice Manager Nichi Tanner, who is also a Registered Veterinary Nurse, said: “We had a brilliant response from homeless owners and you feel as if you are making a difference and giving something back.
“For many homeless people, their dog is their world, but veterinary care can often prove difficult to access and impossible to afford for people living on the streets. Keeping the dogs happy and looking after their welfare is really important. The main challenge is the lack of vaccination.”
Street Paws founder and Chief Executive Michelle Southern said: “Street Paws started with myself, a vet and a nurse on the street with a bag of supplies, with the aim of providing vaccinations, flea and worming to the animals of the homeless. The support we receive from Valley Vets is fantastic.”
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