The Street Dog Coalition is a unique organization. They’re pioneering care for homeless dogs and unhoused humans. With a focus on sustaining and nurturing the human-pet bond regardless of income status, their work is inspiring, innovative, and life-changing. Keep reading to learn who they are, what they do, and how they’re impacting communities across the United States.
Let’s get started!
What Is The Street Dog Coalition?
The Street Dog Coalition provides free medical care and services to pets of unhoused people. They strive to care for both ends of the leash, pets and humans, and do this through pop-up street clinics. Instead of potentially separating these two parties, their goal is to help unhoused people care for their beloved pets. In this approach, they are able to build beneficial relationships and often improve the mental health of unhoused people. Additionally, they prevent overpopulation and disease in companion animals while keeping these pets out of shelters and with the people who love them.
The organization operates in over 60 cities in the U.S. Their services are administered by volunteer veterinarians, vet techs and assistants, human healthcare professionals, social workers, human-animal bond advocates, and students in the One Health program.
What Is the One Health Approach?
The One Health approach recognizes the health of people and animals are closely connected. As a program of the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), One Health is collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary. It focuses on the health outcomes of people, animals, and plants that are sharing an environment. For example, it informs and researches when diseases are passed between animals and people.
The Street Dog Coalition developed a One Health Mobile Outreach (OHMO) program to ensure they’re reaching both ends of the leash with community-centered healthcare. Having a mobile unit allows them to reach people and pets in rural areas.
The Street Dog Coalition’s Story
The Street Dog Coalition started in May 2015 when they held their first clinic. It was in Fort Collins, Colorado, and 25 dogs and five cats received free veterinary care. Since then the organization has expanded to over 60 cities across the U.S. and continues to grow.
Volunteer veterinarians who believe in the human-animal bond are at the core of what makes The Street Dog Coalition successful. It’s their time, energy, and skills that ensure pets and people are cared for and stay together. When an unhoused person is able to keep their pet with them, it can improve their mental health.
“There’s no judgment at the clinic, only care and love from Dr. Geller and the other volunteers. They understand that these animals are our kids. They hold our lives together and keep us going.” – Lori Harmon, Client of The Street Dog Coalition in Fort Collins, CO(Source: StreetDogCoalition.org)
What Programs Does The Street Dog Coalition Offer?
The Street Dog Coalition offers several free programs including clinics, advocacy, One Health mobile outreach, and a program for veterans and their pets. All of their work relies on volunteers and donations. Let’s take a closer look.
Clinics and Events
Clinics and events happen regularly, including vet services and spay and neuter services. Often taking place at homeless shelters, the events vary in services provided and are typically open to dogs and cats.
The Street Dog Coalition has an advocacy program that connects both ends of the leash. They help high-risk pet owners beyond clinic visits. Pet owners who qualify are matched with a trained volunteer to serve as their advocate. The advocate keeps in touch and guides pet owners to resources for their animals and themselves.
Monkey’s Ashes is a designated fund that The Street Dog Coalition uses for pet owners without the means to help their beloved pet end its life when that time comes. It’s a way to offer death with dignity and after-care scatter cremation when euthanasia is the best option for a sick animal. For many, this is a huge blessing to ailing pets and distressed owners to make the transition as smooth as possible.
One Health Mobile Outreach
The One Health Mobile Outreach consists of multiple health professionals and students who provide care to underserved communities. They do street outreach and go to tent cities. In addition, nearly 20 percent of low-income and homeless Americans live in rural areas. The mobile outreach units have the ability to extend services to these areas.
Vets for Vets
Vets for Vets is a program that serves those who served in the U.S. military. The program offers affordable access to healthcare, including mental health and veterinary care to unhoused and low-income communities. The Street Dog Coalition plays a role in helping break the cycle of homeless veterans.
Additional Resources: Other organizations that are focusing on both ends of the leash include Michigan Humane, serving metro Detroit.
How Can I Get Involved With The Street Dog Coalition?
You can get involved with The Street Dog Coalition by volunteering or giving financially. They’re continuously looking for veterinarians across the U.S. to start and lead a team in their area. Medical professionals and social workers are also needed as well as various other professionals like vet techs, vet students, and more. In addition, being an ambassador is a great way to get involved and use your skills. Whether you’re good at social media, hosting events, or simply spreading the word and networking in your community, ambassadors help further the mission of the organization.
Finally, donating financial resources to the non-profit organization will help them tremendously. Click here for a case for supporting The Street Dog Coalition.
Where To Follow The Street Dog Coalition
You can follow The Street Dog Coalition on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Following, liking, or subscribing helps create awareness around the organization and topic of the homeless human and pet situation throughout the U.S. and the world. In addition, by sharing their content you can help connect and improve both ends of the leash.
Help The Unhoused Keep and Care for Their Pets
You can help unhoused people keep their furry companions. When you have nothing else, a pet can be life-changing. However, having a pet requires resources and finances. The Street Dog Coalition is providing on both ends of the leash.
What impact has The Street Dog Coalition had on you? Or how might you help grow their impact? Share your story in the comments below.
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