StreetVet’s story starts in 2002, when Jade graduated from Glasgow Vet School and started working in a clinic. But she wanted to do more with her abilities. She wanted to volunteer, to help animals that didn’t have the same care available to them as her patients did, she wanted to take part in something that would change the world for the better. But the more she searched for voluntary opportunities, the more she realised they were few and far between in the UK.
A revolutionary cause
Despite that, it was on a London night out in 2016 that Jade made an encounter which changed her life forever. She spoke to a homeless man who was worried about his dog’s skin problems. Being a dog owner herself, Jade felt touched by the bond she recognised between the man and his pet. More than anything, she felt frustrated:
That got Jade to wondering: how do homeless people care for their pets when they get sick or injured? What happens to them then? So Jade approached someone who had already been working with the homeless and was a huge inspiration to her. Joshua Coombes kickstarted the ‘Do Something For Nothing’ movement by offering free haircuts to people living in the streets.
Shortly after, StreetVet was founded.
From ‘streetvetting’ alone with a bag full of medications on their backs, to running a charity made up of 600 volunteer vets and vet nurses, Jade and co-founder Sam Joseph have come a long way with their project. Currently established in 16 main locations in the UK, StreetVet provides essential care to pets living with their owners on the streets. This includes health checks and vaccinations, surgeries, prescriptions and follow ups, provision of daily essentials (e.g. food, blankets, leads, etc.), and owner education.
StreetVet provides their essential services through stationary outreaches, hostel visits, or visits to specific people who were noticed by a member of the public. Every animal that is registered with StreetVet is given a tag with a free phone number, one which their owner can call in case of emergency at any time. Indeed, working with pets inevitably means working with their owners too, and that part is just as important to Jade and Sam.
That’s why StreetVet works so hard to keep pets and owners together for as long as possible. In fact, StreetVet is intrinsically involved with human organisations including soup kitchens and hostels.
And with recently winning first place in the world-renowned Purina BetterWithPets competition (out of 150 international contestants!), StreetVet will be able to expand their work with the homeless by establishing their Accredited Hostel Scheme.
A choice no one should have to make
Hostels are a haven for homeless people. Not only do they provide shelter and food, but they are also visited by key individuals such as doctors, dentists, mental health professionals, and career counsellors, to name a few. But when these hostels don’t accept pets - which is the case for most in the UK - these opportunities are denied to their owners, who prefer to continue sleeping rough than to part with them. StreetVet wants to put an end to this.
So, they started contacting hostels to ask why they don’t accept pets.
Due to this, StreetVet plans to set up their Accredited Hostel Scheme by providing policies to hostels, for example, on what they should do with an animal if their owner suddenly falls ill and has to go to the hospital. Hostels willing to work with StreetVet would also receive extensive training on dog health and body language, as well as ongoing support from the charity. Vets and vet nurses would regularly visit the hostels to provide dogs with medical care and any other material necessities such as food or crates.
With this program, StreetVet could change the lives of countless men and women, as well as their beloved animals’.
More than ever in need of our support
The coronavirus pandemic has affected StreetVet massively. With the lockdown measures in place, they were forced to stop their outreaches, which in turn, led to an increase in calls to StreetVet’s service by over 100%! And though they have continued to provide help where possible, StreetVet is receiving less donations from the public - another adverse result of the pandemic. Yet, with homelessness bound to increase in the coming months, there has never been a more vital time to support a charity like StreetVet!
By donating to StreetVet, you can help them to continue expanding and ameliorating their services in the UK, as well as encourage their work to become a model for similar charities wanting to develop in other countries - changing countless lives forever.
Jade absolutely wowed us with her kindness, warmth, and humanity - evident even through a phone call. And with her Husky and Belgian Malinois cross howling happily in the background, we’re convinced she’s a great dog mum too.