When you live on the streets, it is easy to feel isolated and difficult to feel hopeful about the future. In recent years, social services experts working with homeless people have discovered that pets can serve as a great source of emotional support, promote responsibility, and act as a social catalyst for homeless people to interact with others.
Recognizing the benefits of the human-animal bond for both humans and pets, Banfield Charitable Trust gives grants to nonprofits offering innovative programs designed to help pets and vulnerable pet owners such as homeless people. Grant recipient VET SOS, a volunteer-based project of the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, provides free veterinary care for the companion animals of homeless San Franciscans, provides veterinary examinations, basic veterinary procedures, vaccinations, and acute care to homeless pets.
The added benefit of their veterinary care is that VET SOS has been successful in connecting homeless clients with needed health and social services—the first step to turning their lives around.
“We find that BCT’s funding for programs that keep people and their pets together is unique,” said Bess Touma, chair of the VET SOS Advisory Committee. “It is an approach that is not common in the funding world.”
You can support innovative efforts like this to help keep pets and their people together.