This year on Valentine’s Day, the Free Clothing Program played host to VET SOS, and by ‘played host,’ I mean they took over our parking lot for the day. We are happy to announce that VET SOS will now be visiting the Free Clothing Program on a regular basis, about three times a year. VET SOS is a volunteer-based project providing free veterinary care for the companion animals of homeless San Franciscans. The project uses a specially outfitted van to provide its outreach and veterinary services in selected areas of San Francisco that are inhabited by homeless individuals with companion animals.
The project visits the Castro/Mission, China Basin, Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury and Bayview-Hunter’s Point neighborhoods on the second Friday of each month. In addition, the project provides its services at San Francisco’s six annual Project Homeless Connect events in the City’s Tenderloin neighborhood, and in Golden Gate Park during Notre Dame de Namur University’s Thanksgiving Day Picnic with the homeless.
The van carries veterinary vaccinations, medications, medical charts, animal food, leashes, collars, halters, and other necessary supplies that are dispensed on site by a volunteer staff that includes one or more veterinarians, one or more vet techs, and an animal assistant. When possible, an animal behaviorist joins this team.
Valentine’s Day was the first time they were using the Free Clothing Program as one of their mobile sites, so we were all a little nervous about how it would go. But according to Bernadette Guirguis, VET SOS Project Assistant, it was the bee’s knees! Though I’m pretty sure they don’t treat bees.
A total of 36 animals were seen (32 dogs, 3 cats, and a rat) and 2 animals were sent to be spayed/neutered at the San Francisco SPCA! We’re also very pleased to announce that VET SOS will be returning to the Free Clothing Program on May 9th, as well as again in November.
Donations to VET SOS can be made directly to the Free Clothing Program. Here is what they are specifically in need of (the ones in bold are the highest need): flea treatment k9/feline, heart guard (all sizes), 22g 3/4in needles, allergy pills, shampoos, wet food, muzzles (all sizes), bowls, doggie clothing (all sizes), nail trimmers (non-guillotine), heat sources/heat pads, plastic bags (grocery bags for supplies), non-expired antibiotics. Please note that Vet SOS cannot accept expired medications, expired pet food, or controlled substances, will not accept open bags of pet food, and currently cannot accept donations of LRS or other fluids, any insulin syringes, or IV medications.
Thank you again to Bernadette and everybody at VET SOS for helping to improve the lives of our clients and the pets they love!
In photo: a VET SOS client with her dog, Precious.
Photo courtesy of Mark Rogers photography.