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A veterinarian is helping homeless people care for their pets

This ‘Street Vet’ gives free veterinary care to homeless individuals and their pets.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
Keeping up with a dog’s routine health care can be a challenge for those experiencing homelessness.

Having a pet requires a great deal of care, but the rewards are numerous. Even if you are unaware, pets can assist decrease stress and provide emotional support. It’s understandable that many homeless people have companion animals. While dogs can give several psychological advantages, they can be expensive to care for, even for the most financially secure pet owner.

Vet bills can run into the thousands, yet basic maintenance that many take for granted can catch these expensive health problems early on. When homeless people are spotted with their dogs, few people stop to consider whether these animals are receiving enough veterinary care. Dr. Kwane Stewart, on the other hand, took notice. Stewart has been a veterinarian for 25 years and currently works at Netflix as an animal consultant, as well as lending his expertise to people facing homelessness in need of a health check-up for their pets.

Stewart starred in a reality show in 2019, Street Vet, in which he traveled on the streets of California to provide veterinary care to animals belonging to people without homes. He began a traveling pop-up clinic after meeting a man and his dog on the street. This particular dog was suffering from a skin ailment caused by a flea infestation, which resulted in the loss of a patch of hair and a rash. Stewart promised to treat the man’s dog, and after a $3 medication, the dog was flea-free and appeared far healthier and happier when Stewart returned a few weeks later to check on it. The dog’s owner expressed heartfelt gratitude to the doctor, and it was then that Stewart decided to give vet care in his own unique way through pop-up clinics.

Stewart has been conducting pop-up clinics and seeking out animals whose owners are unable to bring them to him for more than a decade. He has encountered his share of difficult assignments, one of which was euthanizing a huge number of animals during his first years out of vet school, which prompted him to seek something more important. He was the program’s director, No Animals Were Harmed. And then Netflix approached him with an irresistible offer.

His passion for assisting homeless people’s animals inspired him to create his nonprofit, Project Street Vet. He leads the nonprofit in addition to operating his own practice Papaya Pet Care, which will start in March 2022, and consulting for Netflix. Stewart is able to continue his work on the streets for persons suffering homelessness for free because to Project Street Vet.

He provides crucial treatment to the street pets he encounters. He treats owners with dignity and respect, while offering a judgment-free environment in which to care for their pets. He has aided innumerable creatures in the ten years he has been conducting street vet clinics, and no doubt he will continue to aide thousands more.

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