Pets being checked out at a previous Paws for Hope free vet clinic. The first such clinic to be held in Langley is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 30. (Paws for Hope)

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income owners in Lower Mainland

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

Low income and homeless pet owners in Langley will have a chance to get veterinary checkups for their furry friends at a special animal health clinic on Sunday, Sept. 30.

The project is being sponsored by the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation and the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS).

Clinics like Sunday’s have been held around the province for six years, but this will be the first one in Langley, said Kathy Powelson, executive director of Paws for Hope.

“We value and believe in the bond between people and pets,” Powelson said.

That bond is sometimes even more important for people living in poverty.

“Sometimes pets are their one constant companion,” said Powelson. Their pets can be the reason they get out of bed in the morning. For some, caring for their pets can be the reason they try to kick drug addictions or find better housing.

“Those pets deserve to be healthy as well,” said Powelson.

A significant number of homeless and low-income people have pets. But veterinary care or pet insurance can be financially out of reach for people on a fixed income, much less those living on the streets.

Visitors to the clinic will be able to get their cats and dogs checked out with a physical, as well as vaccinations, flea and deworming treatments, nail trims, and ear cleanings.

Pets may be referred for more serious issues. LAPS, thanks to a generous donor, is stepping in to pick up those costs.

“In addition to be there on the day, LAPS, through our Major’s Legacy Fund, is providing any follow medical treatment/surgery that is identified as needed during the veterinary exam all pets will receive at the clinic,” said Jayne Nelson, the executive director of LAPS.

The legacy fund is named after the beloved late dog of a donor. The fund was explicitly set up to help fund grants for people who can’t afford the cost of veterinary care on their own.

READ MORE: Langley Doberman remembered with new legacy fund

Vet care will be provided by Dr. Melissa Stephens and her staff, said Powelson.

They will be equipped to deal with dogs and cats, possibly small mammals like rabbits or rodents. The vet crew is not specialized to deal with exotic animals such as reptiles, said Powelson.

Anyone visiting must either be vouched for by the shelter or have proof of being low income – below $25,000 annual income for a single person, slightly more with dependents.

Powelson recommends bringing a tax assessment, or a social assistance stub or pay stub.

The Animal Health Clinic will be held Sunday, Sept. 30 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Gateway of Hope Shelter at 5787 Langley Bypass.

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Pets being checked out at a previous Paws for Hope free vet clinic. The first such clinic to be held in Langley is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 30. (Paws for Hope)

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