Veterinarians provide free care for 'street dogs' and in turn, their owners

Posted at 6:54 PM, Apr 18, 2018

Let's face it, pets are family. And even when you don't have a home, they come first. One non-profit group of dedicated veterinarians, is helping make sure these "street dogs" are getting the care they need, much to the relief of their human companions.

Shannon Arakaki is doing her best to comfort her dog Rocky, as he gets his ear drained. After all, she says he's always been there to comfort her.

"Oh yeah there's been some ups and downs," said Arakaki. "Lived in my truck you know we stay at my truck off and on right now."

When Rocky hurt his ear, Arakaki had no idea how she'd deal with it.

"I don't have the money to go to a vet and this is my only option right now unless you know I'm going to sell my truck," said Arakaki. "I can't do that I'm not going to go live in a tent."

That's where one group of veterinarians come in. They are treating Rocky for free.

"This is phenomenal," Arakaki said. "Because it's so hard and when you're at the point where you don't really have any money and you're trying just basically to survive. They come before you."

With just a table and supplies these vets are caring for the pets of people who are homeless or near homeless. They call themselves the Street Dog Coalition, setting up care centers on streets around the country, or in this case, at a shelter.

"We are not doing major surgeries," said Dr. Jon Geller, who founded the Street Dog Coalition. "We're not doing x-rays but we have to use our x-ray vision which just means a lot of best guessing going on."

Dr. Geller says it not only helps pets stay healthy, but also tears down barriers for people who already have enough up.

"What do you do for a job interview?" Dr. Geller said. "What do you do for a job? There's no doggie daycare and they can't get on the bus and staying over night in shelters but that's in most cases it won't happen."

Dr. Geller says sometimes the homeless are judged for having pets, but not here.

"They will feed their pets first," Dr. Geller said. "So they live pretty good lives and these owners are pretty committed and I think that we should be supportive of their efforts to have pets."

They are helping preserve relationships that go beyond mere companionship.

"Without having somebody for me to give a damn about I may not care about myself as much," Arakaki said.