By the time I got to a Pets for Life (PFL) event in the heart of Philadelphia at the official start time of 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning about a year ago, some folks had already been in line for five hours. By 10 a.m., the line stretched around the inner city park, with a pet or two for every person. People were there for free dog food, vaccinations, collars and leashes, and spay-or-neuter vouchers – the currency of the PFL program.
Typically, this section of Philadelphia is short of all these things – in so many respects, areas like this one are animal-service deserts. And while the early risers and the long lines revealed to anyone paying attention that these people desperately love their animals, many of them have a hard time affording the services and products their pets want and need.
Millions of Americans and their pets live in such underserved communities, and PFL is tackling that problem head on. Today, on our Day of Giving, I hope you’ll support this vital work with a gift. All dollars raised today will boost our PFL program, which in a few short years has already provided veterinary services to more than 100,000 pets in underserved areas across the country.
The approach adopted by PFL to improve veterinary access in areas lacking these services includes:
- Delivering direct care to thousands of pets every year: PFL provides a lifeline for so many people who, without our efforts, would not get the most basic services for their beloved pets, including vaccinations, spay/neuter, and basic disease prevention. Our team is on the ground in underserved communities every day in four core cities: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
- Providing mentorship and training to local shelters, animal services agencies, rescue groups and spay/neuter clinics: We work with groups across the country so that they can incorporate community outreach work into their missions along with veterinary care.
- Helping train future veterinarians to work in underserved areas: At the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, PFL is part of the curriculum. Students go out with our staff members to provide home visits in Philadelphia communities. For many people we reach, this is the first opportunity they’ve ever had to talk with a veterinarian, ask questions, and receive treatment for their pets. We are partnering with the Wisconsin Humane Society and the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine to bring the same access to the Pets for Life community in Milwaukee.
The data we’ve obtained reveal that 90 percent of the pets we’ve served so far were unaltered when we first met them, and more than 70 percent had never even been to a veterinarian. To date, we have spayed and neutered nearly 65,500 pets and provided vaccinations, medication, general wellness, and emergency care to 109,000 pets.
Your support on this Day of Giving will help Pets for Life provide these important services to people and pets in need. Help us keep more animals happy and healthy in their homes, with the people who love them.