Nov 23, 2022 Meet Street Dog Coalition: Acting to Meet the Needs of Pets in the US and now in Ukraine
Back in 2015, Colorado veterinarian Jon Geller recognized that the pets of people experiencing homelessness lacked access to primary veterinary care. He set up the first Street Dog Coalition clinic near a homeless day shelter and provided free veterinary care to 25 dogs and five cats that day. Since then, the Coalition has expanded its clinics to more than fifty cities across the United States.
As with the origin of the Street Dog Coalition, Dr. Geller recognized at the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that citizens fleeing the country with pets would need rabies vaccinations, microchipping, and pet passports or face the prospect of abandoning their pets at the border. Dr. Geller traveled to the southern Ukraine-Romania border, where he spent 12 days providing veterinary services to the pets of Ukrainian refugees. Street Dog Coalition then set up a large blue tent (nicknamed the “Blue Vet Group”) on the Ukrainian border at Isaccea, Romania, that was staffed with volunteer veterinarians. They provided veterinary checks to more than 800 pets over 4 months. As the number of Ukrainians leaving the country declined, the Street Dog Coalition and its volunteers pivoted to provide veterinary supplies and services inside Ukraine.
This month, the Street Dog Coalition is embarking on its most ambitious project yet and plans to provide veterinary care to animals inside Ukraine. With the help of generous donors, the Coalition purchased a 25’ long mobile unit (a towed trailer) outfitted with all necessary veterinary equipment and supplies. The mobile clinic will travel to Ukraine to treat and sterilize (as needed) 10,000 pets in the next year. The mobile unit is outfitted with a surgery table, a treatment table, cages, surgery lights, anesthesia machines, and more. The trailer will be shipped from Texas to the United Kingdom in mid to late December. Once there, it will be loaded with supplies and driven to smaller Ukrainian towns. Of course, this effort is not without risks. Security for the staff and the mobile clinic will constantly be evaluated to determine where the mobile clinic can safely be deployed.
The Street Dog Coalition is a member of the Ukraine Rescue, Relief & Rebuild (U3R) consortium, a group of non-profits, including WellBeing International, Sloboda Zvierat, Save the Dogs, and Tigers in America. Each partner brings areas of expertise to support the people and animals of Ukraine, whether the assistance targets pets leaving the country or those remaining inside Ukraine. Donations made to WellBeing International’s U3R campaign will not only help the Street Dog Coalition meet its need to cover the operational costs of the mobile clinic, including fuel, medical supplies, and insurance but also support the other consortium partners.