Print this story.
[San Juan Silver Stage |March 2021 | By Kelly Goodin, Executive Director]
Pets have become an integral part of our families and are considered important family members for most of the 68% of American pet owning households. Unfortunately, the cost of veterinary care is out of reach for millions of families with pets, threatening the wellbeing of pets and their families. Second Chance Humane Society’s Community Medical Program eliminates these disparities and creates a pathway to additional pet services as well.
When families encounter barriers to veterinary care, it sometimes results in their pets experiencing extended illness and recovery, or premature death, causing emotional distress for the family. In many instances, some of these pets are relinquished to the animal welfare system, thus breaking up the family and adding to the burden of the animal welfare system. Instead, Second Chance Humane Society wants to ensure these families have access to needed services.
The traditional paradigm holds that families who cannot afford veterinary care should not have pets. Denying families companionship with pets is an untenable solution. Pets enrich the lives of humans, while also benefiting from the relationship. [Related article]
There is ample evidence that the human-animal bond supports mental, emotional, social, and physical health and well-being, including increases in self-esteem and self-worth. Pets bring joy, support, protection, and comfort to their families, all of which are important more than ever before in our lives. Denying a person or family the companionship of a pet is difficult to defend.
Some homeless individuals choose to remain unsheltered to keep their pets rather than enter a homeless shelter where pets are not allowed. People choose to go without food and medicine for themselves to make sure that their pet has what he/she needs. Pets motivate people to get out of bed each day, get outside, and provide them with unconditional love and a connection to the community. It makes sense to invest in supporting these connections to maintain a healthy social fabric in our communities.
Via Second Chance’s Low-Cost Medical Program, pets of low income families can receive a free medical exam and full menu of low-cost services such as vaccinations, dental care, spay/neuter, micro-chipping, etc. During the warmer months Second Chance also brings a mobile clinic directly to the underserved communities of Western Montrose County (the next mobile clinic is Friday April 2nd at the Nucla Fire Station from 11-3 PM, this is a walk-in clinic).
Second Chance kicked this program off last year and despite varying restrictions and other challenges still treated 386 pets in need, many who had never seen a veterinarian before. We anticipate that number growing this year.
Last year Second Chance saw many pets who were in need of additional medical treatment beyond what our wellness clinics were capable of providing so we have expanded our services. So for 2021 Second Chance has further increased accessibility and services offered beyond preventative care. Bloodwork, diagnostics, medical treatments and even end of life care are now being offered. Second Chance’s low-cost veterinary services are available weekly at the Second Chance Shelter’s medical clinic in Ridgway and require pre-registration.
Contact Second Chance Humane Society at 970-626-2273 or online (adoptmountainpets.org) to learn how you can receive services, adopt, volunteer, foster, or donate to our life-saving programs and services. Also please let us know of any additional needs you are facing in keeping your pets as part of your families; we are here to help.