Raymond Lataille showed up for the “Street Dawgs and Cats Care Fair” two hours early to make sure he could get flea medication for his Pomeranian, Sage.
The fair offered exams, vaccinations and other veterinary care for pets of homeless people.
Lataille, who lives in a tent, said getting care for his dog was a blessing with winter coming.
“He’s my everything,” said Lataille. “He’s the kid my ex-wives could never take from me.”
Veterinary students in OSU’s Shelter Medicine Club worked under the supervision of a veterinarian to offer the veterinary care in Avery Park on Saturday afternoon, and Occupy Corvallis and Advocates for Pets of the Homeless helped organize on the event.
Stephanie Hampton of Occupy Corvallis said this is the third time the groups have put on the biannual event, and that about 30 animals were expected.
Hampton said the event was created after she had conversations with homeless people about what they needed.
In addition to the veterinary care, local businesses donated pet food, leashes, harnesses, animal sweaters, toys, brushes and other pet supplies for the event. The volunteers also helped license dogs with the county and gave them identification microchips.
Hampton said homeless people are often very close to their pets because they are with them all the time.
“It seems they have a special bond with their pets, and they pride themselves on being good pet owners,” she said.
Zaya McSky, a third-year OSU veterinary student who is co-president of the Shelter Medicine Club, said she doesn’t think money should determine which animals get care.
McSky said the Shelter Medicine Club has about 60 members, and they volunteer at other events like this and pro bono clinics.
She said she feels really happy to give back to the community by helping animals, which in turn helps their humans.
“Everyone is incredibly grateful for the care we give,” she said.
Jon Getchell and his wife, Mya, brought two dogs and three cats to the event. He said he and his wife have been homeless off and on for two years, and they have brought their pets to every one of the events.
“They have been a big help over the last couple years,” he said.
Getchell said they care about their animals like they are their children.
“If it wasn’t for (the event organizers) we couldn’t keep our animals, and without our animals we’d go nuts,” he said.