Free vaccines available for low-income or homeless pet owners

Published: Mar. 29, 2016 at 5:14 PM PDT
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For most of us, pet ownership and the costs associated with it are probably taken for granted. But for those on a fixed income, or even homeless, covering those costs can be nearly impossible.

Washoe County Animal Services along with the Humane Society are trying to ease the burden for pet owners who sometimes have trouble paying for pet care.

Calvin Freeman comforts his dog Spike as they patiently wait in line for vaccinations and microchipping.

He, along with about 90 people on fixed income or who are homeless, want to do what's best for their animals, but it can't always be financially possible.

“When I called the veterinarian to get his next shots, they wanted $150. And I can't afford that I am on a fixed income,” says Calvin.

Calvin says Spike is a therapy dog and part of his family.

“He is my family. It is just me and him,” he says of the small Chihuahua mix dog.

That's how all of these folks waiting in line feel about their dogs and cats. That’s even if their finances can't always provide the best medical care possible.

The free clinic at the homeless shelter on Record Street in Reno helped vaccinate the family pets Tuesday, as well as microchip them, no questions asked. Pet owners just had to fill out forms and get in line.

“So for us to come out, assist them, make sure that their animal has a microchip, so if it does get away from them, we can get their pet back to them,” says Bobby Smith with Washoe County Animal Services on why a microchip is important to these pet owners who may only have a dog or cat to call family.

Like most youngsters Spike didn't enjoy the vaccine, but he's a healthier dog for it.

With a free bag of dog food, Spike can be around for Calvin--they'll tackle the world together.

“It’s okay, it’s okat,” Calvin says to Spike as they head home from the clinic.

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