Veterinarian Travels Through California To Treat Homeless People's Pets For Free
Doctor Kwane Stewart is a veterinarian who wanders the Californian coast and treats the animals of the homeless free of charge.
It started in 2011. Dr Kwane spent an afternoon treating the pets of the homeless people in Modesto, California. Through the experience he learned that these animals were more than just companions to their owners – they were their source of love, hope, and security.
He examined more than a dozen animals that day, and was hit with the realization that there was a need for this type of medical care in his community. This led him to make a decision that would change his life – to dedicate his skills in doing volunteer work to care for the pets of the homeless.
"About 25% of our homeless population own a pet, and I knew that if I set up a table at a soup kitchen I could help a small group of animals," he said. "So that's what I did. I called over anyone who was holding their pet and told them I'd take a look and vaccinate or treat their pet if I could."
"That first experience was one of the most rewarding moments for me," he continued.
"When you give back, there is something you get in return that feels much larger. I knew I wanted to keep doing it."
Sometimes the animals he examines would need surgery, and since paying for vaccines and medications is not cheap, Kwane launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to raise money for his mission.
"I don't ever want to have to turn anybody away," he said. "The look on people's faces when they get their pets back, especially after a surgery or a life-saving procedure — those are moments I'll remember forever."
So far, he has helped more than 400 homeless pets, and hopes that his work will spread empathy and awareness around homelessness.
He says, "Anyone has the power to help. You can volunteer at a rescue shelter. You can donate money or time. As that generosity spreads, it helps fuel the positive energy in the world."
Dr. Kwane was named the GoFundMe Hero for the month of February.
Dr Kwane hopes that his mission will encourage other veterinarians to volunteer their time and expertise to help those in need. We can all do our part to help these animals. Pass this along to your friends and family.