Did you know that over 67% of households in the U.S. tend to at least one pet?
With most people clearly having the capacity to love and care for an animal, it isn’t such a stretch for many to believe that pets and people belong together.
Despite the strong bond between owners and their pets, however, plenty of challenging circumstances can still cause pets to lose their homes.
Factors like poverty, ailments, shortage of pet-friendly housing, short-term emergencies, and the lack of affordable and accessible veterinary care can contribute to even the most devoted of owners to relinquish their beloved pets to an animal rescue group or a local animal shelter.
In fact, according to Dr. Sara Pizano, founder of Team Shelter U.S.A.,
“About 20% of animals entering shelters are relinquished by their owners.”
An even sadder part, Dr. Pizano adds, is that,
“In 2015, the ASPCA did a study that showed that 80% of them (pet owners) did not want to. They just needed temporary help.”
This was seconded by Aimee St. Arnaud, co-founder of two for-profit veterinary hospitals providing access to care and full-service veterinary care.
“One in four people have experienced a barrier in getting veterinary care in the last two years.”
The challenge, however, is that it is difficult for most privately practicing veterinarians to provide access to care while managing the cost of doing business and remaining sustainable as a business entity. This is exactly what Dr. Sara Pizano and Aimee St. Arnaud strive to resolve.
With more than 30 years of experience as a veterinarian in animal welfare, Dr. Pizano uses her expertise in shelter reform to become a positive force in helping shelters of all types and sizes, as well as similar organizations, to reach their full potential.
She has teamed up with Aimee from Open Door Veterinary Care/Community Pet Care Clinic for the implementation of the Open Door One Health national mentorship program.
Together with Aimee and her colleagues, Dr. Pizano mentors private practices and non-profit organizations on how they can make sure to provide pets with quality and affordable access to care and still be able to keep their business doors open and cover their costs.
As Aimee explains in the podcast,
“The number one reason why animals are surrendered is the cost of medical care.”
Through the mentorship program, Team Shelter U.S.A. and Open Door Veterinary Care/Community Pet Care Clinic give vets more tools and resources to allow pets to get the quality of care that they need while still allowing veterinarians to get paid and make a decent living wage. These tools may include prepayment plans, pre-savings plans, and vouchers.
“We’re not looking to teach them how to practice veterinary medicine. They already know how to do that…A lot of it really is around the financial conversation. That is really the number one barrier to veterinary care in the country.”
Undeniably, the for-profit model is a promising tool for effectively removing barriers while simultaneously increasing access to veterinary care. In the long run, this may help keep pets with their families together.
Interested in learning more about the Open Door For-Profit Model?
Have questions for Team Shelter U.S.A.?
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