Why SCAR focuses on community outreach
Keith and his dog Peggles are best mates that were helped via the HOPP program
In my years working in animal welfare I have heard many times comments such as ‘If you can’t afford vet bills you shouldn’t own an animal’ and you know what, I may have even regrettably muttered such a comment myself in my early days. But my experience working amongst the less affluent members of our local community has taught me many things about the human-animal relationship, how important these bonds are in our society and how they encourage a level of intimacy, nurturance, and connection with those that need it most.
For pet owners who do not have the income to cover a vet bill or ongoing pet care, the idea is horrifying that their best mate could be lost due to a lack of access to services or the money to pay for them. These barriers are an unfortunate reality for many families in our community and we have daily conversations with local residents looking for somewhere to surrender their animals, not because they are unwanted or unloved, but because they are unwell or cannot be cared for appropriately. This is particularly heart breaking when many of these people want to keep their pets, and derive a substantial physical and psychological benefit from them, but simply can’t afford or don’t know how to care for them.
At SCAR we are true advocates for both human and animal welfare and we wanted to do more to help those that need it most, so with the help of a grant from the Hume City Council we started the Hume Outreach Pet Program (HOPP), a program that has the ability to transform our community (transformations that we have already witnessed with our own eyes and hearts).
HOPP has been working on reducing these barriers and assisting local pet owners to keep their pets physically well cared for and in their homes by providing financial assistance, education and resources. We have a non-judgmental approach when it comes to dealing with participants and a big emphasis is made on showing respect, creating consistent local networks of support and a local presence with affordable, readily available resources and the setting of realistic goals.
It’s a ground-breaking proactive approach to assist pet owners in need and I for one are over the moon to be a part of this life changing program.
Dezi the dog with this family after Dezi was desexed via the HOPP program