It isn’t unusual for America’s homeless population to share their lives with special pets, often reporting that their pets provide them with a sense of comfort, belonging and responsibility. Many put the health and welfare of their pets before themselves.
This year, scheduled around Make a Difference Day, nine veterinary service teams in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania are going into their communities to provide pet health care services, shelter clean-ups, disaster planning, public education as well as creating pet food pantries for low-income, disabled or needy pet owners.
Beginning in 2016, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), the charitable arm of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and Banfield Foundation™ will join together to provide health care to the pets of those in greatest need through AVMF’s Our Oath in Action® initiative. Banfield Foundation™, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization founded by Banfield Pet Hospital, chose AVMF’s Our Oath in Action initiative as the beneficiary of an inaugural $200,000 commitment funded over three years.
“As veterinarians, we take an oath pledging to use our skills to benefit society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, and the promotion of public health,” said Dr. John Brooks, chair of the AVMF Board of Directors. “The AVMF is so honored that Banfield Foundation selected AVMF’s Our Oath in Action initiative for their inaugural commitment. Their generosity makes it possible for veterinary service teams to expand their reach and preserve the special bond people and their pets.”
A number of studies have shown that pets can enrich the lives of people and actually help them live healthier lives. For many, pets provide deep comfort, warmth and security through life changes. Pets can be a great source of comfort and stress relief, and have been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that interacting with dogs can reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol and increase the amount of the hormone oxytocin, which is released during life-affirming activities like hugging.
“I am honored to be part of a charitable organization that is deeply rooted in making a better world for pets, enriching the communities in which they live and play, and supporting the veterinarians who are passionate about their health and well-being,” said Lilisa Hall, the newly-appointed executive director of Banfield Foundation.