Originally a charity set up by veterinary students for the homeless hounds of Glasgow in October 2014, Trusty Paws has become incredibly successful and has received a huge amount of public support.
This success has allowed the charity to run monthly clinics at the Simon Community Scotland drop-in centre, providing free health checks, vaccinations, microchipping, and flea and worming treatment for the pets of the homeless.
Essential supplies, such as food, coats and harnesses for the dogs, are also given out at these clinics for those in need.
The success of the Glasgow clinics has led to a branch of the charity opening in London, with the first clinic taking place in November 2015.
Run by fourth year RVC students, the clinics take place at the West London Day Centre in Marylebone, which also provides other services for the homeless.
The expansion of the charity is excellent news for the pets of the homeless, for whom we can continue to provide the veterinary care they deserve.
In at the deep end
— Trusty Paws Clinic (@Trusty_Paws) January 15, 2016
The Glasgow clinics are organised by the student committee, but health checks are conducted by other fourth year student volunteers. Last week I had the chance to get involved and, under the supervision of a volunteer vet, conducted my first full consultation that didn’t involve actors in a communication skills class.
My patient, Bruno, wasn’t particularly well. The owner said he was not himself (he certainly looked depressed), had lost a significant amount of weight since his last visit and had a slow heart rate, in addition to some evident skin issues.
The vet suspected Cushing’s disease, so we referred him to the local Pets’n’Vets branch that undertakes any secondary veterinary care Trusty Paws patients require. They have conducted blood tests, paid for by the charity, and have confirmed the diagnosis.
While a little daunting to be thrown straight into a full consultation, I thoroughly enjoyed helping out at the clinic and would certainly encourage other students (whether in Glasgow or London) to do so in the future.
The clients are extremely appreciative and evidently love their pets dearly, so it’s easy to see the benefits of such a charity to everyone involved.