I’ve talked about access to care as a defining animal welfare issue of our time: Everyone caring for a companion animal deserves and should be able to obtain necessary resources for their animal’s health and wellbeing. And certainly, the absence of resources shouldn’t mean that people shouldn’t experience the profound joy and love the bond with a pet can bring.  

In the U.S., at least 20 million pets live in homes affected by poverty or in underserved areas where resources are limited or essentially nonexistent. We are working to increase equity in access to care through a variety of interconnected approaches: community outreach, policymaking, training for veterinary and animal welfare professionals, corporate partnerships and direct care programs that provide veterinary care, pet supplies, other animal care services and information at no cost to pet owners.

The positive impacts of these efforts reverberate through communities, helping to keep families together with their beloved animals as well as preventing pets from ending up in already overstretched shelters. Here is some of the progress we made in 2023:

Direct care

For more than two decades, through Rural Area Veterinary Services and Pets for Life, we’ve provided pioneering access to care programs. In our core communities in 2023, more than 14,800 pets received 64,000 services. Through our mentorship and supported partners, another 31,600 pets were served.