The Humane Society of the United States’ Pets for Life program provides free veterinary care and support services in communities with limited or no access to pet wellness resources, and is dedicated to bridging the gap between animal service providers and millions of people and pets living in poverty. The program awards grants around the country to train and mentor local groups to set up the program where it is most needed. Nutmeg Spay and Neuter Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides low-cost services for cats and dogs in Connecticut, has been awarded the grant to bring a Pets for Life program to Bridgeport starting next week, marking the 35th location for this groundbreaking, transformational model.

Through strategic physical door-to-door outreach, establishing a consistent on-going community presence and support, and providing a comprehensive follow-up process for every pet met, Pets for Life provides support to keep pets healthy and in the loving homes they already have. To date, the program has connected tens of thousands of families in two core cities (Los Angeles and Philadelphia), and 34 mentorship markets, to essential veterinary services that likely would not have reached them otherwise. Experts are currently working closely with Nutmeg Spay and Neuter Clinic to train, mentor and help implement a full time program in Bridgeport.

According to Amanda Arrington, director of the Pets for Life program for the HSUS, “The future of companion animal welfare must include a long-term community connection to keep pets with their families, no matter their financial situation. The path to this future is happening every day around the country through our Pets for Life model. And, we are thrilled that we can provide support for people and their pets in Bridgeport. Everyone who wants to provide a loving home deserves access to the resources that make pet keeping possible. We are proud to be working with Nutmeg Spay and Neuter and are committed to supporting their community outreach and pet owner support programming.”

The program’s philosophy promotes the understanding that a lack of financial means does not equate to a lack of love felt for and provided to a pet. Everyone’s lives can be enhanced by a pet, and those who choose to should have the opportunity to experience the unconditional love and meaningful relationship a pet brings. Since the program launched in 2011, Pets for Life has served over 151,000 pets, performed over 95,000 spay/neuter surgeries, and provided over 386,000 medications, supplies and services.

Pets for Life operates in two core cities that are staffed by The HSUS which serve as integral training markets where best practices are refined and in dozens of mentorship markets—like Bridgeport—where local organizations—like Nutmeg Spay and Neuter—have received grants, thorough training and ongoing guidance to implement and maintain the program in their communities. Organizations carrying out the work include brick-and-mortar shelters, rescue groups, municipal agencies and spay/neuter clinics.

HSUS Connecticut State Director Annie Hornish is thrilled with the partnership and said, “This partnership in Bridgeport will help this underserved area of our state.”

“We are grateful for support from Pets for Life and proud to be a comprehensive service to our community. Nutmeg recognizes the barriers to services that exist for many pet owners in Bridgeport and we are determined to remove as many as possible and lead the conversation in Connecticut on pet owner support work,” said Clara McCabe, executive director of Nutmeg Spay Neuter Clinic.

The program was recently the subject of a University of Denver research study, “Race and ethnicity are not primary determinants in utilizing veterinary services in underserved communities in the United States” published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (September 29, 2017). In addition, the work was featured in the Development Law & Policy journal (Fall 2017), published by American University College of Law—“Serving Pets in Poverty: A New Frontier for the Animal Welfare Movement.” (PDF).

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