Access to Care Keeps Families Together

Josephine TempongkoNews, Uncategorized11 Comments

Wellness Clinic client Angelica with her pup, Trouble.

Wellness Clinic client Angelica with her pup, Trouble.

Did you know that millions of pets do not receive adequate veterinary care because the costs are simply beyond a family’s ability to pay for it? Lack of access to care is the most significant animal welfare crisis affecting owned pets, with more than 1 in 4 families struggling to access veterinary care and an estimated 25 million pets living in poverty in the US. Inflation has made it harder for most pet owners to pay veterinary bills, a Forbes Advisor Survey recently found, while lack of pet-friendly housing and a growing shortage of veterinarians add to the problem. When families are experiencing hardship, these issues are often the reason why they might make the difficult choice to surrender their pets to shelters.

HSSV’s mission is to save lives, keep families together, and create a better future for pets and their people – and as such, the organization is dedicated to preventing these difficult choices through one of three Strategic Priorities: Keeping Families Together.

HSSV's Wellness Waggin'

HSSV’s Wellness Waggin’

As part of Keeping Families Together, HSSV provides services such as Wellness Waggin,’ a fully-equipped mobile surgical unit that provides free spay/neuter and wellness clinics to the pets of people who face significant barriers that restrict their access to affordable veterinary care. HSSV also has a Pet Pantry program, which ensures that no pet goes hungry due to financial hardship or lack of access.

“These programs and projects are designed to make sure that pets can stay in their homes,” says Jaime Allen, Senior Director, Community Programs in Community Development. “You shouldn’t have to worry that if your pet gets sick, you won’t be able to provide them with the necessary veterinary care to keep them healthy.  Nobody should have to lose their pet to illness or be forced to give them up because they can’t access care.”

Dr. Sanders and Vet Tech Naadia check on a patient at a Wellness Clinic.

Dr. Sanders and Vet Tech Naadia check on a patient at a Wellness Clinic.

For years, HSSV has been providing veterinary care through clinics designed to help people in need of care for their pets. The clinics provide spay/neuter services, and also offer basic veterinary services including wellness exams, vaccines, microchips, flea treatment, de-wormer, and other treatments and medications. Provided in partnership with social service agencies providing services to older adults, as well as individuals experiencing financial, housing, and food insecurity, the goal is to meet people where they are to improve the well-being of pets in the community, and keeping animals where they belong – with the families who love them.

“The folks we’re working with love their pets. They just can’t get vaccines or basic care when they need them. When that happens, a pet is more likely to get sick, gets foxtails or ear infections, and they may not have any way to make sure their pet’s not in pain because they can’t go to a vet,” Allen says.

Wellness Clinic client Juanita with her pup, Bean.

Wellness Clinic client Juanita with her pup, Bean.

The Access to Veterinary Care program has grown significantly over the past few years, offering 100 more clinics than the previous year that provided care to over 2,000 animals. This includes 25 spay/neuter clinics that, in addition to surgeries, provided core vaccines, microchips, flea/tick preventative, and dewormer to almost 500 animals; and 80 wellness clinics serving over 1,800 animals at locations including housing sites, city parks, senior centers, and HSSV in FY23.

“Teddy is the reason I wake up in the morning,” said Caron, who lives in San Jose, of the sweet and confident cat she found abandoned by a neighbor. “I love the heck out of him and swear he understands every word I say.”

Caron brought Teddy into the clinic for a rabies shot and dropped off two female cats for spaying. She learned about the HSSV services from a friend. “It’s such a good thing,” she says. “I didn’t know where to take them and can’t afford it. It’s a life saver.”

A client picks up food for his pups at HSSV's Pet Pantry.

A client picks up food for his pups at HSSV’s Pet Pantry.

In addition to clinics, HSSV’s Pet Pantry makes it possible for more people facing financial insecurity to have and keep their loving animal companions in their lives by:

  • Offering on-site pickup 4x week, serving over 200 families & 400 pets each month.
  • Providing human service partners with 8,000 meals to distribute each month.
  • Delivering services to 36 homebound seniors and unhoused families. HSSV provided 46,000 pet meals monthly and more than 500,000 meals in FY 23.

“For me, giving up my pups has NEVER been an option,” writes one client. “A few times I have sacrificed eating my portion of dinner to make sure my family and pups have eaten dinner. Since finding out about [HSSV’s Pet Pantry Program], they have full tummies every day.”

Wellness Clinic client Phillip with his pup, Brownie.

Wellness Clinic client Phillip with his pup, Brownie.

Providing wellness services and delivering pet food at easy-to-access locations to the people who need them increases our community’s capacity to care for their pet family members,” Allen says. “Pets bring people a lot of joy and companionship and can help us deal with our stress better too.  Everyone should be able to have a pet in their lives, regardless of their ability to access direct services.”

Both programs are supported by Stevens Creek Toyota, who provided two vehicles to be used for wellness clinics and other community events. “We are proud to announce our partnership with the Humane Society of Silicon Valley,” says Ray Khandan, General Manager. “At Stevens Creek Toyota, we believe in driving compassion and support for our furry friends. Together with HSSV, we’re committed to creating a brighter future for both our customers and the animals we love.”

Community support is critical in enabling HSSV to deliver these services. HSSV accepts donations of pet food and also needs volunteer drivers to deliver food to clients. For more information, visit

11 Comments on “Access to Care Keeps Families Together”

  1. I need help with a viral cat that had kittens in my yard the babies are eight weeks old already and I need help getting them out of here and catching Mommy cat ! I am 67 and had Achilles tendon surgery and taking care of my mom who is 87 with dementia! Please help me

    1. Hi Annamarie – please give us a call at 408-262-2133 and we’ll see what we can do to help – thank you for caring about these kitties <3

  2. I agree that everyone should have a pet but only if they treat them with love and

  3. I adopted cat with a litter of five kittens that no one wanted kittens are 20 week. I was able to vaccinate/spayed mom but now I don’t know what to do because I can’t afford to vaccinate/neuter all five kittens

    1. Hi Martha – please give us a call at 408-262-2133 and we’ll see what we can do to help <3

  4. Desperately in need of a doctor to look at our little semi feral..we’d like to eventually bring him in..but he seems to possibly have a neurological or intestinal day he’s he looks a mess..he has zero Is one of those days. ..last night. Had energy. Today a limp rag .tried to put him on a soft place to rest after I washed the dried on stuff on his tail and legs that wasn’t there last night..jumping down..he just crashed to the ground..every day I don’t know how we’ll find him…! I need someone to look at him he hasn’t had any is tight..we want to bring him in to join our other cats he’s get much love..with the cold and rain coming. I don’t think he’ll survive..thanks for

    1. Hi Brian – please give us a call at 408-262-2133 and we’ll see what we can do to help.

  5. Hi my name is Maria and I am nearly 75 years old and have a cat that needs vaccines. I have an appointment with your company and need to know how much is it going to cost. My granddaughter found this kitten congested in his eyes and lungs I brought him back to health and had him fixed.

    1. HI Maria – thanks for reaching out. Please give us a call at 408-262-2133 and we’ll see what we can do to help!

  6. Hi my name is BonnieJean I’m looking for a lil help to neuted my male tabby bashtian and a female anastashia im unable to afford. Maybe also looking for help from the pet pantry if possible. Im disabled and still waiting with disability. I woul really appreciate it if u would be able to help me out. I really dnt want to get rid of them because they help me out with my menal health. Please get back with me thanku and god bless.

    1. Hi there BonnieJean – please give us a call at (408) 262-2133 extension 110 – I’m sure we can help you out 🙂

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