You may be familiar with the Meals on Wheels program, which provides meals to homebound individuals through LifeCare Alliance. You may not know that many of these individuals have animals that they love dearly and are their constant companions. Dr. Larry Hill and Dr. Linda Lord, veterinarians and professors at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine realized that this population of animals needed care, and typically their homebound owners have no means to get their pets to a veterinarian.
In October of 2009 they began a partnership with LifeCare Alliance to provide wellness care for pets belonging to homebound residents in Franklin County. LifeCare Alliance works to identify clients who have pets and are in need of care. Every Friday, Dr. Hill and Dr. Lord take a few veterinary students out to visit with these clients. Many of these animals only receive any veterinary care because of this Veterinary Outreach Program.
The program educates pet owners in Central Ohio on the basic essential elements of pet health and well-being. The program is also becoming an on-going rotation for veterinary students as a way to raise their awareness and create a sense of civic responsibility. As an added feature, they hope to document a better understanding of the relationship between pets and their owners, including the impact on the owners’ well-being, pet health, and the human-animal bond.
Since its inception in 2009, more than 100 individuals and their animals have been helped by the program. Drs. Hill and Lord believe the program is just in its infancy. Currently it is being funded by the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust for just two years. With overwhelming evidence of the positive impact of the program, planning for the future has already begun. Future growth plans include:
- Acquire a van that would allow them to stock their supplies and do minor procedures.
- Hire additional faculty so they can be on the road more than one day a week.
- Continue to provide wellness care to animals by offering vaccinations and medications at no cost to the owner.
- Provide advanced medical care for animals with conditions that require one of our specialists.
Investments in this program make a real difference. This program will improve the lives of thousands of animals and pet owners and will also help veterinary students realize the importance of giving back to their communities.
If you are interested in donating to the Veterinary Outreach Program, please contact the College of Veterinary Medicine Development Office at 614-688-8433. You can also click on this link (https://www.giveto.osu.edu/cvm) where you will find a listing of a variety of funds within the College of Veterinary Medicine.
*The American Veterinary Medical Association recognizes more than 40 specialties and The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center has board-certified specialists in 20 or more of these specialties. In addition, the Canine Rehabilitation Institute offers two certification programs – one for veterinarians (Canine Rehabilitation Therapists Certification; CCRT) and one for veterinary technicians (Canine Rehabilitation Assistant Certification; CCRA). The Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center has one veterinarian (also board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons) with CCRT certification and two registered veterinary technicians with CCRA certification.
A more detailed story about this program is available: http://vet.osu.edu/cvm/veterinary-college-partners-lifecare-alliance