So often when someone encounters some type of loss, pets are tossed to the side, but for those who find themselves without anything at all pets provide a source of love and comfort.
And it’s those people the man known as “The Street Vet” wants to help.
Growing up, Kwane Stewart rescued stray animals and it was then that he realized he wanted to work with animals for the rest of his life. When the time came he moved away from his home in New Mexico and settled in California where he practiced veterinary medicine.
In 2007, during the Great Recession, he noticed a major problem – people were dumping their pets at shelters.
“That was the moment for me career-wise that was enlightening. Up until then, I’d been practicing high-end medicine for clients who could pay for everything,” he told CNN. “But suddenly I was thrown into this economic war and people couldn’t even afford to help their pets.”
It wasn’t until 2011 that he decided to set up a table outside of a soup kitchen “on a whim.” Stewart, his son, and girlfriend offered anyone free checkups for pets.
“Before I knew it, I had a whole line,” he said.
He set up a table one more time before he decided to take his makeshift practice to the streets.
Since becoming The Street Vet, Stewart has treated a variety of illnesses, the most common being allergies, ear infections, and flea infestations. For the more serious cases, animals are taken to a hospital.
Stewart pays for vaccinations, medicine, and food out of his own pocket, while he uses funds from a GoFundMe for more costly expenses like surgery.
Prior to helping homeless people and their pets, Stewart admits he had his own opinions, but they’ve changed since he’s spent time on the streets.
“You just make assumptions about their story without even knowing anything about them. You learn very quickly that you have no idea what put them there. It could be something like job loss which leads to bad credit, so they can’t get an apartment, and these moments snowball quickly.”
“These homeless people take care of their pets even better than we do,” he said. “When they own a pet, it engenders this generosity. They always make sure their pet is fed. Medically is where they need help.”
Thank you Kwane for everything that you do. Share this inspiring story and thank Kwane for helping those in need.