This month My Dog is My Home had the opportunity to attend and participate in the Fifth International Veterinary Social Work Summit at the University of Knoxville Tennessee. The conference had the theme of “Animals and Poverty” and brought veterinarians, social workers, and advocates from across the world for a three days gathering to address issues of homelessness and non-human animals in poverty as well as access to care and barriers to support.
Our Executive Director, Emma Newton spoke at the conference along with Janet Hoy-Gerlach, Ph.D. from the University of Toledo and William Giles, DVM of WisCARES at the University of Wisconsin in a presentation entitled: “Emerging Models of Animal Accommodations in Homeless Services”. Emma spoke to the groundbreaking work being done in Los Angeles to Co-Shelter humans and animals together in the same facility and how programs can be expanded to successfully include pets in a co-sheltering environment.
Dr. Giles spoke to WisCARES a very successful partnership at the University of the Wisconsin Madison that provides emergency foster and boarding care for pets of the homeless as well as much needed public health and veterinary medicine. Dr. Giles spoke in depth to the pipeline that access to veterinary care for individuals experiencing homelessness can create to get homeless individuals much needed human health care.
Dr. Hoy-Gerlach spoke to her emergency/foster boarding program in Toledo, Ohio that provides a safe temporary space for the pets of those experiencing homelessness as they access to shelter. Dr. Hoy-Gerlach spoke to the importance of building trust with the clients and to focus on reunification between individual and animal.
Veterinary Social Work is a growing field that has the capacity to impact the homeless and animal welfare sphere when it comes to decreasing barriers to health care and shelter and increasing access to life-saving services for all individuals whether two or four-legged.
My Dog Is My Home was proud to present alongside Dr. Giles and Dr. Hoy-Gerlach and contribute to this important conversation at the Fifth International Veterinary Social Work Summit.
For more information about the summit visit UTK’s website at http://vetsocialwork.utk.edu/5th_ivsws/