My name is Jade Statt and I qualified as a vet from Glasgow Vet School in 2002. I have worked in small animal practice since graduating but have always wanted to volunteer as a vet in the UK. The concept of StreetVet for me was born from meeting a homeless man and his dog on a night out in London in 2016 and talking to him about his unconditional love for his dog and his fears of losing her. Having recently lost my own dog Oakley, his worries resonated with me and I felt frustrated that I couldn't use my veterinary skills to help them but overwhelmingly I kept thinking "how would I feel if this was Oakley". It was no coincidence that StreetVet began for me in October 2016 and I lost Oakley in September the same year. StreetVet helped me keep focused through my grief but more vividly for me was I identified with the unyielding bond between owner and their dog. The human animal bond is extraordinary and it's a privilege to experience. Another catalyst that helped me to start on the challenging journey of setting up StreetVet was meeting Josh Coombes ( #DoSomethingForNothing). He is an inspirational person and now a firm friend and a constant supporter of StreetVet.
With a backpack of medications, a stethoscope and a nurse, I started " Streetvetting" in October 2016. What started as a pilot scheme was before long featured on ITV news, BBC trending, Vet press and multiple pet magazines. It was clear there was a real need for this service. My long term aim was to get other vets involved and create a network of StreetVets UK wide - I then met like minded vet Sam Joseph and we officially founded StreetVet together earlier this year. Creating a rapport with the homeless and gaining their trust does not happen overnight but , with your help and the backing of the profession and our aim to help the homeless and their best friends , I believe this project will be a success.
Like many other vets, when I see a homeless person and their dog on the street I feel like I want to do something to try and help them. So, one evening in 2015, when I was still a student at Bristol vets school, I decided to go out with my stethoscope and check over any homeless people’s dogs that I came across. What stuck with me after meeting a few people that night was how happy and relieved they were when I told them that their dogs had a healthy sounding heart.
After graduating and moving back to London I decided to try and create a more sustainable and structured way to provide a veterinary service to these dogs. Together with Charlie and another colleague we visited many homeless people in North London with worming tablets and a bag of veterinary supplies. Soon after going out a few times in London, I met Jade in April 2017. Jade had been doing the same thing in Westminster, coincidently operating under the same name. That was when StreetVet was born! Since then we have been working together, assisted along the way by our amazing team of volunteers, to try to marry the passion and willingness of veterinary practitioners with the need for veterinary care for homeless people’s dogs.
With teamwork and collaboration, I think that it is entirely feasible to check over and treat every homeless person’s dog in the country and, in doing so, make a small difference to the lives of some of the country’s most vulnerable people.