A conversation with a local homeless care centre in January 2018 showed that there was a need for free of charge veterinary care in this area of England. As an established group, StreetVet London offered practical and financial support to help us get up and running and, in April 2018, StreetVet Plymouth was registered as an official practice with the RCVS. The group has been strongly supported by the local veterinary community and we currently have about 40 volunteer vets and vet nurses who are ready to take their part in offering the service we are providing. Two Vet Hospitals, Westmoor and Woodlands, have offered us storage and out of hours cover which is an essential part of getting this practice up and running.
The homeless community in this area is very transient, with numbers increasing significantly with the warmer weather, and so we are ready to meet all those who are local or who are passing through who may need our help. We are currently working on building relationships with homeless charities and two soup runs in the city and plan to expand our cover as our experience and team grows.
Meet the team
- Mandy AthertonMandy Atherton
I did once do two weeks work experience at a Vet Practice, but my experience ended there! However, as a SmartPA partner, my forté is the administrative support that I am delighted to provide to StreetVet Plymouth.
I am lucky to spend 24 hours a day with my own dogs and am very much aware of the incredible bond between a person and their dog, the power of that relationship and the strength, comfort, hope and support a dog’s unconditional love provides - to any of us, but most especially to the most vulnerable in our society. Meanwhile, many of the homeless will go without food and shelter themselves to feed and stay with their dog.
I am full of admiration for all the vets and nurses who are giving their time to provide support to the street dogs and their owners and it’s a real privilege to be able to contribute in whatever small way I can.
- Genevieve TomlinsonGenevieve Tomlinson
My name is Genevieve, I qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in 2017 after working in general practice for 3 years. I now work as an orthopaedic referral nurse and have gone back into training to become a Veterinary
I am so excited to be a part of StreetVet and the fantastic work that they do; it gives me faith in humanity to see the owners facing the toughest of times, dedicating so much time, care and love into their companions, above their own needs. When I am not nursing, I have my hands full with my young Labrador,
Sedgeley. If I was given the choice of shelter or my dog, I know what I would choose too and so I have so much respect for those who are sleeping rough to stay with their best friends!
I am looking forward to being a part of StreetVet Plymouth and meeting all the owners and their pets!
- Ruth PayneRuth Payne
I’m Ruth and I’m a Vet. I graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London, in 2010. Since then I’ve worked in small animal practice in Devon and spent some time volunteering for a charity abroad. When I heard Street Vet was coming to Plymouth, I had to get involved! Many homeless owners put their pets needs before their own, even choosing to go without food or housing if they are unable to take their pet; their bond is incredibly strong. I feel very privileged to be able to work with Street Vet, helping these owners provide veterinary care for their furry friends.
- Kate SalmonKate Salmon
My name is Kate Salmon. I qualified in the year 2000 and have worked in mixed and small animal general practice ever since. I have a special interest in ophthalmology and currently work part time for Westmoor Vets where “eyes” fill the majority of my time. I am currently studying for a further qualification in ophthalmology. I live in Plymouth with my young family who keep me very busy! I am very excited to be part of StreetVet and feel a real calling to get out and help some of the most vulnerable owners and their pets. I expect the work to be challenging but fulfilling and am looking forward to getting started.
- Hannah NevinHannah Nevin
Hi, I'm Hannah, a Northern Irish vet working with small animals in beautiful Devon. I graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, London, in 2014 and spent my first 8 months working with animal rescue charities in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Fiji. It was a privilege to use my experience to help improve the lives of vulnerable animals. Since returning to the UK I have been living and working in Tavistock. I had heard of the great work done by Street Vets in other parts of the country so jumped at the chance to get involved in Plymouth.
My own rescue dog Tilly keeps me busy in my spare time!
- Kathryn DixonKathryn Dixon
I have been working as a small animal veterinary nurse in Plymouth for the past 22 years. I have been qualified for 18 years.
Since living in Plymouth, I have been involved with charities that have worked alongside the homeless, but have always known that there could be more done for those with pets.
On hearing about StreetVet, I felt excited about what this could mean for the homeless with dogs in Plymouth and knew that this was something that I should be a part of. It is exciting to be a part of something that I believe will be a real benefit to the homeless community and their pets.
- Jo GodfreyJo Godfrey
My name is Jo Godfrey and I am an RVN based at Westmoor Veterinary Hospital in Tavistock. I have been qualified for 14 years and have a certificate in Nutrition, which is one of my passions in Veterinary care.
Following a trip to Thailand in 2017 and seeing the difference a free vet clinic made to the pet owners there, I was struck by a chance conversation with a homeless man about the struggles of pet ownership on the street. His Jack Russell Terrier had been sick and he had been relying on the kindness of strangers for treatment. Having recently lost my old, very much loved dog Suggs, I was left with a total feeling of helplessness for this man and his dog. I contacted StreetVet London for advice on how I could set up something locally and they immediately offered me their backing to become StreetVet Plymouth. I have been really touched by the support that there is for this venture among the veterinary community and am hugely proud to be a part of it.
When not Veterinary Nursing or StreetVetting, I live on the edge of Dartmoor with my husband, my daughter, our four cats and a Sprollie called BeanDog. I also enjoy photography and am a part of the Street Pastor team that cover Tavistock.
- Sarah HayesSarah Hayes
Since graduating as a veterinary surgeon in 2003 I have had the privilege of working in many excellent veterinary practices both at home and overseas, including spells working for charitable organisations in the UK and Africa.
After spending several years living in rural Somerset, I recently returned to London and was immediately struck by the number of people and their dogs that I saw sleeping rough. The other thing that struck me was how well cared for these dogs were and what a strong bond existed between them and their owners. One evening I met a man whose dog was very lame and in a lot of pain. With no medication or equipment at my disposal I felt totally helpless. Surely as I vet I should be able to do more? It was at this point that I found StreetVet. Now when I meet someone whose animal needs help or a worried owner who simply wants a health check to reassure them that all is well with their beloved companion, I am proud to be part of a team that can provide that.
As I currently live in Devon but spend part of the week in London, I have the pleasure of being involved with both the London and Plymouth StreetVet teams.