Bradshaw Animal Shelter
will pioneer a mobile pet clinic this fall to address the healthcare needs of pets belonging to unhoused individuals in Sacramento County. This initiative, named PAWS (Pet Aid and Wellness Services), will be the first of its kind in the region. Offering vital veterinary care on the go, the clinic's foremost focus will be on spaying and neutering as many pets as possible. Additionally, PAWS will be equipped to provide vaccinations as well as medical care and diagnostic services for ill and injured pets.
“By bringing essential veterinary services directly to unhoused pet owners and making spaying and neutering surgeries accessible, we hope to make a positive impact on both the pets and the individuals who love them," said Annette Bedsworth, Director of Bradshaw Animal Shelter.
The mobile clinic will operate at least three days a week, traveling to different locations throughout Sacramento County, strategically identifying and adapting its schedule to serve areas where these services are most urgently required.
In addition to the clinic removing the barrier of transportation, PAWS will also remove the financial barrier of essential veterinary care. All services will be sponsored by Sacramento County with funds provided by the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Dr. Cynthia Metcalf, who joined Sacramento County as a veterinarian last month, will be dedicated to the mobile pet clinic full-time. This work resonates deeply with Dr. Metcalf, who understands firsthand the importance of the bond between pets and their human companions, especially during challenging times. She shared that her tremendous passion for PAWS stems from her father, a Vietnam veteran who became unhoused and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. In addition to her love for animals, Dr. Metcalf is compassionate about the complex reasons that can lead to people experiencing homelessness.
"This is very personal for me," Dr. Metcalf said. “I know what it's like to have a family member who has been unhoused, and I know how important our family dog was to him and how their bond helped him, so this program really resonates with me."
PAWS represents a significant milestone in ensuring that the region's most vulnerable pets are able to receive medical care, and will help reduce unwanted litters, pet overpopulation, and preventable diseases in the County.
The operating schedule of PAWS will be posted on Bradshaw Animal Shelter's website once it launches. For more shelter updates, please follow the shelter on Facebook and Instagram.