100,000 people are homeless on any given night in Australia, and around 8% is visible, that is, living on the street.  Pets In The Park is a national charity established in 2012 with the mission of improving the lives of homeless people by caring for their pets. Pets In The Park is a team of volunteer Vets and vet nurses who provide free veterinarian services and pet products to homeless people’s pets. James Dorahy was recently appointed the General Manager for Pets In The Park. James shares his journey from volunteering to his new role, the Pilot Outreach Program and a story about former client Chris and his dog, Princess.

Pets In The Park helps homeless people's pets

Pets In The Park helps homeless people’s pets. Photo supplied by Pets in The Park

‘I was aware of a number of the dogs living on the streets with their owners in the Cross (Kings Cross, Sydney) and did some research to see who was helping them and came across Pets In The Park’ said James.

‘I began to volunteer for Pets In The Park in 2013 as I wanted to give back to my local community in Darlinghurst. After volunteering for nearly two years I was engaged as the General Manager on a part-time basis to run the charity on behalf of the Board, which is made up of the founding Vets and Vet Nurses’ he said.

For many homeless people, owning a pet provides the unconditional love, companionship, emotional support and security that they are unable to find elsewhere. However, pet ownership comes at a significant cost. De-sexing, microchipping, vaccination, flea treatment and routine worming costs hundreds of dollars annually, which is beyond the means of pet owners struggling with homelessness.

Pets In The Park help homeless people’s pets in 3 ways

The charity treats over 1,000 companion animals a year.

  1. Monthly Vet clinics in Parramatta and Darlinghurst in Sydney and Frankston in Victoria,
  2. Pets requiring further veterinarian work are cared for by partner practices and
  3. Quarterly de-sexing and microchipping clinics.

Chris and his dog, Princess

Pets In The Park helps homeless people's pets

Pets In The Park helps homeless people’s pets. Photo supplied by Pets in The Park

Chris and his dog, Princess were living on the street in Sydney’s Kings Cross when Pets In The Park Founder, Dr Mark Westman stopped by to see if he could help. Chris brought Princess to the Darlinghurst clinic, and over time, the Pets In The Park team got to know the duo well. One day Chris told Pets In The Park that he didn’t need their services anymore. Chris had got back on his feet and found a job.  More about Chris & Princess and other clients in this video.

This year the charity has also begun a Pilot Outreach Program in NSW.

‘The Pilot Outreach program is for homeless people’s pets who are unable to attend our clinics due to their circumstances. We are very grateful to the City of Sydney for supporting this program through the Community Matching Grants Program’ James said.

Pets In The Park fundraising event

You are invited to a Picnic in the Park on Sunday 13 December at Centennial Park in Sydney. As part of Community and Philanthropy Partnership Week, Picnic in the Park will officially launch our pilot outreach program. Tickets go on sale soon for information contact [email protected]

Pets In The Park does not receive any Government funding and relies on our Corporate Sponsors and Community and Philanthropic donations. All donations are fully tax-deductible and go towards materials and medicines required to run our monthly clinics and quarterly de-sexing clinics.