WHAT do you get for a loved one who has everything? What if that loved one is furred and on four legs?
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Dorset based veterinary charity Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) has launched the ultimate gift for animal lovers: Pair My Pet. The programme pairs loved and cared for pets with other animals across the world who aren’t as fortunate – animals who live on the streets or whose owners don’t have access to or can’t afford basic veterinary care.
For a small monthly donation, the charity matches pets with some of the most vulnerable patients in its care, animals like ‘Bear’ the dog from Thailand, or ‘Strong’ the horse from India.
Bear, a German Shepherd dog, was turfed out on Chiang Mai’s streets, Northern Thailand when his family relocated. With no experience in living as a stray or fending for himself, Bear quickly began to suffer. Hungry and exhausted, he wandered into the territories of other strays where he was attacked and sustained a deep cut to his neck. From then on, he lost all trust in people and animals and went into hiding. That is until his rescuer came along and brought him to WVS’s local clinic and shelter. With treatment for his wounds, a safe place to rest, and affection from the staff, Bear slowly returned to his old self and has found a loving home.
Strong started as a racehorse in India before being sold on and beginning work in the tourism industry for horse rides. When the pandemic hit, and the lockdown forced the tourism industry to collapse, Strong, and many other owned horses, were left to wander the streets as their owners no longer had the means to feed or house them. Road traffic accidents, ingesting plastic on the roadside, and forgoing basic husbandry needs – routine vaccinations, deworming and hoof care – resulted in many becoming injured or ill. A rescue mission was coordinated by government authorities and local animal welfare charities to remove the horses from the streets, tend to their injuries, and provide them with a stable home. Now, under the long-term care of WVS, Strong is enjoying a peaceful retirement.
As part of the Pair My Pet programme, the nominated pet will receive a welcome pack*, including a letter from their new friend, a certificate, pet-friendly recipes, and a postcard to write to that said friend. They’ll also receive updates throughout the year on their furry pal’s progress as well as how their support is helping to treat and care for animals just like them.
Fundraising and Communications Manager for WVS, Duncan Hook, believes the Pair My Pet programme will give animals lovers in the UK the opportunity to do more.
“We’re a nation of animal lovers, and our pets are very much part of our families. Now, on top of the chews, squeaky toys and balls, pets can be paired with a less fortunate animal around the world. It’s a fun way to support animal welfare projects, allowing the whole family (and your furry friend) to feel like you’re really making a difference.”
Readers can sign up to pair their pet, or the pet of a friend, by visiting: https://wvs.org.uk/support-us/pair-my-pet/.
*Please note, due to current restrictions WVS is sending out Pair My Pet welcome pack virtually, with physical packs to be sent once they can safely return to the office.