CVCOA and Mitzvah Fund Animal Companion Program
Barre, VT (January 24, 2023): Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA) recently partnered with The Mitzvah Fund to bring mobile veterinary care to older adults with funding from Meals on Wheels America in partnership with PetSmart charities.
The Mitzvah Fund is a nonprofit organization based in East Montpelier providing non-emergency and much-needed veterinary care to the companion animals of Vermont veterans, low-income older adults, disabled first responders and those who are living without housing. Through the acquisition of a mobile veterinary clinic in early 2022, the organization has expanded its services throughout the region.
The mobile clinic visits in collaboration with CVCOA will take place at nutrition meal sites throughout Central Vermont for a full day, serving approximately 7-8 pets at each site. Depending on the care and treatments needed, each pet also receives 2-3 follow-up appointments with the clinic. Veterinary care services can include Preventative Care (exams, vaccines, nail trimming, blood and lab tests, dental care, and more) and Sick Care (small surgeries, medication, x-rays, euthanasia).
Pets play an integral role in the social, emotional, and mental wellbeing of older adults. Many people will put off routine care for their animal companions because of lack of finances and transportation. CVCOA hopes to alleviate the stress that older adults feel when they are worried about the health and wellbeing of their pets by providing free veterinary care for animal companions of people age 60+ who otherwise have difficulty paying for preventative and sick care for their pet.
The first mobile clinic took place at Randolph Senior Center in Randolph, Vermont on November 30, where eight pets were seen and treated by Mitzvah Fund’s trained veterinary team of staff and volunteers. Andrea Stander, who volunteered with Mitzvah Fund at the Randolph clinic, said, “Animals do incredibly well when you take painful infected teeth away. Dental disease, just like in humans, is a contributing cause for heart and kidney disease. Dentistry in companion animals can be life altering. Their faces even change. They lose that “worry grimace” caused by the chronic headaches and mouth pain from infected teeth. The improvement in these animals’ quality of life is truly miraculous and why the Mitzvah Fund’s work is primarily canine and feline dentistry.”
CVCOA Nutrition Outreach Specialist Michelle Mahikoa was pleased to coordinate the event, communicating with registrants and providing counseling on 3Squares VT and other resources. She said, “It’s great knowing that pets who might not otherwise receive care were prioritized, and we cared for their human companions, too, through 3 Squares VT education and outreach.”
In 2023, CVCOA will be sponsoring The Mitzvah Fund mobile clinic to visit six sites throughout Central Vermont from March through August.
To learn more about CVCOA’s nutrition and wellness offerings please visit https://cvcoa.org/nutrition-and-wellness. Contact the CVCOA Helpline at 802-477-1364 if you have any questions or would like to find out if The Mitzvah Fund mobile clinic will be visiting a community near you in 2023. This opportunity is available to people age 60+ who are unable to pay for veterinary care for their pets. This program is limited to 1 pet per person in 2023.
CVCOA continues to see a tremendous need for this program in the community. If you are interested in partnering with CVCOA in this effort or would like to donate to support this program, please contact Luke Rackers, Director of Development and Communications, at 802-479-1953 or [email protected]
For more information about Mitzvah Fund, please visit https://www.themitzvahfundvt.org/.
Central Vermont Council on Aging (CVCOA) supports older Central Vermonters to age with dignity and choice in 54 towns. Visit the CVCOA website at www.cvcoa.org or call the CVCOA Helpline at 1-802-477-1364 for more information or assistance. CVCOA is located at 59 North Main Street, Suite 200 in Barre with regional offices located in Morrisville, Randolph, South Royalton and Rochester.