Veterinary volunteers leave pets wagging in Denver neighborhood


Nearly 100 dogs and cats living with families in need in northeastern Denver recently received vaccinations and physical exams during a veterinary outreach event that signified services to come for the community.

A team of volunteers – including six students in the CSU Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program – provided free veterinary care to pets in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, which surrounds the Denver Coliseum and grounds of the National Western Stock Show.

Volunteers enjoyed puppy time while caring for pets.

CSU and PetAid Colorado organized the Pet Wellness Clinic to provide the type of preventive veterinary care that could be a regular offering at the renovated National Western Center in coming years. The university’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences hopes to partner with PetAid Colorado at the redeveloped center to run a veterinary hospital offering discounted preventive services, such as vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries, for the pets of local residents in need of financial and other assistance.

Improved pet care for families in need

The partnership would aim to provide improved pet care for a community with few veterinary resources, while also giving CSU veterinary students more opportunities for hands-on service learning.

“Our goal with the Pet Wellness Clinic was to begin our veterinary outreach in a neighborhood that may be served by a permanent veterinary hospital run by CSU and PetAid Colorado at the National Western Center,” said Dr. Danielle Straatmann, a veterinarian and director of international student experiences for the university’s DVM Program.

A girl from the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood carries in her pooch for wellness care.

“The community was very appreciative for the service, and every family member was excited to bring in beloved pets and to learn about ensuring their health,” Straatmann said.

The Pet Wellness Clinic was Dec. 5 at Focus Points, a family resource center, and was possible with vaccines donated by Boehringer Ingelheim and supplies donated by MWI Veterinary Supply.

Fifteen volunteers staffed the Pet Wellness Clinic. The group included CSU veterinary students, area veterinarians, Spanish-language translators, and employees from CSU and PetAid Colorado; students worked alongside local practicing veterinarians to learn while providing supervised care.

“It was a fantastic event,” said Jocelyn Hittle, director of Denver program development for CSU. “I loved being there and seeing the positive impact.”

About PetAid Colorado

The veterinary nonprofit, with offices on Yuma Street in Denver, provides a safety net for Colorado animals through four donor-supported programs that address an array of animal health and welfare issues, primarily for the pets of people who face financial and other barriers. Its four main programs are: the PetAid Animal Hospital, Care Grants, Community Outreach and Disaster Services.