By Addy Hatch, College of Nursing
Dogs, cats and their people cycled through the second Healthy People + Healthy Pets clinic at Washington State University Health Sciences last week, all getting free vaccinations, screenings and simple treatments from WSU nursing and veterinary medicine students.
After the health care came the fun stuff: dogs were outfitted with crimson-and-gray coats and harnesses, while cats were offered collars and carriers. Their owners got pet food, treats and other supplies.
“People are more concerned about their animals than themselves,” said Joyce Griffin‑Sobel, dean of the WSU College of Nursing, as she supervised a coat fitting for Jasmine, a terrier. The event “is my favorite day of the year besides Christmas,” Griffin‑Sobel said.
Healthy People + Healthy Pets is hosted by WSU’s colleges of Nursing and Veterinary Medicine to serve people who don’t have access to routine health care for themselves or their pets. It receives financial support from the MultiCare Community Partnership Fund, and the Denice Murphy Community Nursing Endowment at the WSU College of Nursing.
Lori Cole said she struggles to pay her bills and hasn’t been able to afford to take her dogs Misty May and Mr. Pepper for veterinary care. Both dogs got their routine vaccinations, plus three months of flea and tick treatments, at the WSU clinic.
Care is provided by nursing and veterinary medicine students, under the supervision of faculty. About 28 students took part in the Nov. 9 clinic, learning from each other in an interprofessional setting.
Gail Oneal, clinical associate professor in the College of Nursing, said she wanted to be part of Healthy People + Healthy Pets because of the regular outreach work she and her students do in the community.
“People’s animals are their best friends and sometimes their counselors,” she said. “Sometimes people can’t take care of their animals, but their animals take care of them.”
Raelynn Farnsworth, clinical assistant professor at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, said the clinic benefits all participants.
“It’s a good thing for the owners and a good thing for the pets, and it makes you feel good,” she said.
MultiCare chose Healthy People + Healthy Pets for support this year — the fund’s first year in the Inland Northwest — because it helps the homeless and increases access to health care, said Christopher Wherity, director of community outreach.
“We want to partner with people in the community who are doing great things,” he said. “This event certainly stood out among our 79 applications (for support).”
Dew Warnock brought Cloe, a rescue dog who’s been her companion for eight years. The two walked a long way to the clinic, Warnock said, as she offered Cloe water. Cloe got her booster shots, as did her owner, then Cloe donned her crimson-and-gray coat.
“Thank you for being here!” Warnock said as they left.
Read coverage of the event in The Spokesman-Review.