During my time volunteering on the streets, I've experienced some of the most genuine stories of love, compassion, struggle, and hope, and learned a lot along the way. For example, it is estimated that anywhere from 10%-25% of people experiencing homelessness have a pet. This work has been life-changing and truly inspiring, but has also come with many challenges. Some of the pets I come across need treatment, sometimes life-saving treatment, that can be very costly and it's hard to say no to a pet that’s truly in need. That is why I started this GoFundMe Campaign and more recently a non-profit organization called Project Street Vet .
Project Street Vet (EIN 85-1158446) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity that provides free veterinary care, treatment, and support to the pets of individuals experiencing homelessness and/or financial hardship. Project Street Vet is committed to protecting the human-animal bond that is so vital to the livelihood of not only these pets, but to the people who love them too. Leading with compassion, kindness, and no judgements, we will seek out and touch the pets and people that need it the most.
An example of this work is the story of Justin and his cat “Um,” who are an inseparable pair. Justin traveled across country from Arkansas after losing his job and landed in California. He had been living out of a tent and working towards getting a job when one day he heard meowing coming out of a nearby dumpster. When he looked inside, he discovered there was a tiny kitten who he rescued and named Um. We met Justin skateboarding in Venice Beach with Um enjoying the ride on his shoulders. Justin told our team, “By far he’s been the best thing I’ve ever had.”
Days after meeting them, we got a frantic call from Justin explaining that Um had been hit by a car, leaving all of us in tears. Normally on leash when outside, Um had gotten out of their tent and into the street. We raced to his location to transport Um to a hospital, where it was discovered that the impact of injury caused a hernia and a broken femur. The situation put Um’s life in danger, and he required an emergency surgery. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to get Um the surgery he needed, which was successful in treating his injuries and saving his life. We were able to reunite Um and Justin, who was in tears from the help they received. Justin had his best friend back and they would soon be skateboarding again.
All donations made through this GoFundMe or on our website will support Project Street Vet’s mission and help to provide care, resources, and services to pets and the people who love them, just like Justin and Um. Recently, I was also given an amazing opportunity to share my journey through a TV series called "The Street Vet,” and I hope the show will help to shine a light on these stories and encourage others to give back a little, too.
I will be giving updates on the pets and people we continue to meet, and I hope everyone can see how your kindness can make a difference. Below is a short video that chronicles my journey, and I encourage you to share this work with others. No judgement, just help. Together, we can create change!
For more updates, you can follow me on Instagram @drkwane and @thestreetvet and on Facebook as Project Street Vet and Dr. Kwane Stewart . Thank you so much, and please know how appreciative I am of your support.