BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (November 28, 2018) – More than 10 dogs received free animal care at the McKnight Community Centre thanks to an initiative led by Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) student, Lindsey Schwartz.
The seventh-semester Rossie, with the help of students from the RUSVM Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventure (VIDA) club, transformed the outside area of the community centre into a giant walk-in clinic where dogs received free physical examinations, medicine, food, water and lots of love and snuggles.
“This initiative was birthed out of an idea to give back to the community," Schwartz said. "This is my last year on the island, and since I have been in school, I have noticed how many animals are constantly roaming around downtown Basseterre. I knew I had to do something to help.”
Before organizing the community-wide free treatment day, Schwartz began feeding as many dogs that she found in the community with high-quality dog food, along with offering them tick and heartworm medication. She soon gained the trust of dog owners in the area and was given permission to take their dogs to the Ross University Veterinary Clinic (RUVC) for regular checkups. When she was not delving into her studies, Schwartz transported the dogs to the clinic and provided them with medication every morning and evening.
The Iowa native soon realized she needed the help of others students to do more for the dogs in the area, and the initiative grew from there.
Along with caring for the dogs, Schwartz and the team used the event as an opportunity to educate dog owners on how to care for their pets using monthly preventatives.
“One common tip we shared with the dog owners was to keep their animals on monthly flea and tick, and heartworm preventatives," Schwartz said.
While it is Schwartz's last year on the island, her time giving back to the local community has influenced her to continue transforming lives of animals and pet owners through philanthropy.
“Doing these small acts and getting to know the people in the community has helped me remember why I decided to become a veterinarian in the first place," Schwartz said. "It was a wonderful opportunity for me to give back to this incredible place that I have called home for over 2 years. After completing my DVM degree, one of my goals is to continue educating and providing free veterinary care to local communities where it is needed most."
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