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Pets in the Park share the spirit of Easter with homeless people and pets

Posted in Our Community @ Mar 14th 2016 - By James Dorahy, General Manager, Pets in the Park
Jai Bella Darlinghurst Clinic By Clique Photography Sydney 003

Pets in the Park provides free veterinary care at monthly vet (health) clinics & quarterly desexing clinics for much-loved animal companions of people struggling with homelessness.

Once homeless, Jai has had a very difficult life struggling with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and general fear of being around loud noise and crowds. She leads a very isolated life – her “bubble of safety” she calls it – and Bella, her little canine companion, is her sanctuary.

When she decided to get Bella, hospital doctors and nurses were worried that she couldn’t look after herself, let alone possibly care for an animal. How was Jai to feed Bella appropriate food, give her regular flea, tick and worming treatments, and provide her bedding and other necessities in caring for a dog?

But others supported Jai’s decision and encouraged her to see getting Bella as an incentive to taking care of each other.

“Initially being homeless, Bella was and still is my sanctuary, my refuge, a place of safety, still and calm,” says Jai. “Pets in the Park play a crucial role in the life and wellbeing of Bella, and also me.”

Many other people like Jai are also in need of help to care for their beloved pets.

Who is Pets in the Park?

Pets in the Park is a group of volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses that provide free veterinary care at monthly vet (health) clinics and quarterly desexing clinics for much-loved animal companions of people struggling with homelessness.

“For many homeless people, having a pet provides the unconditional love, companionship, emotional support and security that they’re unable to find elsewhere,” says Dr Mark Westman, a Director of PITP. “The benefits of this bond between owner and pet are immense; including increased social, emotional and physical health.”

Pets in the Park began in 2009 with one vet, two fold-out tables and an esky full of vaccinations, set up in a small park in Parramatta and offering free vet checks for clients attending an outreach program run by Stepping Stones Community Ministry.

Today, it is a national charity running free monthly vet clinics in Sydney, Victoria and Brisbane, including a mobile clinic (outreach program) in Sydney.

Free Easter Sunday Lunch for PITP clients and Rough Edges Community

To share the spirit of Easter, Pets in the Park have decided to make their March clinic in Sydney a more social one, collaborating with St John's Anglican Church and Rough Edges in hosting a free Sausage Sizzle lunch on March 27 for clients and the Rough Edges Community. The event will be held at St John's Anglican Church in Darlinghurst, where the Darlinghurst clinic happens every month. 

“Easter is a time when most of us get together with our families and share a meal. As well as what we do for animals, Pets in the Park also wanted to do something for their owners, which inspired the Easter lunch,” says Dr Westman.

Jai, who is active in St John’s Anglican community, will also be attending the special event with her beloved canine friend.

“I know that I can bring Bella to a space where we will not be judged, but be treated with dignity and respect,” says Jai. “People here (Pets in the Park) understand how important our animals are in our lives. They recognize that even if we don’t have a home, our animals provide a relationship and unconditional love that we all deserve. They are more than companions; they protect us, give us a sense of belonging and a sense of worth.”

Pets in the Park relies on community donations and the financial support of sponsors and community grants. All donations received go towards medicines and materials required to run the monthly health clinics and quarterly desexing clinics. The charity is also supported by veterinary practices that donate surgery space and surgical procedures, as well as the many wonderful volunteers who generously donate their time to health and surgery clinics.

Pets in the Park are asking for supporters to donate $10 or more to cover the cost of the Easter lunch, which is expected to have 200 people in attendance. All donations are 100% tax deductible. To make a donation, please visit


About Pets in the Park

Pets in the Park is a group of volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses helping the homeless care for their companion animals by providing free veterinary care. PITP runs free monthly vet clinics and quarterly desexing clinics for much-loved animal companions of people struggling with homelessness.

PITP became a charity in 2012 and currently runs two clinics in New South Wales (Parramatta and Darlinghurst) and Victoria (Frankston and Western Melbourne), and one in Queensland (Brisbane). PITP also runs a Pilot Outreach Program (mobile clinic from a van), supported by the City of Sydney’s Community Matching Grant Program.

PITP’s Corporate Partners are Elanco, Virbac, BRC Lift Interiors and Fixtures and The Lyone Foundation. To be eligible to attend a PITP clinic and receive assistance from PITP, a referral letter from a social worker or welfare officer is essential.

To discover more about PITP and fundraising events, visit or follow PITP’s Facebook page or Twitter.


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