Volunteer vets treat homeless pets: 'They've been real helpful for us'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Volunteer veterinarians saw the animal companions of Eugene's homeless Sunday as Pro-Bone-O hosted a free pet clinic.

The non-profit gives out free animal medical checkups while also donating food and leashes to homeless pet owners like Jodie Blackmarr.

"I'm truly blessed because my animals are my children. Without that I wouldn't have them," Blackmarr said, hugging her canine companion Bella.

Board president Jeannie Peterson says the Pro-Bone-O organization is assisted by volunteers, like a group of veterinary medicine students from Oregon State University that donated their time and knowledge.

The non-profit provides over 20 clinics a year, often from the Eugene Service Station off of Highway 99. With close to 3,000 homeless people in Eugene, Peterson says pet clinics are essential.

"The animal becomes a protector, it becomes family, it becomes company. Sometimes it's a lifeline to sanity... sobriety maybe," said Peterson.

Along with the pet products, physical exams and vaccinations, Peterson said they hand out vouchers for the homeless to spay and neuter their pets.

Kevin Jones said the opportunity was a lifesaver for his dog "Tinkerbell".

"It's a great thing for all of us people that can't quite afford to go to a vet," said Jones. "They've been real helpful for us."