The College of Veterinary Medicine is providing free mobile veterinary services to elderly pet owners, thanks to a grant from the Claremont Community Foundation.

CVM’s Veterinary Ambulatory Community Service (VACS) vehicle made its first stop at the Joslyn Senior Center in Claremont on Sept. 28, 2010. It had a busy first day, providing physicals, vaccinations and other care to 22 pets.

"It’s a wonderful service for seniors," said Claremont resident Joanne MacAlpine, who brought in her dog, Brownie, to be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated. "This is nice. It’s professional, that’s what I like about it."

If the clinic had not been available, she would have tried to fit the expense into her budget, MacAlpine said.

"Living on a limited income as seniors do, it’s sometimes hard," she said.

There has been high interest in WesternU’s veterinary care, said Shannon Glaudi, senior recreation leader at Joslyn Senior Center.

"We already have appointments for December, and the list is still growing," she said.

The program for Claremont seniors stems from a $10,000 donation by Dr. Cynthia Gordon to the Claremont Community Foundation, with the goal of providing care for companion animals for people who might not otherwise be able to afford that care, said foundation Executive Director Nickia Cleaves.

The program is expected to continue for three years, benefiting Claremont and the surrounding areas.

"Having an animal as part of your family can be an important reason for staying active and involved," Cleaves said. "It’s a good thing. It’s beneficial for all of us."

The Claremont Community Foundation provides stewardship of Donor Advised Funds for people seeking to ensure their philanthropic intent is fulfilled.

"This is the first time a fund was specifically designated for animal care," Cleaves said. "There’s a lot of interest in it. I would not be surprised if some of our residents wanted to continue to build an animal care fund."