DENVER (KDVR) — A Fort Collins-based veterinarian traveled to the Ukraine-Romania border last week to set up a veterinary clinic. The clinic is there to help fleeing refugees receive passports so that their pets can travel to other European countries safely.
“I personally wanted to help like everyone else,” said Dr. Jon Geller, volunteer veterinarian and national director of The Street Dog Coalition noted.
Geller was a graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He spent the last 20 years of his career as an emergency veterinarian.
He founded The Street Dog Coalition, a non-profit organization that helps homeless people get free veterinary care for their pets.
“What’s interesting is that the Ukrainian refugees crossing are also homeless,” Geller said.
The pop-up clinic is a short walk from the entrance to Romania. He showed FOX31 and Channel 2 that the whole area on the Romanian side of the border has turned into a small town for people on the run and everything is free.
“The most important thing we do is give them pet passports. So they can travel to other parts of the European Union,” Geller said.
Veterinary checks carried out by Geller and his team prevent refugees from having to abandon their pets. Traveling pets must have a rabies vaccine, microchip and pet passport to continue to another country. And in some cases, pets have injuries related to travel and/or military conflict that Geller’s team will help.
The organization wants to make sure no one is left behind.
“It’s not a war zone yet. On this Romanian side, we will be safe,” Geller said.
His team also includes veterinary students from several Eastern European countries. He formed the team and they would continue to run the popup vet tent even after Geller left for the United States.
“It’s like a new little town that was never here before,” Geller said.
The Street Dog Coalition would usually apply for a grant and seek donations before starting a new project like traveling to the Ukrainian border, but in this case it was very urgent to get started.
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