Today we’re proud to share the story of The Trusty Paws Clinic. Founded in 2014 by Dr. Ruby Shorrock, The Trusty Paws Clinic is a charity that serves the pets of the homeless and vulnerably-housed communities of Glasgow, Scotland and London, England.
“During my final year as a veterinary student in Glasgow, I heard of a clinic for the pets of the homeless run by Nottingham Vet School,” said Dr. Ruby Shorrock. “I did some research to find that there was nothing like this in Glasgow, and that no hostels in the city allow dogs, forcing many of the homeless to either be rough sleepers or give up their beloved companions. That’s when I decided to start a clinic offering free basic veterinary services and routine health care to the dogs belonging to the homeless and vulnerably housed of Glasgow.”
The clinic ran once a month out of drop-in centers in homelessness charities. Everything was provided for free – vaccinations, micro chipping, flea and deworming treatments, even pet food, coats, leashes and collars. Most of the supplies were donated. “We made sure to provide a friendly and informal environment to make the dogs and people feel safe,” added Dr. Shorrock. Final-year veterinary students (under the supervision of a qualified veterinary surgeon) provided all of the services. Word spread quickly. To help meet the growing demand, a second clinic was opened in London in 2016, and a third will open in Liverpool by the end of 2017.
As the charity grew, it began to encounter a few logistical challenges. “We were using a paper records system - hand written clinical exam sheets, and client info documents organized into large binders,” said Dr. Charis Lorenz. “I was stock manager at the time, and our paper records system was outdated and tedious. We wanted to find a professional software that would establish us as a credible program, and make our record keeping and stock/drug/vaccine management as effortless as possible.”
All of the charity’s trustees, including Drs. Shorrock and Lorenz, are veterinary surgeons with full-time jobs outside of organizing and managing the charity. While committee teams of final year veterinary students run the clinics, the trustees needed a way to oversee the students remotely without interfering with the day-today operations of the clinics. And although the charity has a base that it operates out of, records need to be available to other veterinarians that take in some of these patients for further testing or treatment. That is why the charity turned to a cloud solution.
“I browsed veterinary forums and web searches looking for a solution that would meet our needs, and also be financially sensible for us as a newly established charity at the time,” added Dr. Lorenz. “Vetter has allowed us to easily keep track of stock supplies and reorder them as necessary without having to enquire with the vet students who are also busy themselves with studying and placements. We can review records and make sure everything is in order to protect ourselves and meet RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon) and VDS (Veterinary Defence Society) standards. We can forward histories to our associates, if a patient needed an emergency operation, or routine care that we could not provide. And we can easily send clinic reminders to our clients via the texting service. There are many excellent programs out there, but none could match what Vetter offered at the price we needed.”
To learn more about The Trusty Paws Clinic, please visit:
(Photo by Karen Gordon)