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‘Pets for Vets’ services now available at the VA

Al San-Miguel watches his dogs, Ava and Hicks, during a recent visit of the ARF mobile clinic to the Martinez VA. (DAVID SCHOLZ / Martinez Tribune)
Al San-Miguel watches his dogs, Ava and Hicks, during a recent visit of the ARF mobile clinic to the Martinez VA. (DAVID SCHOLZ / Martinez Tribune)
By DAVID SCHOLZ
Martinez Tribune

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Animals weren’t the only beneficiaries from a recent visit of the Animal Rescue Foundation’s (ARF) mobile clinic to the Martinez VA – their owners also received a lift of spirit.

Among former service personnel who took advantage of ARF’s hospitality was Army E-4 specialist Al San-Miguel of Concord, who brought his two dogs, Ava and Hicks, for free treatment. San-Miguqel adopted Hicks from ARF.

ARF’s Mobile Clinic performs wellness exams, gives vaccinations, installs micro chipping, and answers questions about basic pet wellness.

“This is fantastic,’’ said San-Miguel, who acknowledged veterans find it hard to ask about services like those ARF provides. “I’m so happy to receive the help.’’

The mobile clinic will return to the VA June 24, July 8 and 22 beginning at 9:30 a.m. to continue providing its services at no cost to veterans who present a military I.D. Pets of veterans are checked in on a first come, first serve basis, and this continues to 1 p.m. or until full.

The mobile clinic is parked near the Center Avenue entrance to the VA Center.

Only cats and dogs are served and there is a limit of two animals per veteran. Dogs must be on-leash and under control at all times. Cats must be in carriers.

So far, the mobile clinic has made two visits to the Martinez VA , the first taking place at end of 2015. A total of 37 dogs and 12 cats belonging to 35 vets have been served, according to Bobbe Bartlett, development director for ARF.

The current types of services provided will be expanded in the future to include spaying and neutering. Veterans who had previously brought their pets to the clinic will be given priorirty for these surgical procedures.

“We are grateful to have the chance to visit with the veterans in Martinez,’’ Bartlett said.

For more information about the Pets for Vets program, visit www.arflife.org.

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