Vet alumna gets special award
A Glasgow vet and UofG graduate is being recognised with a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords, honouring her work to help homeless people and their pet dogs.
Ruby Shorrock, (23) and originally from Derby, studied to become a vet in Glasgow and now works at the city’s Pets and Vets practice. While a student she became aware of the challenges faced by homeless pet owners and while researching discovered that no homeless hostels in Glasgow would take people with dogs.
She was inspired to found The Trusty Paws Clinic to offer free veterinary advice and treatment for dogs owned by those living rough or in temporary housing. After finding out about a similar scheme run by student vets in Nottingham, Ruby gathered some vet student friends together to help her set up their own clinics in Glasgow.
In the two years since the first clinic opened its doors in Glasgow, at The Simon Community, Ruby and her friends, who continue as trustees of Trusty Paws, have provided treatment to countless numbers of dogs from the homeless community, from vaccinations and neutering to de-worming and help with skin conditions and infections, all at no charge.
Following the success of the Glasgow clinics, Ruby has also started offering similar clinics for homeless people and their dogs in London, at The West London Mission in Marylebone.
Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW, said: “Ruby’s work to help homeless dog owners and their pets is a great example of community work which helps both people and animals. We hope that her efforts will inspire the next generation of animal welfare campaigners and carers. She is a very deserving winner of IFAW’s Veterinary Award.”
Ruby said: “I have always loved charity work and animal welfare, it is great to do my day job and help those animals but this gives me a different kind of satisfaction. It is amazing to get to know the clients and hear them say they love coming to our clinics and that we are their friends. They are able to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat while we are also helping their dogs. Starting the clinics really challenged my own misconceptions about the homeless.
“The people we meet put their dogs before themselves, often they visit a clinic for the first time and just say please check my dog is OK and that I am doing right by them. Mostly these dogs are in really good shape as they are so well looked after, the issues we treat are no different to those we see at regular vet clinics. I am a big believer in the human-animal bond and the magic that comes from that; I’m just pleased I can do something to help.”
Since Ruby and her friends have qualified and taken up posts with veterinary practices, they have recruited additional veterinary students to help staff the clinics, while continuing to be involved in the day to day work themselves as well as being trustees.
First published: 17 October 2016