Manitoba

Street-involved, homeless Winnipeg youth and their pets offered free check-ups

Free dental work to humans, treatment to pets a big hit with clients

Pets and their humans get free check-ups at RaY 1:13

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With a pet rat on her shoulder and a cat in her arms, Ursa Burdenkeeper left a Winnipeg clinic with a little peace of mind Saturday.

Sally the rat and Salem the cat are in good health — something a free check up at Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) revealed.

The non-profit works with street-involved and homeless youth and partnered with volunteer dentists and veterinarians Saturday to give dozens of clients and their pets checkups and treatment.

Ursa Burdenkeeper

Ursa Burdenkeeper was happy to know her rat Sally and cat Salem were in good health Saturday. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

"Today was a real blessing for both me and my pets," said Burdenkeeper, 28.

Burdenkeeper uses RaY services regularly and said she can't afford costly vet work.

"I'm here for them more than I am for myself," she added. 

Saturday's event was a first for RaY but similar events have taken place in other Canadian provinces.

Dr. Susan Kilborn, a veterinarian who helped look at some of the pets that arrived Saturday, said pet owners benefit when their furry loved ones are in good health. She said it's part of a concept called One Health.

"They are so highly bonded to their pets that if their pets are well and well taken care of, it has a positive impact on their health."

James Carroll with python

James Carroll brought his python Chesna to the event. (Travis Golby/CBC)

James Carroll brought his python Chesna to the clinic and said it felt nice to know someone cared about him and his beloved snake.

"Today we are definitely being looked upon in a better light."

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