DENVER (KDVR) — A Fort Collins-based veterinarian headed overseas to the Ukraine and Romania border last week to set up a vet clinic. The clinic is there to help refugees fleeing receive passports so their pets can travel into other European countries safely.
“I personally wanted to help out like everyone does,” Dr. Jon Geller, volunteer vet and national director of The Street Dog Coalition said.
Geller was a graduate of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He’s spent the past 20 years of his career as an emergency veterinarian.
He founded The Street Dog Coalition, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping people experiencing homelessness get free vet care for their pets.
“What’s interesting is the Ukrainian refugees coming across are also homeless,” Geller said.
The popup clinic sits feet from the entrance into Romania. He showed FOX31 and Channel 2 the entire area on the Romanian side of the border has turned into a small town for people fleeing and everything is free.
“The most important thing we’re doing is giving them pet passports so they can travel to other parts of the European Union,” Geller said.
The vet checks performed by Geller and his team keep refugees from having to abandon their pets. Pets traveling need to have a rabies vaccination, microchip and pet passport to continue into another country. And in some cases, pets have injuries related to travel and/or the military conflict that Geller’s team will help with.
The organization wants to make sure no one is left behind.
“This is not a war zone yet. On this Romanian side we will be safe,” Geller said.
His team also includes vet students from multiple Eastern European countries. He trained the team and they will continue to run the popup vet tent even after Geller departs back to the United States.
“It’s like a new little town that was never here before,” Geller said.
The Street Dog Coalition would typically apply for grant funding and seek donations before starting a new project like traveling to the Ukraine border but in this case, there was great urgency to get started.
If you’d like to donate to help with this clinic, you can on this site.