SOUTHBRIDGE — One of the most common reasons pets are surrendered to local shelters is the lack of affordable pet wellness, training, and education programs. Due to cost and other barriers, pets in under-resourced communities often do not have access to basic veterinary care such as spay/neuter services, vaccinations, dental care, and other medical and preventive care.
With a $232,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, Second Chance Animal Services aims to support pets and pet parents in need of these services by providing full-service veterinary care at its Southbridge Community Veterinary Hospital scheduled to open this summer.
For Second Chance CEO Sheryl Blancato, who grew up in Southbridge, bringing affordable veterinary care to this underserved community holds special meaning.
“For years, people from the Southbridge area have been asking for one of our hospitals to be located closer to them. Our other hospitals located in North Brookfield, Springfield, and Worcester are not easy to get to from Southbridge for those facing transportation challenges. Now we’ll be able to help pets right in their community, providing access to the highest-quality veterinary care to all. Subsidized rates will be available for qualified households, ensuring all pets can get the care they need.”
The Southbridge Community Veterinary Hospital will also be home to the Bay Path Veterinary Educational Center, where Second Chance and Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School will work together to educate the next generation of animal welfare.
“We are thrilled to support this initiative that will remove barriers to veterinary care in the Southbridge community,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president of PetSmart Charities. “The collaborative effort between Second Chance and Bay Path Regional High School will not only provide invaluable training to students, but also necessary health and wellness services to thousands of pets who may not otherwise receive the care they need.”