When one pulls back the curtain on the Miami Veterinary Foundation, much like the Great Wizard in the Wizard of Oz, one might be a little surprised to see how an organization of smaller stature, such as the Miami Veterinary Foundation, is able to administer programs of a much grander scale. Our stature is not measured in the size of our organization but in the reach of our expanded network of collaborations and the strength in having a like minded board of directors with deep convictions.

One of the more valuable and meaningful attributes of the Miami Veterinary Foundation is the breadth of their collaborative partnerships. The Miami Veterinary Foundation while small by foundation budget and staff standards, through collaboration and networking, is able to administer meaningful programs that bring a higher quality of life to humans and companion animals alike. This in turn exemplifies the mission of the Foundation and honors the human-animal bond.

Our organization serves as a hub of ideas where needs are identified and programs are organized and administered on behalf of the companion animal in our community. Without the support and collaborative efforts of others, our programs may not otherwise achieve their outlined goals. All of our programs from our lectures, to our fund raising, to Project Unleashed, are successful because of our relationships with collaborative partners.

The Foundation partners with our local government agency responsible for the companion animals in Miami Florida, Miami Dade Animal Services. We are fortunate enough to have a Spay Neuter Partnership with Animal Services so that low cost and free spay and neuter surgeries can be conveniently found in your local veterinary office.  The County also supports the Project Unleashed program by providing a staffed mobile surgical unit for free spay and neuter surgeries. Through these collaborations we are able to increase the number of animals in the community that receive spay or neuter surgery. This helps reduce the reproduction of community cats and unnecessary puppy litters. We continue to look for new and innovative ways to partner with Animal Services so we may continue to help reduce pet overpopulation in Miami.

We partner with Felix Varela High School. One of our local public high schools. As part of their Agricultural Science Magnet program, Ms. Yleana Escobar, our lead teacher, organizes the SPOTS program for the school. The students in the SPOTS program study to learn about animal behavior and the science of animal training. We are blessed to have two wonderful dog trainers who partner with us, Susan Claire, CPDT-KA of Play Train Positive Dog Training and Sandra Machado,CPDT-KA, VSPDT of Learned Behavior Dog Training to help create curriculum, ensure that all training is force and fear free, as well as meets the standards of care as set by the veterinary profession. Through these relationships the Foundation is able to leave a positive impact on young adults and students. And once again, we collaborate with Animal Services, as the dogs that are chosen to participate in the program are pulled from Animal Services.

The Miami Veterinary Foundation Community Cat Trap, Neuter, Release Initiative is another network of collaborators that consists of those who feed cat colonies, cat trappers, and veterinarians who are part of our Spay Neuter partnership who will commit to making themselves available for this initiative. Being available requires that you are willing to take small groups of cats at a time. This program is making real impact in reducing the community cat overpopulation. 

The entire veterinary professional community partners with us for our biggest fund raiser every year, our annual golf tournament. We are deeply grateful for their support! Without the support from our professional community there would be no golf tournament. Fundraising is a necessary function for all Foundations. Through grants we have partnered with organization such as Banfield Foundation, Florida Veterinary Medical Association Foundation and others. Without the funding support of these organizations as well as our donors, our programs would not have financial solvency.

Our local veterinarians also donate their time to provide free educational lectures on veterinary issues of companion animals. We are always looking for new ways to involve local veterinarians in helping to educate companion animal owners and give back to the community.

Then there is Project Unleashed, a beautiful example of collaborative partnerships that produce meaningful results. Project Unleashed provides basic wellness care to pets owned by homeless-indigent owners, low income owners, or owners who are veterans. The Foundation provides volunteer veterinarians and the administration of the clinic. The clinic is given a temporary residence on the Camillus House Campus in the FPL Building every third Sunday of the month. Camillus staff turns office space in to veterinary space and back in to office space for us every clinic date. As previously mentioned, Animal Services partners with us to provide free spay and neuter surgeries in their mobile surgical unit. They also provide a staff person to register rabies tags and tag renewals. Miami Dade College Certified Veterinary Technician program, by way of Professor Jorge Larin, D.V.M. collaborates to the mutual benefit of the veterinary technician students, as Project Unleashed serves as clinical work, and to the benefit of Project Unleashed as the students provide volunteer veterinary technician staff. Miami Pet Assistance Coalition (MPAC) is an all volunteer organization that serves to fill in needs of extremely low income pet owners. MPAC has committed to offering transportation to the clinic for pets in need of services or spay neuter surgery. MPAC also volunteers to help staff the clinic on Sundays to help ensure organization and efficiency. MPAC’s primary mission is to educate owners about spay neuter services and to help animals get the services they need. By partnering together, we collectively meet our organizational missions and serve more animals in need. Project Unleashed has served up to 85 animals in one clinic day. The need is great, and the energy of the combined effort of all the partners is dynamic. You should plan to visit Project Unleashed some time. We always need volunteers, veterinarians, technicians, clerical, photographers, trainers………please join us for a wonderful giving to the animals and to the community experience.

Certainly last, but not least are all the individuals who may not be part of a specific organization, but so generously have given their time or funds to lend their support to the Foundation. Like a spider web of interconnectedness we are a network of companion animal lovers who work together for the benefit of the companion animals of Miami.

Perhaps one day The Miami Veterinary Foundation will be too big to be considered "behind the curtain" but in the mean time our "little"  Foundation will continue to be a large force for good in the companion animal loving community of Miami. We would love to have you collaborate with us in our mission to serve! Contact us through out new website www.miamivetfoundation.org   

 

 

Chris Septer

Executive Director