Free with Rico, Tyson and Thumber to the vet

Indian, Chihuahua mix, standing on treatment table and shaking violently. “She finds it very sexy,” says owner Gwen, 51. The tongue of a twelve-year-old Indian hangs out of her mouth, as she has no teeth left to hold it. On Gwen’s lap is Jeppe, Hind’s mother, whom she rescued from Curaçao. In the traveling basket on the table is a male Mika and in the house she has two other cats, all rescued from Greece. “I hosted them when my company was doing well financially, but then I got sick.”

Although there are no exact numbers, Animal Protection is concerned about possible delayed care of pets. “A lot of people have taken a pet during Corona,” employee Eileen Quanger says. Since the demand for animals was very high at that time, many of these animals were not bred properly and had physical defects.

Then came the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis and inflation. It perfect storm And many people can no longer afford to take care of their pets,” says Quanjer.

The Dutch Society for Animal Protection has put up a comprehensive website titled Dier en Geld that contains frequently asked questions and advice, especially for people with financial problems. Now the organization also offers real pet screening.

Read also: Animal owners need money.. Suddenly there is an emergency

Between ten in the morning and two in the afternoon, four veterinarians check the pets of people with HaarlemPas and Voedselbankpas for free at the De Wereld Community Centre. Those who do not have these permits will pay no more than 2.50 euros per animal for examination and any treatment. It’s a pilot to see if there’s enthusiasm for it and to see if animal protection can roll it out nationally.

Thirty-two owners signed up, says Eileen Quanger, and more than seventy pets have been seen today. “There is definitely enthusiasm.”

Pets — mainly dogs, cats, and rabbits — get a checkup, necessary vaccinations, a microchip if they don’t have one already (“Don’t forget to register!”), flea drops and deworming pills. If necessary, appointments can be scheduled for spaying or neutering.


The fact that sterilization is absolutely necessary in some cases is evident from veterinarian Susan Lemmens’ treatment schedule (39). They had a lady with two cats and a litter. “It didn’t help at all. One of the cats is now pregnant from a hangover,” says Lemmens. “The owner has tried to separate them, but of course that doesn’t always work.” She didn’t have money to spay the cat, and Animal Protection is helping her now.

“Because of a lack of money, small problems often become bigger and bigger,” says veterinarian Lemmens. “There was a lady who had a hangover and had bladder stones, and he has to get preventative food for that, but this is more expensive than normal food, so he didn’t get it. Now he has to have an operation.”: In the end it is much more expensive than that food – and very disturbing to the animal.”

The veterinarian examines the waste during a day organized by Animal Protection.

Photo by Oliver Middendorp

Preventive care

Therefore, the pilot is mainly about preventive care, says company spokeswoman Saskia Thijsen. “If your cat has an ingrown nail, this is a simple remedy, but if you let it go and it becomes infected, you may eventually have to have it amputated.”

People who visit the De Wereld Community Center must first fill out a form. About the health of the animal, to the veterinarian, about its financial situation and about the help that they previously requested for their animal.

This day is made possible through a donation, says an animal protection staff member. “This is a really good job,” says Anwar Jehan, 31. He brought his five-month-old kitten, Boo, with him. He has not been vaccinated yet.

Hindi, Gippy and Maika all suffer from heart murmurs. Gwen asks, “Should they be given medication for that?” while the doctor squeezes a dropper into Mika’s fur against the fleas. Not at the moment, but maybe in the future. In addition, there are some loose teeth and very long nails and mica should actually be a diet food, as overweight cats have an increased risk of developing diabetes. “And you don’t want that,” Lemmens says. Gwen sighs as she puts her jacket back on.

Ton Belder (60) points to two cats in a black steel cage. “This is Rico and Tyson. They are named after the boxers, you know?” They are not his boyfriend, but his girlfriend Irma Dinginotus, 59, who is filling out a form in the meantime. Today she came to the Harlem Community Center with Rico, Tyson, and Rabbit Stampert.

“Rico recently ran away and was gone for the night. Now we fear she might be pregnant.” The doctor feels her stomach. “When did you get out?” Builder looks at the Dingenouts. “Three months ago?” Then the doctor says she is definitely not pregnant. “She needs to pee, her bladder is full.” The three animals are in good health.

The animals around today appear to be in very good condition, says Quanjer of Animal Protection. “This is very nice, of course, but I’m afraid there are worse cases that we haven’t been able to get through. Or maybe they didn’t dare to come.”

A volunteer directs Dingenouts to a table on which everything is displayed. “You can choose something else.” She chooses food, treats, something to nibble on for the bunny, and a fluffy basket in which the two cats can lie down together. All people whose pet died have been donated. “Can I have this? For real? Well, I’m totally happy!”

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