Dr. Kwane Stewart, a 49-year-old veterinarian from Modesto, CA, has been offering free medical care to homeless people with ailing pets.

He has been at this for nine years.

Vet Has Helped Over 400 Homeless Pets

According to CNN, Stewart was used to treating pets from financially stable homes. The pets’ humans were able to pay for their medical expenses without blinking an eye. But when the Great Recession of 2007 hit, Stewart noticed animals were suffering in the face of economic crisis.

“That was the moment for me career-wise that was enlightening,” the vet told CNN. “Up until then, I’d been practicing high-end medicine for clients who could pay for everything. But suddenly I was thrown into this economic war and people couldn’t even afford to help their pets.”

In 2011, Stewart, along with his son and girlfriend, set up a table at a soup kitchen. There, he offered homeless folks free veterinary care for their pets.

“Before I knew it, I had a whole line,” he said. “There was something about it that I loved. I did it one more time before I decided to just take it to the street and walk to homeless people instead of waiting for them to walk up to me.”

Stewart has treated about 400 homeless animals over the last decade. He has been documenting his interactions in a TV series called “Dr. Kwane: The Street Vet.”

Stewart pays for simple vaccinations and medicines out of pocket. If the pet requires surgery or more intense treatment, he starts GoFundMe fundraisers to crowdsource the money needed to cover the costs.

The Street Vet Says We Shouldn’t Judge Homeless People With Pets

“These homeless people take care of their pets even better than we do,” Stewart said. “When they own a pet, it engenders this generosity. They always make sure their pet is fed. Medically is where they need help.”

Many people judge homeless people with pets, thinking they’re incapable of caring for them. But Stewart says that these pets are “better than any form of therapy” for homeless people whom he’s seen face harassment and bullying, including people driving by, throwing food and spitting at them.

The Street Vet, after all his experience getting to know the homeless population in his city, believes it’s time for change.

“Above all else, I’ve learned that homelessness can be solved if we really want to solve it. This is of our own creation,” he said.

“We’ve been putting Band-Aids on it for so long, with a free meal here and there, but there’s not really a foundation to get them off the streets and keep them off the streets.”