The CARe Van

Why the CARe Van Mobile Veterinary Clinic?

The number of homeless and at-risk veterans, elderly, and families are rising, and seven out of ten families in America live one paycheck away from homelessness.

Pets play a crucial part in the quality of life, mental and physical wellbeing, recovery, and keeping society relevant to those most struggling to stay afloat.  Within this population, pet ownership serves to:

    • Encourage seeking help for both the pet and the person
    • Encourage a sense of purpose and responsibility
    • Increase safety
    • Increase interactions with others in the community at large
    • Increase the fulfillment of responsibility through the pet’s unconditional love
    • Decrease depression
    • Decrease risky behavior
    • Decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation
    • Allow for the construction of a positive moral identity
    • Allow for a sense of hope for the future
  • Allow for integration within the community, for purpose, and for what is often perceived as redemption

Our Goals

    • Improve the health of homeless and at-risk pets
    • Through maintenance care, decrease the spread of infectious disease within the animal population
    • Reduce pet overpopulation through spay and neuter clinics
    • Honor and acknowledge the importance of pets for family and individuals facing extreme circumstances
    • Provide on-site veterinary wellness exams including vaccinations, routine procedures, and laboratory testing
  • Provide rabies vaccinations and certificates
  • Distribution of animal food, leashes, collars, and other pet supplies

In Massachusetts, 7,565 people were counted as experiencing homelessness in January, 2017. This population includes families with children, unaccompanied adults, unaccompanied youth, veterans, and people experiencing chronic homelessness. Between 10% and 25% of homeless people have pets, varying by location. For most of these pets, there is no affordable veterinary care possible. For many of these people, their pet is their last connection to hope and a sense of familyIn Boston, with a population of roughly 260,000 households, this means that 108,000 households are at risk. At least 50% of these households own pets. Abandoned and stray pets have significant negative effects on domestic and wild animal populations, human health, and even tourism.

How We Can Make a Difference

The Community Animal Resource Mobile Veterinary Clinic – the CARe Van –  offers free veterinary care to homeless and at-risk veterans and families’ pets throughout the Greater Boston community.

Staffed by a volunteer coalition of experienced veterinarians and veterinary technicians from all across Massachusetts, the CARe Van provides quality wellness and urgent veterinary care at no cost to those in need.

The CARe Van provides compassionate, individualized care for clients’ pets in a clean, modern, mobile clinic outfitted with state of the art diagnostic and surgical equipment.

The CARe Van is staffed by experienced veterinarians, veterinary technicians, a general volunteer, and a driver/client manager, all volunteering their time. The Clinic makes monthly, regularly scheduled stops at Veteran’s Administrations and other locations. By going directly to homeless veterans and other people unable to afford critically needed help for their pets, the CARe Van team builds relationships of trust and caring, and breaks down the barriers that keep homeless people and their companion animals from the care they need and deserve.


The CARe Van requires start-up capital as well as ongoing funding for annual operations. We are seeking corporate sponsors to fund:

    • • Purchase of an X-ray machine
    • • Purchase of medical supplies and equipment outfitting of the vehicle
    • Provide ongoing support for vehicle maintenance, upkeep, and operating costs
  • Contribute to quality supplies and staffing

We Could Use Your Help

If you’re interested in joining us to launch this venture, please contact us at We’d love to talk to you, get your feedback and grow our team in this important work.

Adam Parker, DVM
Marjie Alonso, CDBC, CDBC-KA, KPA CTP