Curated Story
Animal Therapy at the Hospital Sant Joan de Deu
Source: Courtesy of Hospital Sant Joan de Deu

How We Can Make the World Better with Pets

This article originally appeared on A New Game

In 2020, pet ownership is on the rise globally. Today, social entrepreneurs are using the power of pet companionship to improve health, transform social support, and much more. They have founded initiatives based on the pet-human connection that serve not only hospital patients, but groups like prison inmates, homeless populations, abuse survivors, abandoned animals, and the elderly.

Pets also provide essential social support for people without a home. In Canada, 12.8 percent of the homeless population owns pets. Because of their pets, however, they’re often refused social services or care — and their pets often don’t receive the care they need, either.

To solve this problem, Ashoka fellow Michelle Lem created Community Veterinary Outreach, using her veterinarian skills to start a free mobile clinic for pets and homeless pet-owners. At the same time, the organization provides public health, local shelter information and social services to homeless populations.

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Ashoka insight

Nearly 200 years ago, Florence Nightingale noticed a curious phenomenon — small pets seemed to lower stress levels in her psychiatric patients. A pioneer who founded the modern profession of nursing, she was among the first of many changemakers to recognize the potential of pets to make a positive difference.

As scientists explore just how animal companionship affects us, we’re launching an investigation of our own to uncover how social entrepreneurs are working to make our world better with pets. Learn more here.