At a charity-sponsored lunch for homeless people on Christmas of 2016, Dr. Nan Rosenberry set up her lawn chair, a cooler filled with medications and vaccines, and a sign offering free veterinary care to homeless people with pets. Just like that, the first Florida branch of the nonprofit Street Dog Coalition began.
Founded in 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado, by veterinarian Jon Geller, the all-volunteer Street Dog Coalition has spread to more than 10 states. Rosenberry, a veterinarian since 1999 at Bay Road Animal Hospital in Sarasota, saw an article about Geller and his growing movement in a veterinary magazine and contacted him.
“I’ve always done a lot of work with Animal Rescue Coalition, the Humane Society, Sarasota Animal Services,” says Rosenberry. “But they can’t really service the homeless people because they have to get to their facilities, and there are fees, even though they’re on a sliding scale. I said to my husband, ‘We’ve got to do something for these poor people who don’t have anything.’”