Professional Veterinary Outreach

Disaster Response/SMART

Contact: Dr. David Schwarz

There are numerous ways that veterinarians can contribute to emergency and disaster management in Massachusetts. On a local level, joining or starting a Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) provides important subject expertise about caring for animals. The local Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) also needs veterinary support. Basic Animal Rescue Training (BART) is a program that has veterinarians teaching First Responders how to appropriately handle and care for animals that they may encounter on their calls. There is training available to participate in this course.

The State of Massachusetts Animal Response Team (SMART) welcomes veterinary participation in its mission to train and prepare the state for all emergencies and disasters using best practices and standard operating procedures to care for all animals in the state.

Feral Cat Clinics

There are several feral cat organizations throughout the Commonwealth which hold monthly sterilization and vaccination clinics.  Volunteer Surgeons are always needed!  Clinics take place at various locations, frequently at MSPCA facility sites (Methuen and Boston) on Sunday mornings.

Project Samaná

Contact: Dr. Bob Labdon  or Dr. Jay Merriam

Tired of the routine of everyday practice?  Want to stretch your professional skills and give back to a world that really needs you? Feel the need to learn on the fly?  Collaborate with colleagues, students, and friends while making new ones, all while immersed in a vibrant, colorful culture?

For the past 25 years, a volunteer veterinary team composed of large and small animal veterinarians, technicians and students have made biannual trips to the Samaná peninsula of the Dominican Republic to conduct intense one-week clinics.

We spay/neuter/vaccinate the dogs and cats, and castrate, de-worm and provide care to the working horses. Our team partners with the local veterinarians and caregivers serving the lush, tropical region of Samaná.  Large and small animal veterinarians, as well as technicians and students, are needed for upcoming teams.

Interested? For a life-changing, fun week visit the Project Semana website.

Tufts at Tech

Contact: Dr. Greg Wolfus

Tufts at Tech is an innovative teaching facility for students at Cummings School and students at Worcester Technical High School. Under the leadership of Drs. Greg Wolfus and Jenni Grady, the Tufts at Tech student-run veterinary clinic provides low-cost care for financially-qualified family pets within Central Massachusetts’ underserved communities. Fourth-year DVM candidates and Worcester Technical High School students within the Veterinary Assisting program work collaboratively under the direction of experienced veterinarians and certified veterinary technicians to provide quality primary care for underserved community pets. Volunteer veterinarians are routinely needed to assist fourth-year students work through general practice cases!  Volunteers can volunteer for a single day or on a routine basis.  Regardless, alum should visit this clinic and be proud of the great work taking place in the both the Tufts veterinary education and in the Worcester community!

Volunteer Requirements: MA license, proof of health insurance, CORI report through Worcester public schools

Worcester Veterinary Outreach

Contact: Dr. Emily McCobb

The Worcester Veterinary Outreach project aims to help at risk human and animal populations.  Twice a week during the school year a handful of Cummings School and Becker students, under the supervision of volunteer practicing veterinarians and faculty from the two schools, hold free clinics at Worcester Housing Authority (WHA) sites throughout the city.  Cummings School has partnered with Becker College and WHA to provide preventive care, routine check-ups, care for minor infection or skin issues and vaccinations to those without access to veterinary care. The pet care team sees an average of about 500 patients each year, and offer vouchers for important services that can’t be offered on site, such as spaying and neutering. They also offer services for the vulnerably housed to have their pets seen at  The Mustard Seed soup kitchen and St. John’s Food for the Poor soup kitchen and food pantry a few times each semester. Volunteer veterinarians undergo a brief training, which includes shadowing current staff for one clinic, and must agree to follow clinic SOPs.  Spanish speaking veterinarians are highly needed. Time commitments may vary based on need and availability.

Paws for People

Contact:  Dr. Lisa Freeman

Tufts Paws for People provides education, evaluation, and mentorship for individuals looking to visit facilities with their pet. The program has grown to include over 100 animal/handler teams, who visit a variety of programs including elder care facilities, hospice centers, at-risk youth, adult and adolescent mental health care, hospitals, public schools, libraries, and others. Opportunities to volunteer include:

  1. Become a Pet Partner® with your animal companion
  2. Become a Pet Partners® Ambassador after completing a  Pet Partners® Handler Training course and assist new teams on their initial visits to a facility.
  3. You can volunteer at a Pet Partners® Team evaluation. Evaluations are offered up to 9 times per year at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. As part of the volunteer team, you can help to assess potential Pet Partners® teams. Five to six volunteers are needed at each evaluation.
  4. Tufts Paws for People participates in a variety of local events that help to raise awareness about our program and animal assisted activities, such as Cummings School Open House, Pet Rock Festival. We can always use help at these events to spread the word about our program.