Pets

A veterinarian is helping homeless people care for their pets

This 'Street Vet' provides free vet care for people experiencing homelessness with their pets.

A veterinarian is helping homeless people care for their pets
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Keeping up with a dog's routine health care can be a challenge for those experiencing homelessness.

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, but the benefits are many. Pets can help reduce stress levels and provide emotional support even if you don’t realize they’re doing it. It makes sense that many homeless people have pets that keep them company. Though pets can provide all sorts of psychological benefits, caring for them can be costly, even for the most financially stable pet owner.

Vet bills can range into the thousands, but routine care that many take for granted can catch these costly health issues before they reach the point of breaking the bank. When homeless people are seen hanging out with their pets, folks rarely stop to wonder if these pets are getting appropriate veterinary care. But Dr. Kwane Stewart took note. Stewart has been a veterinarian for 25 years, and currently works at Netflix as an animal consultant as well as sharing his skills with people experiencing homelessness to help with the health check-up their animals need.


In 2019, Stewart was the star of a reality show, Street Vet, where he took to the streets of California to provide vet care to animals of people without homes. He started a pop-up clinic where he would travel to different locations, after meeting a man and his dog on the street. This particular dog was suffering from a skin condition due to a flea infestation that caused a patch of the dog's hair to fall out and a rash. Stewart offered to treat the man's dog, and after a $3 pill, the dog was free of fleas and looking much healthier and happier when Stewart returned to check on it a few weeks later. The dog’s owner tearfully thanked the doctor, and that was when Stewart decided to provide vet care his way with pop-up clinics.

Stewart has been doing pop-up clinics and going in search of animals whose owners don’t have the capacity to come to him for more than a decade. He has had his fair share of challenging jobs, one of which was euthanizing a large number of animals during his first years out of vet school, which spurred his search for something more meaningful. He was the director of the No Animals Were Harmed program. And then Netflix came calling with an offer he couldn’t refuse.

His passion for helping the animals of homeless people was what led him to launch his nonprofit, Project Street Vet. He runs the nonprofit while also owning his own practice Papaya Pet Care, which opened in March 2022, and continuing to consult with Netflix. Project Street Vet allows Stewart to continue his work on the streets for people experiencing homelessness for free.

The care that he provides to the pets he encounters on the street is invaluable. He interacts with the owners with dignity and respect, while providing them with a judgment-free zone as he cares for their pets. Over the 10 years he’s been doing street vet clinics he has helped countless pets, and no doubt he'll continue to help countless more.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Education

Here are 4 ways you can effect meaningful change as we process yet another mass shooting

It's easy to feel helpless, but here's how to turn that helplessness into action.

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

Angry and frustrated? Get outside and make your feelings known.

Two mass shootings in less than two weeks. It sounds like some faraway land where citizens fight for their right to freedom. But it’s not some far off land, it’s here in our own backyard. America has a problem—it’s the only developed country in the world that has more mass shootings a year than there are days. We are 144 days into the year and there has already been more than 200 mass shootings, 27 of which were school shootings. Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, is the latest to join that growing list with 19 children and two teachers dying in an elementary school designated for second, third and fourth graders.

Parents and other adults who have lost children at the school are reeling from this unspeakable act of violence. And adults raising children in this country are joining those parents in their grief, but know that collective grief is not enough. People are feeling helpless and want to take action to combat those feelings. It gives our hands and minds something to focus on as our hearts heal.

Here are five things you can do if you’re feeling helpless about gun violence in America.

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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