This article has been written with the support of Lagunitas.

Dr Sam Joseph of StreetVet: 'The reassurance that is provided by a free veterinary service can be life changing'

Dr Sam Joseph of StreetVet: 'The reassurance that is provided by a free veterinary service can be life changing'

credit: Rob Trow Photography

With profits from this year's Lagunitas Beer Circus going to StreetVet, we speak to one of the founders to find out more about the charity and its primary goals

The legendary Lagunitas Beer Circus returns to London's Flat Iron Square this July with a plethora of beer, music and circus-style entertainment in tow for your enjoyment. But in amongst all the fun and revelry lies a hugely worthy cause, which means you can party with the knowledge that you'll be supporting a wonderful charity in the process. All profits from the Beer Circus go to local charity StreetVet, who help to look after homeless dogs across the UK, ensuring that essential care is available for those that need it most.

'StreetVet provides free and accessible veterinary care to those experiencing homelessness by developing a safe and sustainable platform for vets and vet nurses to volunteer their time and expertise.' Dr Sam Joseph, one of the founders of the charity, explains. 'We rely largely on donations from the general public and the good will of the veterinary profession in order to fund this service. The vet care is delivered either by vets and nurses outreaching on the streets or by owners bringing their pets to static weekly clinics in a number of areas across London and in another 15 towns and cities across the UK.'

With homelessness on the rise in the UK and access to fundamental vet care difficult for many homeless people with dogs, StreetVet ensures that the health and vitality of these dogs is a priority.

'Our initial aim was to use our skill set to reassure some of the most vulnerable people in society,' Josephs says when asked about why he initially started the project. 'It would only take a small amount of effort from me but I hoped that by checking a dog over and hopefully giving it a clean bill of health, I could provide real peace of mind to their owner and, in doing so, give them one less thing to worry about. It became clear very quickly that the bond between these owners and their pets was incredibly strong and the reassurance that is provided by a free veterinary service can be life changing.'

Since its inception in 2016, StreetVet has grown substantially, with the team regularly helping dogs (and other animals) with vaccinations, microchipping, treatment, pain relief, surgeries and more.

'I think the thing I am most proud of is actually seeing how the veterinary profession has gotten behind us as we have grown. That largely comes down to the enthusiasm and passion of our 400 or so volunteer vets and vet nurses who are cheerleaders for the charity and are knocking on their bosses doors asking them to support the cause. It really has taken on a life of its own and it makes me really happy to think that there are hundreds of volunteers helping hundreds of animals and their owners across the country because that demonstrates how kind and compassionate vets and vet nurses are and, at the end of the day, they just want to help animals in need.

'There have been lots of success stories but also lots of very sad and dark stories along the way,' Joseph continues. 'This work is not for the faint-hearted and can sometimes be very raw but the uplifting stories definitely make it worthwhile. Not long ago one of our regular patients was spooked by a firework when out for a walk and ran onto the train tracks and was hit by a train. Thankfully, she survived but was severely injured and with the help of the RSPCA and the local police we were able to book her in for emergency surgery. She lost a leg and an eye but thankfully she has adapted well to her new situation and is doing really well.'

Having treated hundreds of dogs so far and undoubtedly saved lives along the way, StreetVet are hoping to continue to broaden their reach, with some strong plans for the future, as Joseph notes.

'Our goals for the charity over the next 12 months are to continue to launch in new locations across the country, continue to provide a high standard of free veterinary care that we do to all of our beneficiaries and to build a sustainable model to do this in the long term.'

Lagunitas Beer Circus, Flat Iron Square, London, Sat 20 Jul. All profits from ticket sales will be donated to StreetVet. Find out more at streetvet.co.uk and lagunitas.com/beercircus. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

The Lagunitas Beer Circus

Lagunitas hosts this circus spectacular, featuring more than a hundred performers across two stages. Witness burlesque and sideshow acts, aerialists, live music and games – and, of course, beers a-plenty to sample.

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