Tyler Mulvaney sat on a sidewalk with his pitbull mix Sir Narco as they each waited for the shots – vaccines for the dog and a COVID-19 vaccine for Mulvaney.
The man and dog arrived at the Daily Bread in Melbourne on Tuesday for an event hosted by the Brevard Health Alliance and the Brevard Street Dog Coalition, a joint effort to provide veterinary care for homeless animals and healthcare to the people themselves.
Mulvaney has been caring for Sir Narco since he found the dog abandoned in a homeless camp for three days without being taken care of. Since then, the two have been inseparable.
“I’m going to shoot him, try to chip him, try to figure out all his papers,” Mulvaney said.
“I’m on the street but they helped me with the tent. He has a Federal Assistance Dog ID so he can come with me anywhere,” he said.
Although Mulvaney experienced setbacks after losing his job earlier this year, he said he plans to return to school and the workforce, crediting Sir Narco for provide the motivation and inspiration he needed to effect this transformation.
Alicia Moore, spokesperson for the Brevard Health Alliance, said the event was aimed at providing care to lives “on both ends of the leash.”
“While vets are treating animals, we can take care of humans,” she said. “We know that transportation and access can be a barrier, so we like to do more than one thing at the same time.”
While sometimes people are not motivated to seek health care for themselves, they will seek it out for a beloved pet, creating an additional incentive for participation, Dally said.
“The relationship between a homeless person and their pet is such an important relationship,” she said. “That’s why we’re making sure we’re here so that anyone who wants to get the shot can get the shot.”
Dr Michelle Dally was walking through The Daily Bread parking lot, needle in hand, delivering vaccine injections to whiny dogs.
His idea was to run a clinic combining health care for pets with regular clinics for homeless people in downtown Melbourne.
“It’s great. We can really help people,” said Dally, who volunteers with the homeless community and works as a vet at Aloha Pet and Bird Hospital in Indian Harbor Beach.
“I wanted to create one health clinic – vaccines for humans and vaccines for animals. It makes me feel like it’s more normal even though nothing is normal right now.”
While helping animals is her calling, Dally said helping people was also what motivated her over the past year to continue her work.
“You can’t think of homeless people as different from you and me. I’ve met these people. They’re the same as us except a paycheck, illness, mental illness, addiction issue that doesn’t was not detected early away from that, ”Dally said.
“It’s us but with a bit of bad luck.”