Dispensaire Vétérinaire Etudiant (DVE)
Using the strong emotional bond between humans and animals as a vehicle for social rehabilitation.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:
Yes, I’m eligible
Yes, I’m 18 years old or older
Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:
Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020
Initiative's representative name
Ana Alkan Rubert & Marie Ronze
Initiative's representative date of birth
Initiative's representative gender
Headquarters location: country
Headquarters location: city
Where are you making a difference?
We are the first association of veterinary students in France to carry out these actions. We work in the towns of Lyon, Oullins and Bourgoin-Jallieu.
Website or social media url(s)
Re-opened in 09/2016
Fostering emotional intelligence and behavioural competences
Re-imagining the role of pets in society
What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?
nonprofit/NGO: an organisation that uses its resources to achieve a purpose outside of creating profit
youth-led initiative: organisations, whether informal or formal, created and led primary by young people
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.
The efforts made for homeless pet owners are quite insufficient, if not nonexistent. In Lyon, among the 33 shelters welcoming homeless people, only 3 of them accept pets. When some veterinary students visited one of these 3 shelters, they realized that they could use their skills to help not only the animals, but also their owners, by providing free-veterinary care and counseling.
2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
No accommodation is available for a woman living in Lyon on the street with an animal. None. And yet, no woman or man would ever abandon their animals; they give up their reintegration possibilities to keep them by their side. It is from this observation that the Student Veterinary Dispensary was born, with the certainty that it is possible to socially reintegrate marginalized people via the strong emotional human/animal bond.
3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Our goal is to use the emotional bond that unites people in precariousness, especially homeless people, and their animals to help them find back a place in society. For this, we focus on 3 axes:
1.We train social workers to welcome the human / animal duo within their structures. We are working on the fear of animals, the management of aggressions and the facilities that can be created in structures to improve well-being. Some shelters are able to welcome animals, and people who were left out the reintegration process before can now go there with their pets.
2.We heal; for the structures agreeing to receive pet owners, we set up sanitary, veterinary and behavioral monitoring of the animals, to ensure that they do not cause nuisance. In addition, those animals, present in the streets of Lyon, are therefore free from disease and parasites, and are identified, which represents a real plus in terms of public health and a solution to the obligation to identify dogs in the street.
3.Finally, we are educating the general public about the importance of this emotional connection, to change the vision of the dog on the street. We also carry out marauding, to reach out new benificiaries.
4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?
Today, many associations are aiming at help homeless people. On the other hand, there are very few associations taking charge of the human / animal duo and too few places in the reception structure. This is why we have chosen to act on several axes: veterinary care (medical and behavioral), awareness raising for the general public and finally discussions with social workers, public bodies and town halls to find lasting solutions to re-welcome and reinsert those duos.
5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?
We hope to act on several points. We wish to use the animal as a social work mediator. The dog can be seen as a mirror of its owner. When we have to deal with introverted people, talking about the animal is a very good way way to start a conversation, to learn more about people’s own lives. It allows us to bring trust between the owners, us, and the social workers. We also aim at highlighting and valuing the skills of our beneficiaries. They are responsible for their dog, and its health. Therefore, they are on time for appointments, meet deadlines for vaccination, and are really steady when they have to give a treatment every day to their animal. All of this will be useful during their reintegration process, even if they sometimes do not realize it. In the streets, a dog is more than ever man’s true friend : it’s a source of warmth, protection and comfort. A pet is a member of the family, sometimes the only family, and neither the pet nor its owner will let the other down. That is why someone cannot be fully helped if the pet is not taken care of too.
6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?
Over the last two years, we have been able to identify, vaccinate and treat more than two hundred animals owned by people in very precarious conditions. We trained around 20 social workers and sensitised more than 200 social workers and 120 social landlords in 44 organizations. The number of animal owners visiting them has increased significantly. The relationship between the animal owners and the organizations has also changed. There is now a real and strong trust between people and the staff of shelters. For example, on fairly introverted people, we will talk about the animal's life course and then be able to build bridges to learn about their own life course. euh ça les gars ça a déjà été mis au dessus To assess our impact, we interview our beneficiaries and the social workers. Our ultimate goal is to help opening new shelters for homeless pet owners : one will open in 2020.
7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?
We aim at establishing a stable model that can be reproduced in several veterinary schools. To do so, we raise awareness and funds in different shows, we speak up in the press, and also get very involved with the French Order of Veterinarians, veterinary unions and politicians. We work with a lot of associations related to animals in Lyon, and even elsewhere in the country with the arch of association to centralize donations of kibble in particular, and redistribute them as needed. We are also working with the police to ease animal identity checks and to provide some advice and solutions.
8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?
We create value for differents stakeholders by providing medical care to dogs that contributes to the health security of public space. ( health role for the society). We also allow the homeless people to beging their social reintegration, since they have to go to a shelter and meet a social worker to get an appointement with us. And finally we help people who are not used to meet dogs to acquaint themselves with pets. And last volunteers become "Solidarity vet".
9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
Our financing plan is in transition: it is currently based on a short-term hybrid model of grants, call for projects and in-kind donations allowing the association's actions to operate annually. However, we are now setting up a more long-term model based on B2B and B2C sponsorship offers: an individual or a company annually sponsors the development of a shelter for a year of care for an animal and receives in exchange a newsletter highlighting the DVE partners participating in this sponsorship, and the actions made possible by their participation. We hope that this offer will retain donors and that they will renew their sponsorship from one year to the next.
10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?
We are 9 veterinary students all volunteers and in different years of study which allow the association to have new and less new members, to enable an efficient handover. We have chosen a co-chair system to facilitate the handover and training of the future team, we have chosen a very horizontal system for decision-making within our team, in line with our values. which allows us to access training and tools to progress together.
11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?
If we win the Purina prize, we will be able to completely re-organize our emergency care system by creating a solidarity envelope for medical emergencies. We also hope to be able to finance facilities in reception centers (consultation tables, scales, pharmacy), to open 3 new branches in other veterinary schools and continue to educate as many people as possible. We will also be able to buy more medicine, to provide long-term and specific treatments for the dog in need. Finally, we would like to set up diploma training courses in animal first aid care for owners and social workers in order to strengthen ties, but also to highlight the skills developed by the homeless owners.
12. How did you hear about this challenge?
13. Example: Please walk us through one or two concrete examples of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address.
I will always remember this story which took place in one of the drug user centers where we operate. Sarah* (name changed) had a dog but unfortunately under influence she could not quite handle it. Thus she had to leave her dog not without difficulty. But thanks to the follow-up within the Student Veterinary Dispensary she was able to take back an animal and chose to completely stop the narcotics to be able to properly care for her animal and keep it. Her animal was, and remains, her main support, present day and night with her.
14. Mutual Benefit: Explain how your project mutually benefits the pets involved – how is the pet not only used as tool?
When we go to a hosting center
to cure the pets of people in need, these people have to be responsible and punctual. It is a first step of their reintegration. While we are taking care of the pet, we talk with the person, and we learn a bit more about her. It is a very good opportunity to help them to reintegrate society, and to accept social workers' assistance. Through our actions, we can help both human and pet, and we consider the duo together, because one can not live without the other.
15. Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem in your environment? How does your proposed project differ from these other approaches?
In our environment there are other associations which help homeless people who own animal, but most of them do not provide veterinary care.
They give food or pet accessories. One of them provide veterinary care but does not provide preventive medicine. In fact we are the only ones who provide vaccines, dewormer, ID and that for free.
Another important point is that we provide care in shelters : homeless people have to visit these shelters to have access to our veterinary care, thus connecting to social workers
We also allow the homeless people to begin their social reintegration, since they have to go to a shelter and meet a social worker to get an apointement with us.
16. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project.
Without the help of our numerous partners, the project would not have reached its current point of development. Our main partners are the one which directly take part to the project, such as Vetagro-sup, the vet school that provides us human resources (the volunteers), material help and legal and administrative backup. The hosting structures are obviously also a mainly involved thanks to the social workers' trust. In addition, some companies such as SantéVet, Boerhinger-Ingelheim, Hill’s and many others support the project by donating goods and services. Soon, we expect our entrepreneurial partners to become financial partners, as we are working on an offer of sponsoring that will include a newsletter and a fiscal arrangement in exchange of the financial support of a hosting structure. Last but not least, plain citizen willing to help can also become plain partners by offering a whole year of care to an animal through annual donations.
17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?
en 2017 : first price Animafac 4000€
Student's trophy 2000€
Boehringher's grant 400€
Dermoscent 963 €
crédit coopératif 4000€
métropole de lyon 2000€
Enactus's grant 1000€
subvention Lyon city 1100€
PUIG's grant 3000€
First price from the Enactus rise up challenge 3000€
First price from theC4C bayer 5000€
Grant from the university of Lyon 5000€
Grant from St Christophe fondation 3000€
Crowfunding from the hope Gallery 3300€
19. Financial Sustainability (OPTIONAL): Please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project, include an attached document with your detailed business plan or other equivalent information. (This information will NOT be shared with your fellow contestant, it will only be visible to you and internal Prize reviewers).
Our yearly budget is divided in different fields : 70% of our budget is used for our interventions, 10% for communication, 10% for sensibilation and the other 10 % for the management of the DVE.
Our sources of funding are mostly partnerships with our school VetVgro Sup, Santé Vet, Hill’s, Boerhinger Hingelhim, Vethica. Another sources are also calls for projects.
We usually use funding for what we need depending distribution of the budget. If we have more funding we use this extra to manage emergencies or care that requires consultation at the vet school.