Making a difference with Vets for Pets Victoria


April 17, 2023  |  Victoria, BC

Dean Murphy (Director, Business Development & Talent Acquisition Partner in Victoria, BC) started his career as a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), so connecting with an animal-focused organization felt most natural. In 2010, he started volunteering at Vets for Pets Victoria, a non-profit organization offering free veterinary care to the dogs and cats of homeless and low-income Victoria, BC pet owners. They hold monthly clinics out of a homeless shelter where clients sign up in advance for appointments. Each volunteer cares for about 40 pets in a typical two-hour shift and has administered approximately 2,000 doses of flea control over the past six years. About ten veterinary professionals (DVMs, RVTs, etc.) volunteer at each clinic where Dean is known as their “cat whisperer.”

“I truly miss being an RVT. I still wear that hat and love to do it. It’s fun to get my hands dirty or bloody, so to speak. Literally and figuratively,” Dean explained.

That being said, the reward for volunteering goes beyond reconnecting with his RVT roots. For Dean, it’s the emotional paycheck that makes it all worthwhile. Connecting with people in need, his fellow volunteers, and seeing the difference they are making keeps him returning after all these years.

“In most large cities, you go downtown, and you see people sitting on the street corners with their dogs, sometimes with their cats, or their iguanas, or other pets. Those dogs and cats are their companions – their family. Probably the only family they have,” Dean said. “Most of the individuals we see are always so incredibly grateful. They bring cards, little pictures, and Thank You notes. We have a Facebook page where they comment and share their appreciation. It’s incredible to go downtown and see some of our clients. Sometimes I’ll be stopped, and they’ll say Hey, you’re that guy from Vets for Pets, and we have a quick chat. It’s a great feeling.”

The response has also been overwhelmingly positive from the veterinary community – they never run out of veterinary assistants, RVTs, and veterinarians willing to volunteer every month. Furthermore, as a father, Vets for Pets was an avenue that allowed him to pass on his love of community outreach to his children.

“I have two daughters. One time one of my daughters came with me to volunteer. It was an eye-opening experience for her,” he said. “Now the two of them have found their passion to volunteer as well. It’s been great to see them embrace that volunteering and do what they’re passionate about.”

Taking that first step into volunteering can be intimidating. Below is Dean’s advice for those who want to reach out to their community:

1. Know your boundaries

“We’re in the veterinary industry, so chances are you’re passionate about pets. Not everyone is comfortable hanging out with the homeless and people in need. No judgment towards them. If that’s not your thing, there are other places you can volunteer, whether it’s an animal sanctuary or a wildlife rehab center.”

2. Go outside the box

“It doesn’t have to be with animals either. Find out what you’re passionate about and what’s available in your community. Simply reach out to them – I can guarantee they’re looking for volunteers.”

3. Give it a try!

“Go and spend a day and see if you like it. If it’s not your cup of tea and you don’t like it, try something else. Do a little research and I can guarantee you that whatever you want to volunteer to or help with, chances are they need your help.”

We thank Dean for sharing his story! As part of our celebration of National Volunteer Week, VetStrategy has made a donation to Vets for Pets.