Sitting snug between Alyssa's feet, Maya patiently awaits the unknown. Donning a spring-coloured collar adorned with a light pink flower, Maya doesn't know she's in line for her first veterinary visit. At only five months old, with a demeanor as breezy as her style, it's clear that Maya finds solace beside Alyssa under any circumstance. And, for Alyssa, a first-time dog mom, the feeling is mutual.
Alyssa and Maya are visiting a non-profit veterinary clinic for routine puppy care, including vaccinations and a standard wellness checkup—essential services that aren't within reach for millions of family pets due to the lack of accessible or affordable veterinary resources across the country.
As a recent college graduate living on her own for the first time, Alyssa knew having a pup in her life would provide her companionship and assist with her mental health.
"I suffer through depression and anxiety, so it's helpful to have that stable joy to come home to and to have that confidence that someone loves you," says Alyssa.
When she began looking for veterinary services in her community, she noticed a lack of affordable and convenient options. Fortunately, she came across a PetSmart Charities partner and found that they fit her budget and made her feel comfortable knowing she had a trusted partner in keeping Maya healthy.
She gives me a reason to wake up in the morning, I know it sounds selfish, but it's important to keep her happy and healthy so I can be happy and healthy.
For Alyssa, Maya is more than a loyal companion; she's her support system. "One of the main reasons I got Maya was for security and mental health. But, I also suffer from seizures. I'm having her trained as a service animal,” adds Alyssa.
With hundreds of thousands of pets in need of loving homes, removing barriers to veterinary care can save pets' lives while also help create bonds that improve the well-being of the people who love them.
"Pets are the family you get to choose. We may not be part of the same bloodline, but my heart beats for her just the same," smiles Alyssa.