You Want to Rescue Animals? Open a Clinic, Not a Shelter!

What is the difference in impact between having a rescue shelter and having a vet clinic?


Just by the numbers, a vet clinic has the ability to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate more animals and in a better environment than any rescue. In direct care, it is the most bang for your buck by far.

Let say a clinic is open 5 days a week for 50 weeks a year. That’s with Tet and Christmas/New Years weeks off.

On even the slowest day possible, we can assume 5 clients. These are sick or wounded animals, new pets needing vaccines/sterilization, animals brought in by rescuers. Just 3 minimum, which is frankly completely unrealistic in Da Nang as there will easily be more in a city of over a million people.

At those very conservative numbers, we are still able to have contact with a minimum of 250 animals per year and just as many pet owners. Add to that the tens of thousands of animals that will not be born from unsterilized animals as we would ensure all clients were also able to be sterilized and vaccinated, and we are looking at hundreds of thousands saved in just a few years.

Those animals that are diagnosed and treated properly, something rare with local vets, are often able to go home and be with their own families who now have the right information about nutrition, vaccines and sterilization, and basic animal welfare. Aside from giving an animal a chance at getting better, the owners now are better educated owners. If they are unable to go home, they will get the critical care they need at a clinic that is actually clean, sterile, safe, and stress-free which no local vet can provide. The education of the owners has an exponential effect that we cannot even measure.

A cat can have around 14 kittens per year, a dog around 21. Together that is more animals than we even have in our shelter right now, just from one dog and one cat being unsterilized.

That’s 4375 animals NOT born if half of the 250 animals we see are dogs and half are cats.

Can you name ANY rescue in southeast Asia able to take on that many animals in a year? Anywhere in the world even?

For every dog sterilized whether from a private owner or rescue, thousands of babies will not be born into a world in which there are not nearly enough loving, lifelong homes for them and little access to proper veterinary care. They will not be born into a country in which they are nothing more than a commodity to most people, something to be cute for a while, then tossed aside the moment they have a problem. They will never be on the streets, never be stolen or poisoned for dog or cat meat. They will not suffer from reproductive cancers or the common Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumors which is rampant in Vietnam.


What can we do as a shelter?

We are stuck with capacity limits of the property we have now, which currently we will not stretch beyond 40. We once had 22 dogs in our small shelter and it was an absolute nightmare for staff, the neighbors, and the animals themselves. Without a clinic that we can trust to give proper diagnoses and treatment, none of those animals should even be with us anyway. What we are doing now with the 35 animals we have is irresponsible and I am the first to admit it. That is why we have tried so hard to first move to Hanoi to use the international vet up there, and then when that failed, to close entirely and move our animals away from the country, then now that that won’t work, we MUST get a new clinic in central Vietnam so that we can continue our mission we have been on for over 6 years in Hoi An to end animal suffering.

Without the ability to adopt out animals locally anymore because the absolute lack of competent veterinary services regionally makes any tiny issue a crisis, there is no way to have new intakes. We just can’t take animals that we can’t get homes for.

Our only impact right now is on the lives we have already saved, whereas a vet clinic could be servicing the thousands of animals we get calls and messages for every year. Those rescues we have now are the most valuable program we have, and as a rescue, this is what we are so proud of. They get the best care within the limited resources we have, they are safe, and they are loved until their forever families come along to adopt them in areas in which they are able to access competent vet care. They do not live in a filthy hoarding facility like almost all “shelters” in Vietnam and they are not put down because we have no money for them. This is responsible rescue that involves a lifelong commitment to every animal we take in.

However, at BEST, we can help these 35 animals a year, assist in getting a few animals fostered, and organize treatment for other animals not on our property. Without a clinic, this is ALL we can do.

So we have a choice to save 35 MAXIMUM in one year with a shelter,


at the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM, 250 clients/rescues plus preventing over 4000 new animals being born.

Which would you choose?

The highest impact a rescue can have beyond direct care worldwide is vegan advocacy though, and it is so rare in rescue that anyone would dare bring up “the ‘v’ word”. Getting people to keep animals off their plates saves a minimum of 90 animals per person per year. While it is message most kitty and puppy lovers do not care to hear, it is the only way to end animal suffering for good and we will never stop helping people to make this connection.

We desperately need your help in finding a head vet internationally and the investment we need to get off the ground. This holds true for so many rescues in regions where veterinary capacity is low but we have done it before and will do it again because we now know what we did wrong and how to do it right.

We are not done. Far from it. We just cannot do this alone. This will take an army, so we are asking for help.

So far, not a single one of the largest organizations internationally have even responded to our requests for help. Frankly, that is probably not a bad thing as all major international animal “advocacy” organizations with veterinary programs are not vegan and continue to participate in the production processes of animal agriculture that harms animals and is NOT effective livelihoods protection or food security for developing nations. We expect that to be successful in our veterinary capacity building work while continuing to have the ability to maintain a consistent message that animal exploitation in all its forms is morally abhorrent, we will only be able to fund it with private investment based on the poor response from international organizations thus far.

Organizations across the world working in rescue will have difficulty setting up appropriate veterinary care due to the lack of grants and donations available for this vital work, so we are specifically looking for people with experience and interest in private equity funding for start ups, angel investors in the veterinary and medical field (does that even exist?), and crowdfunding for startup capital. While this is a challenge, impact investors interested in global public health may be curious about veterinary capacity building as well since the goals intersect.

We encourage organizations, investors, and true animal advocates working to end speciesism and animal suffering to consider the vital infrastructure that makes rescue possible. This begins and ends with the veterinary community which receive little attention for their contribution to rescue. Without them, there is no way to continue with this work for the animals or the caretakers. We will stop at nothing to get our clinic up and running again and to support more mixed practice vegan clinics globally.

The revolution has to start somewhere. Why not Vietnam?

To learn more about our trouble with veterinarians in Vietnam, check out another post here or here on some recent experiences.

To check our