Heartbroken to see the dog suffering, and knowing how helpless the owner would have felt, it inspired her to set up StreetVet.
In the last year animal lover Jade and her colleagues have helped over 80 animals in London; mainly dogs, but also a few cats, a snake and a scorpion.
She’d grown up with dogs, having Chocolate Labrador Duke from the age of 11, then Oakley after qualifying as a vet and has Huskies Innoko and Timber.
Sadly Oakley passed away shortly before she had the idea for StreetVet and his memory lives on - his face is on every StreetVet vaccine card.
Jade and her colleagues
Innoko and Timber
Jade said: “I’d always wanted to volunteer but struggled to find a way to do it with my vet work. Then on a night out in Soho I met a dog who needed veterinary help and I couldn’t give it.
“I thought about what it would be like if my dog needed treatment and I couldn’t make it happen, and how it must have been for him and many others.
“They're are everything to them, as my dogs are to me, and I knew they’d want to help but weren’t able to and that’s what inspired me.
“I met Josh Coombes, a hairdresser who had started giving haircuts to the homeless and set up the #DoSomethingForNothing movement and it was the catalyst that made it happen.”
Armed with a rucksack and a case full of medication, food, toys and treats plus practical things like bowls and collars, Jade took to the streets.
Shortly after starting out in January this year, she learned another vet, Sam Joseph, was doing the same thing. They met and formed StreetVet.
Now, they have a team of 34 vets and nurses helping animals across London every week, at soup kitchens, drop in centres and on the street.
Jade and the team regularly worm, vaccinate and treat skin complaints on the dogs, but in some cases, they have been taken in for operations, X-Rays, dental surgery and hydrotherapy.
Clinics who are affiliated with the StreetVet scheme allow them to use their theatres to perform surgery and they are forming a list of surgeons willing to offer one pro bono operation a year.
Jade vaccinating a patient
Jade, 38, who is married to Adam, 38, a property developer, has been overwhelmed with donations from pet drug companies and stores who want to help.
She said: “People have been so kind. One of our volunteers turned up to her interview with a car full of beds, blankets, toys, food and collars that she’d collected.
“The idea of StreetVet is to give the dogs a health check. Anything I can do in a regular consultation, I can do on the street and if further treatment is needed we can find a surgery to facilitate.
“We try to treat as many dogs as we can, but it’s key that people know where we are and that they can bring their dogs to us.”
Jade works with Street Kitchen, run by John Glackin, 47, in Camden on Wednesday, Hackney and Watford on Thursday, Finsbury Park on Saturday and Shoreditch on Sunday.
She hopes to extend the StreetVet project to Bristol and Brighton in the coming months and eventually across the UK.
As well as treating the animals, Jade helps their owners like Dean Coleman, 35, from Harrow and his dog Huni, a Staffie cross.
Dean worked as an engineer for British Gas but suffered depression. His marriage broke down and he was so sleep deprived he quit his job as he didn’t want to put lives at risk.
He fell behind on rent payments and lost his flat, and was forced to live in his Ford Fiesta car.
Jade said: “Dean is proof that becoming homeless can happen to anyone.
“When I heard about them, I had to help and found an Emmaus hostel where he could take Huni.
"Now he’s working, and ready to retake his Gas engineer exams, so soon he will turn his life around.
“If you have depression, or addictions and you can’t function how you normally would, you need to be carried.
“If there’s no-one there, you could end up in prison, dead, or on the street.”
Jade with Dean and Huni (© Rob Trow)
Dean lived in his car (© Rob Trow)
Dean and Huni were both very underweight and Huni needs to be neutered and is being treated for a skin complaint.
But they’ll soon be back on their feet and Dean can’t express how grateful he is to Jade.
He said: “She is an absolute angel. I can’t believe how much she has done for both of us. Her kindness is extraordinary.
“I rescued Huni as she’d been used as a bait dog in dog fights. She’s been through so much. When I lost my flat I feared I'd need to give her up.
“Losing her was something I couldn’t bear the thought of. Then, when we were living in the car, she wouldn’t eat. We had nowhere to go and I was terrified of what might happen.
“But I had to be with her, she’s my world. Having Jade find us a home means we’re safe and can both have a chance at life again.
“I’m determined to get well and return to work so we can have a home again and I have her to thank for her care and compassion.”
During my time with Jade, I met some of the dogs she treats regularly including John Dolan and his Staffie George.
The pair are regulars on Shoreditch High Street with artist John using the pavement to show off his artwork.
He has been homeless on and off since he was a teenager and has written a bestselling memoir, John and George, The Dog Who Changed My Life.
George is nine and has been with John since 2011 after he rescued him from a heroin addict, paying £20 to take him away.
At the moment, George is suffering with a skin infection on his face so Jade treats him with antibiotics and cream and explains to John how to apply it.
John said: “George is my life. Having him checked and treated when he needs it and knowing he is healthy is so important to me.
“A lot of people are on the street instead of a hostel because they have to be with their dogs. They don’t want to be without them and that’s why StreetVet means so much to us.”
Jade chats to John Dolan
John's painting of George which he gave Jade as a thank you
Jade treating George
Jade finds the lack of understanding about homeless people and their animals frustrating.
She said: “If you’re a dog lover, you get it, you see how desperate they are to care for them, how frightening it must be not just for the person, but worrying their dog could come to harm.
“People who don’t appreciate the completeness of having a dog in their life might think, ‘Oh, they just get a dog because they want people to feel sorry for them and give them more money.’
“It’s about changing the perception and making people see these dogs are loved, cherished and their needs are put before the owner. They’re always well fed while the owners will do without.
“I’d like to see more hostels accept people with dogs. Owners would rather sleep on the street than leave them.
“Our focus is making sure the're healthy and get treatment if they need it and do what we can for their owners too.”