Since 2003, Miami veterinarian Albert Iglesias has cared for the canine companions of homeless men and women living at Chapman Partnership’s Homestead Homeless Assistance Center.
He oversees a six-unit dog kennel at the center where owners leave their dogs in good hands while they receive job training and other assistance on the path to regaining their lives.
Iglesias, who owns Tropical Park Animal Hospital, has been the official veterinarian for the dog kennel since its inception.
“I do what I love — care for animals, both as my work and in my free time. It’s my passion,” Iglesias said. “You can’t compensate the ‘thank yous’ you receive after you provide care for their companion. It’s very special.”
Pets are boarded in an up-to-date covered outdoor kennel facility where there’s also an examination room for routine veterinary care such as immunizations. Iglesias provides all services necessary at no cost, including surgery when needed.
“Dr. Iglesias’ dedication and passion is incredibly inspiring,” said Patricia Vila, marketing director of Chapman Partnership. “For Chapman Partnership it has been a blessing having him on board as our veterinarian at the kennel.”
Iglesias was assisting the homeless long before he joined Chapman Partnership. After obtaining a small animal veterinary degree at Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic and attending Purdue University to concentrate on specialties such as exotic animal medicine, he ran a mobile vet service. He noticed the number of dogs who accompanied the homeless, and he started pulling over and providing free care for the animals.
Over the years, Iglesias remained active in the community and in 2001 established Veterinary Care and Human Services (VCHS), a nonprofit providing veterinary care to the pets of the homeless throughout Miami-Dade County. The VCHS also is involved in various wildlife and conservation projects on a national level and in the Caribbean.
Iglesias gets help from the community to support the services he gives for free.
“I receive donations from pet stores, veterinary distributors and other businesses, making it possible for me to provide vaccines, pet food and anything else needed for free,” he said.
Iglesias opened Tropical Park Animal Hospital 20 years ago in West Miami-Dade. The hospital offers a full range of medical services and specialized treatments for small animals such as dogs and cats and also has facilities for avian and exotics specialized services.
For more information about Chapman Partnership, visit online at www.chapmanpartnership.org