‘This was my way of helping Seattle’: Local vet makes huge donation to free pet clinic

Mar 8, 2024, 6:25 PM | Updated: 6:25 pm

Photo: A visitor at the Doney Coe Pet Clinic....

A visitor at the Doney Coe Pet Clinic. (Photo courtesy of Doney Coe Pet Clinic)

(Photo courtesy of Doney Coe Pet Clinic)

The cost of pet care is going up and some families simply can’t afford much outside of maintaining their furry friends. According to the American Kennel Club, the average vet visit will cost somewhere around $250.

But, a King County service is offering a space for low-income families to take their fur babies — the Doney Coe Pet Clinic in Seattle.

The start of Doney Coe Pet Clinic

Marti Casey is on the board of directors for the clinic. She said the space opened its doors almost 40 years ago when Dr. Charles Doney saw an unhoused person with a pet by Pike Place Market. But, Doney passed away soon after the clinic opened its doors.

Fortunately, Dr. Stanley Coe promised to continue the practice with the clinic’s mission of serving families with low to no income and their pets. And so, the doors remained open. In part because a veterinarian and longtime clinic volunteer, Dr. Mona Radheshwar, closed her practice and gave all her equipment to Doney Coe.

“And then I called Marty, and I’m like, ‘Hey, you guys want to come in and have a free clinic?'” Radheshwar said. “And we worked it out and that was my graceful exit from downtown.”

Here’s her story:

“So I had been volunteering with Doney Coe for like 10 years when they were at the Union Gospel Mission,” Radheshwar said, “So I was familiar with their work, right? And then I opened my practice in downtown Seattle because there were no other practices down there. And I saw that it was going to be a neighborhood. So our clientele was very interesting because it was super high-end condo people. And then also low-income people that lived in downtown.”

And then the pandemic hit.

“The homelessness crisis arrived at our door. Okay, so we were doing so much like pro bono work, and all of this. And, it ended up being kind of my exit strategy, because I had put so much effort into building this beautiful clinic, and the community relied on it. And then, I just realized my staff didn’t want to come to work anymore because it was dangerous,” Radheshwar said.

She said the crisis caused a bunch of crazy stuff to happen.

“My receptionist was on the news, because someone drove through the back window of her Uber, like, just crazy stories, like every single day,” she explained.

What led to the large donation

But the real story, according to Radheshwar, is the homelessness crisis.

“I was literally walking over bodies every morning to get to the front door of the clinic. And to see people in so much pain, and just not be able to help them. So this was kind of, in the end, my way of helping Seattle,” she said.

That’s when Radheshwar called up Doney Coe and said she was donating everything. The cost of everything was somewhere around $150,000.

“I mean, it feels like I can help and contribute to society. Because it’s the worst feeling when you see something, and you can’t help. So this was a way that I could help,” she said.

Doney Coe has a forever home in SoDo.

Casey said the new location is very close to the stadiums at the southern end of the Chinatown-International District.

“So now we are able to operate a full-service veterinary clinic for those qualified families, which is any family that is making 200% or less of the federal poverty limit,” she said.

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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‘This was my way of helping Seattle’: Local vet makes huge donation to free pet clinic