Parasites are a worldwide concern causing and transmitting multiple diseases, severely impacting the health of both animal and human populations. This is according to One Love Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating global communities on important animal welfare topics, most specifically the proper use of parasite prevention used for fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites in both dogs and cats.
One Love Pets was founded and still run by Mary Mauldin Pereira, DVM, MSc, associate professor of clinical communication, assistant dean of alumni relations, and an alumna of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine’s (Ross Vet) class of 2005. Dr. Mauldin started her mission in St. Kitts and Nevis to provide parasite prevention and treatments to animals in need and offer community outreach regarding the importance of parasite control. “There are so many ways you can help animals in need. I have an extensive parasitology background having taught the subject for eight years at Ross Vet, and that background is where founding One Love Pets really hit home,” said Dr. Mauldin. “Why not do more for preventative types of measures? I know firsthand how important it is.”
The first fundraising efforts were built on selling collar tags, a concept derived from cause-related wristbands that humans started wearing in the mid-2000s. The tags are still sold today, but as One Love Pets grew and the needs for parasite prevention and awareness spread beyond St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Mauldin and her team of dedicated volunteers, many of whom are Ross Vet alumni, began pursuing additional avenues to raise funds that can support expansion into the United States and around the world. Another alumna, Stephanye Quinn ’18, currently leads One Love Pets’ United States division and has been instrumental in the organization’s growth into U.S.-based shelters.
As the organization’s reach and impact continued to grow, Dr. Mauldin applied for and received One Love Pets’ first grant from the Adtalem Global Education Foundation in 2018. In December 2021, One Love Pets was awarded another grant totaling $55,925USD to support the organization’s growing partnership with Basseterre Animal Rescue Center (BARC). The grant benefitted BARC’s daily operations, supplemented parasite prevention and treatment expenses, and supported educational outreach and foster days in the St. Kitts community.
BARC, the first ever animal shelter to open in St. Kitts, has also become an integral component of Ross Vet’s DVM curriculum, functioning as the host site for the 7th-semester’s required shelter medicine rotations. Dr. Mauldin serves as vice chair for BARC, where volunteering on the board connected her with Andrea Peda, DVM, ’09, another Ross Vet alumna and colleague to find avenues for supporting Ross Vet’s student clubs.
The shelter medicine rotations have become one of the most popular rotations for both students and the broader community. “We started seeing about 200 local animals a semester, and now we're at roughly 1,200,” said Dr. Peda. “It’s so rewarding to see how the local community has grown up with this human animal bond, how they interact with the students and the students interact with the community members. It's so exciting to see the students shine when they're trying to educate people and the importance of these things.”
The Ross Vet community of students, faculty, and alumni are committed to educating others on the importance of animal welfare and well-being. Through community outreach days to educate locals in St. Kitts and Nevis, students impact the overall animal welfare and population in extraordinary ways and their services care for approximately 600 animals per year. One Love Pets combines their efforts with the students at each of the community outreach days to distribute knowledge on basic animal care and provide preventative products to animals in need within the St. Kitts community.