Twice a month on Saturday afternoons, the corner of 2nd and South Main St. is standing room only.

Pets and their people are drawn there by a small sign for the Doney Memorial Clinic. It's a makeshift clinic set up in a basement of a building downtown where veterinarians treat furry patients for free.

Clients are extremely low-income -- living on less than $750 a month. They bring their pets to get basic veterinary care like vaccinations, flea treatments, and nail clippings.

Most of the pet owners don't own homes or cars, but the one thing they can count on is unconditional love.

Levonne Sudds is fighting cancer, but that doesn't stop him from wanting proper care for his dog Chrissy. They arrived to stand in line six hours before the clinic opened.

"By me living by myself, and I'm living with this sickness, she sparks my day," Levonne said.

The clients' dedication is why Dr. Stan Coe has helped run the clinic for 26 years.

"In a lot of cases, it's pretty much their whole life," Dr. Coe said. "They don't have family and that pet is their constant companion."

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Coe works alongside several volunteers, most of whom understand what it's like to need.

Lakesha Johnson began as one of Dr. Coe's clients at the Doney Memorial Clinic -- who helped her keep her dog and her spirit alive.

"Everything seems like everything's going wrong, but your pet is right there with you," Lakesha said. "They just love you, regardless of what's going wrong."

Sometimes, "man's best friend" is also his only friend. And as long as this clinic exists, that's the one thing these pet owners will never have to go without.


Doney Memorial Clinic
"The Doney Clinic is open 2-5PM on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month (no clinic on Thanksgiving weekend.) It is strongly encouraged that everyone in need of veterinary care come to The Union Gospel Mission, 318 2nd Ave Ext S, Seattle, WA, 98104 (in Pioneer Square) and line up by noon as there are a limited number of clients we can see and latecomers may be turned away unless there is a genuine emergency."

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