A new volunteer-run group called Helping Paws is providing veterinary care to Nanaimo pet owners who may not be able to afford it otherwise.

“It offers wellness care for dogs and cats,” said veterinarian Dr. Courtenay Large, one of the organizers. “And it’s all 100 per cent free.”

The care offered can include things such as flee and tick treatment, de-worming and vaccines, as well as treating some simple medical conditions and consults.

Large has modelled Helping Paws after a similar clinic in Victoria called Vets For Pets, for which she once volunteered.

“These pets are their family,” Large said. “To give them this basic care, they’re just overwhelmed by it.”

Once a month, the makeshift clinic is set up in the basement of St. Peter’s church in downtown Nanaimo. Volunteers see roughly 50 to 60 pets in a two-hour span.

Helping Paws is completely volunteer-based and donations are welcome.

The next clinic is scheduled for Sept. 12. For more information, visit the Helping Paws Nanaimo Facebook page.