COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus Humane is helping pet owners afford vital care to keep their furry friends healthy and happy. They are calling it a first-of-its-kind center in the United States.

Thursday was the grand opening for the Essential Care Center in Columbus. It provides low-cost vet care, a pet food pantry and veterinary workforce development opportunities.

Services have fixed, reduced fees and owners will pay the cost upfront.

This is for existing pet owners. The center says the cost keeps many people from affording pet checkups and sick care, but this space is looking to change that.

“We had one woman who is in her 60s and she had a little beagle with her and she said this little girl is my best friend and I haven’t been able to afford veterinary care for her in 6 years,” Columbus Humane CEO Rachel Finney said.

The essential care center is open Monday through Friday by appointment. Emergency services are not offered. More information can be found here