Animal people get it. Your pet is part of your family and owns an unconditional piece of your heart, forever and always. No matter how much your pet pulls at your heartstrings, however, a thousand other priorities may be furiously pulling at your paycheck during these difficult financial times, draining it dry when you need it most. Veterinary bills show no mercy despite the economic downturn, and many people find themselves making impossibly hard decisions about the lives and well-being of their very best friends, influenced more by financial affordability than by the medical options currently available. We can all use a good dose of help every now and then. Before you make a decision about Fido's future, check out this list of resources and organizations poised to support the wonderful animals we call pets and the people who love them unconditionally, even during hard times.
Veterinary Colleges – Many veterinary colleges offer lower-cost services or have onsite, cost-effective clinics available. A list of accredited veterinary colleges can be accessed here. Reach out to the one closest to you in order to find out what services are available in your area.
Red Rover Relief – Devoted to supporting pet owners, good Samaritans and animal rescuers care for pets in need of life-saving care, Red Rover Relief offers grants to individuals who cannot afford treatments needed to sustain life or quality of life for animals as well as to individuals victimized by domestic violence.
The Mosby Foundation – Named for a beloved dog who was intentionally shot and killed, The Mosby Foundation offers a variety of support including a spay and neutering financial assistance program and a fundraising program for dogs in need.
The Magic Bullet Fund – This organization offers financial support for dogs diagnosed with cancer whose families cannot afford treatment. A financial application is required.
The Dog and Cat Cancer Fund – This organization works directly with your current veterinarian to provide grants to individuals who cannot afford the care their pets need when cancer is the diagnosis. It also provides scientific grants in order to pursue new, life-saving treatments and cure possibilities.
Cats in Crisis – A non-profit organization committed to helping cats and kittens with a variety of medical conditions, Cats in Crisis offers support to families with felines in need of medical support they cannot afford.
Pet Food Stamps – This New York State non-profit can be accessed by individuals nationwide no matter what state they live in, provided they are already receiving some form of public assistance. Their mission is to close the gap left by traditional food stamps in order to help with the cost of pet food. The food is purchased through the program and delivered directly to your home.
Petco Food Bank Program – Available in many Petco stores nationwide, the Petco Food Bank Collection Program affords an opportunity for individuals to obtain free pet food for animals including dogs, cats, rabbits and birds.
There are other options you might wish to consider as well. Talk to your vet about a payment plan or barter system. You may be able to donate your services to the clinic in exchange for services your pet requires. You can also apply for a Care Credit Card, which can be utilized for other health-related needs for yourself and your family as well as your pet. If you are a union member, check to see if pet care is included in your benefits. Crowd sourcing is another option which might be a way to fundraise comfortably via your social networking outlets and The Humane Society may also be able to support your efforts if you cannot afford your pet's care at the current time.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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