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American Animal Hospital Association Helping Pets Fund

Thousands of pet owners across the country are trying to find temporary assistance so that they can keep their companions when they are struggling. Many people just need a little short term help to care for their cat, dog, or other pets. Veterinary practices are responding using a service known as The Helping Pets Fund. Vets can refer these individuals to that option and a variety of other assistance programs that will help. there are resources that will assist with paying veterinary bills or programs that may provide routine animal care.

For example, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) began the Helping Pets Fund in 2005 to provide grants and other free services to AAHA-accredited hospitals, with the goal of aiding owners with their pet bills that are experiencing financial hardship. Thousands of pets have been helped. Demand for assistance in tremendous, as the American Animal Hospital Association has reported that monthly inquiries for the AAHA Helping Pets Fund have tripled from year to year.

Examples of other programs and organizations include Lucky Fund at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, which is located in the state that has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates. Requests always exceed resources for New York Save Animals in Veterinary Emergency, a program of the New York City VMA. Nevertheless, these programs and others continue to assist with veterinary bills.

Helping Pets Fund

Unemployed and underemployed pet owners, including those with dogs and cats, are just some of the beneficiaries of grants to help pay vet bills from the AAHA Helping Pets Fund. Others with a short term reduction in income, such as a cut back in hours, may also get help for their pets.

Over the last several years, the Helping Pets Fund program has provided assistance to thousands of owners. The organization has treated pets of all kinds for illness or injury. The program works by providing funds and grants to various AAHA-accredited hospitals of up to $500 annually, and the money is to be used for the treatment and care of pets whose owners are experiencing financial hardship. In addition, grants of up to $200 per year are available toward the treatment of abandoned and homeless dogs, cats, and other pets.




The need for assistance is tremendous, as shown by the fact that grant applications have doubled recently. In addition, AAHA members are als8u777777 b.,o calling to ask about other sources of assistance. As the agency is involved in referring people to other programs that could help pay veterinary bills. Phone 866/443-5738.

College, association funds provide help with pet bills

In addition to the Helping Pets Fund from the American Animal Hospital Association, veterinary organizations across the country have created a number of small-scale programs that all have the goal of assisting pet owners with paying their veterinary bills. Another place to turn to is a college, as many veterinary colleges will also subsidize care for pets. The services can be held at many different places, including at teaching hospitals. In addition, some state and local veterinary associations and hospitals will offer their own assistance plans within their areas.

For example Michigan State University (MSU) offers the MSU Lucky Fund, which can be used to help subsidize veterinary bills at the teaching hospital. In particular this can aid pet owners who are out of work for other the short or long term. This fund is mostly for those pet owners who don't qualify for any other pet assistance, and maybe have poor credit, but their animals are likely to recover completely after aid is provided.

Another pet assistance program is the New York Save Animals in Veterinary Emergencyprogram. Volunteer from clinics and animal hospitals focus their resources only on emergency veterinary care. Call (212) 246-3097.





The NY SAVE program was created in 1998. Dozens of pets who need emergency care are assisted every year. The limit on financial assistance provided is $2,000. One of the reasons this program is successful is that participating veterinarians bill NY SAVE at 80 percent of the regular rate. If interested in learning more, pet owners can apply directly to the program or they can receive a referral to it from their veterinarian.

As indicated, the Helping Pets Fund, which can be reached at 866-443-5738, is a source of care for low income owners. Even if not qualified, the referrals may be given to other free or low cost Veterinary programs.

By Jon McNamara













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