What happens when a pet gets sick or injured and needs care but the pet’s owner simply does not have the financial resources to get proper medical attention?
This scenario arises from time to time and is a very difficult and often saddening situation for pet owners and veterinary care teams. Veterinary care is expensive, there’s no doubt about that. Most vets wish they could do what they do for less cost to the pet owner, but costs are very high and without an “OHIP for pets” that cost is borne by the pet owner.
Fortunately for some of our most vulnerable and at-need pet owners there is a world leader in veterinary care assistance right here in Ontario.
The Farley Foundation was established by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) in 2002. The foundation assists certain people in need by subsidizing the cost of non-elective care for sick or injured pets.
There are certain criteria that must be met by both the applicant and for the treatment or procedure being considered. Applicants must be receiving either a senior or disability benefit from the government, or be receiving financial assistance through the Ontario Works program. The foundation also provides help to women at risk of abuse entering a women’s shelter through the OVMA’s SafePet Program.
Pets’ conditions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and procedures must be deemed necessary and non-elective. Routine things such as yearly check-ups, vaccines and parasite prevention are considered part of the cost of responsible pet ownership and are never covered. The veterinarian applying for funding on behalf of the owner must be an OVMA member to qualify.
The majority of the funds raised for the Farley Foundation come from the veterinary community. Many vets, clinic staff and members of the industry are involved in a variety of initiatives to raise money for Farley. Pet owners across the province also provide support. Since the Farley Foundation is administered by staff and volunteers at the OVMA and does not use any outside organization for fundraising, 100 per cent of every dollar they have ever raised has gone directly to assist pets and owners in need. To date they have disbursed over $2 million to help more than 5,000 pets!
Other organizations across North America have tried with limited success to emulate the Farley Foundation’s efforts, but unfortunately none have been able to do anywhere nearly as well. We are very lucky to have such a generous and successful program in our province and many vets, myself included, have seen the results of the foundation’s efforts firsthand.
September and October are key months for Farley fundraising.
One of its main annual events, the “Ride for Farley,” takes place in September, and in October is the “Royal Canin Fundraise for Farley Month.” Many veterinary clinics across the province will be doing what they can during this time to raise awareness and money for Farley.
For more information on the Farley Foundation visit farleyfoundation.org.