As a pet owner, we all know the day may come when we’re faced with tough care decisions. But imagine what it would be like to deny life-saving care for your pet because there’s simply no way you could afford it.

For years, veterinarians have found creative ways to help clients facing impossible financial decisions like this. But thanks to VCA Charities, there’s HOPE! In October 2020, VCA Charities launched its HOPE Funds program within VCA hospitals. This program is in place to provide financial assistance to qualifying pet owners to help with the cost of emergency procedures required to save an animal when a pet owner cannot afford the full cost of treatment.

Offering HOPE

HOPE stands for Help Overcome Pet Emergencies. That’s exactly what the program does for qualified recipients—making an incredible impact in the lives of our most vulnerable clients whose pets must have emergency procedures to survive.

VCA Charities HOPE Funds program works directly with the staff at VCA Animal Hospitals located throughout the United States who know best—on the spot—when critical life-saving care is necessary, and the procedure has good outcomes. Fund recipients do not need to be an existing VCA client to apply for HOPE Funds, but treatment needs to be completed at a VCA Animal Hospital.

“Since VCA Charities first launched the program in October of 2020, we’ve awarded nearly $500,000 to support qualifying pets and pet owners in communities across the country,” shares Kim Van Syoc, executive director, VCA Charities. “In 2022 alone, we’ve granted $264,155.56 helping 271 pets. Our mission is to help pet find and remain in loving homes—HOPE Funds helps us deliver on that mission by ensuring pets have a chance at receiving much-needed care and a future with its family.”

Meet Some Deserving HOPE Funds Recipients

Sadie: This female dog was suffering from a ruptured uterus and was brought to Fort Worth Animal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Her owner was extremely thankful for the urgent assistance she received, the VCA associate shared: “Sadie came in for a follow-up this morning and her owner reports that she’s feeling SO MUCH BETTER. Without surgery for her ruptured uterus, Sadie would have died. VCA Charities HOPE Funds is the only way the owner could have afforded the emergency surgery.”

Spot: This adventurous dog came into VCA Jones Road Animal Hospital in Houston, Texas, with deep lacerations around his neck after an unplanned adventure/escape from his home. His owners were unable to afford his life-saving care, but thanks to the local VCA hospital team advocating for his support, Spot received the care he needed in part to due to HOPE Funds. Now Spot is well on his way to recovery and back to his happy self at home with his family.

Willow: This sweet female dog was in rough shape when she came to VCA Oso Creek Animal Hospital and Emergency Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, with pyometra, a severe infection in her uterus. Her family was unable to afford the life-saving care she required. “My daughter saved her own money to purchase Willow after her father died in an auto accident to help us heal from our loss,” says her mother. “The thought of telling my daughter that I couldn’t afford the care our dog needed was unbearable. But thanks to the great team at VCA and VCA Charities HOPE Funds, we can look forward to many happy years with our dog. I can’t thank you enough for the care you provided to our Willow. She’s a special member of our family!!”

Winston: This pup arrived in severe pain at VCA Carriage Hills Animal Hospital and Pet Resort in Montgomery, Alabama, with a femur diaphyseal fracture. A very grateful client shared, “Winston is doing well now after his treatment. He’s walking a little farther each day and enjoying being home with his family. He’s trying to get back to his usual self. VCA Charities HOPE Funds gave our family peace in knowing we can just come home and love our pet. There were no worries about another bill to pay. Thank you for helping our family enjoy more time with our pet.”

Yoli: This unfortunate dog had a severe medical emergency after chewing on an electrical cord where the resulting electrocution seriously impacted his lungs. Yoli was diagnosed by VCA MidWest Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center in Omaha, Nebraska, with “non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema secondary to electrical shock.” For his essential treatment, Yoli required time in an oxygen chamber, which created financial challenges for his owners. HOPE Funds supported his emergency care, allowing his owners to focus on follow-up treatment for his mouth burns from chewing the cord.

“VCA clients donate at checkout throughout North America to support HOPE Funds and our other grant programs,” says Van Syoc. “It’s their generosity that helps support life-saving procedures for pets. ”

It all Starts at the Point of Care

These stories prove the impact VCA Charities HOPE Funds have already made in the lives of animals and their people in the last few years. These examples of healing and hope would not be possible without VCA Animal Hospital associates knowing when to step in and advocate for a grant from the HOPE Funds program. In addition to HOPE Funds, VCA Animal Hospitals also discount the cost of the pet’s care by 15 percent—providing even greater financial relief for the families and ensuring VCA Charites dollars go further, helping as many pets as possible. 

“While the pet’s care is not entirely covered with HOPE Funds, the approved treatment cost is offset by up to $1,200 plus the 15% discount graciously provided by VCA,” explains Claire Lawson, VCA Charities programs coordinator who administers the HOPE Funds program. “VCA associates submit the application on behalf of clients they determine meet the requirements both medically and financially. There needs to be an emergency condition that with appropriate care has good prognosis for the pet. HOPE Funds sets clear guidelines, and we work to turn around approvals and funds as quickly as possible—often on the same day.”

Healing Funds Come From Animal Lovers Like you

While VCA does make an annual donation to VCA Charities to support its HOPE Funds and other grant programs, you might be surprised to learn that 95 percent of the funds provided to qualified applicants come directly from other animal lovers who’ve donated at the local level—right there at the hospital.

“VCA clients donate at checkout throughout North America to support HOPE Funds and our other grant programs,” says Van Syoc. “It’s their generosity that helps support life-saving procedures for pets. Without the support of VCA clients and associates, our programs wouldn’t exist—we are incredibly grateful for those whose pets receive wonderful care at a VCA hospital and then decide to pay it forward to help a pet whose owner cannot afford care. Because of the generosity of others, hundreds of pets are alive and well—and home with their families.”

“The HOPE Funds program is so wonderful for our hospitals because it gives them additional options for helping some patients whose pet owners may be struggling,” shares Diana S. Duncan, CVPM, VCA group vice president South Atlantic, and treasurer of VCA Charities. “It’s so gratifying to be able to offer this assistance to help see these pets through to successful outcomes.”

If you’d like to contribute to VCA Charities in support of programs like HOPE Funds, donate here. Or, ask to make a donation the next time you check out at a VCA Animal Hospital. And, if your pet needs emergency care, find a VCA Animal Hospital here