Americans love pets. In fact, as a nation, we own more than 83 million dogs and 95 million cats. Yet, despite our pet fascination, 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters every year – a number that continues to increase. Some experts suggest that this is due in part to the rising cost of veterinary care. Sophisticated medical treatments for an ill cat or dog can easily run into thousands of dollars, especially when they need advanced procedures, such as MRIs and bone marrow transplants.
My husband and I launched Healthy Canines after witnessing a woman reluctantly surrender her dog to a local animal shelter as we were picking up the pup we adopted. She had made this painful decision because she was unable to pay the veterinarian fees due to her pet’s ill health. Only a month later, our pup became ill – but we had the resources to take care of him.
We decided to start a nonprofit dedicated to helping pet ‘parents’ and ‘guardians’ pay for their dog’s veterinary care. The people we help are low-income families, the elderly, active/inactive members of the Armed Forces, the disabled, and those with emotional support and therapy dogs. We will do whatever is possible to keep pets in their loving homes.
Pets that are surrendered to shelters are confused, frightened, and heart-broken. Their trust in human beings becomes shattered, and their bewilderment shows in their eyes and is heard in their whimpers. Our services are limited to the State of Georgia, but we are confident that our organization will eventually serve as a model to be duplicated in other states.