ASK THE VETS
By Dr. Kim Anderka and Dr. Christina Douthwaite
I have heard of funding available to seniors for pet care-how does that work?
The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association started a charity known as the Farley Foundation in 2002. You may recognize the mascot of this foundation as the comic strip dog, Farley who was created by Lynn Johnston.
Since it’s founding year, it has assisted more than 8000 low-income pet owners by helping to fund non-elective care for their pets in need.
Studies have shown that the human-animal bond has a beneficial effect on the mental and physical health and well being of a pet owner. These benefits have been demonstrated in scientific studies and include reduced stress levels, reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and fewer heart attacks. In addition, nursing homes that use companion animal therapy have experienced a significant drop in the use of prescription drugs.
Recognizing what a crucial role our pets play in overall health, this foundation strives to cover unexpected, necessary or emergency care to people who otherwise might not be able to afford it. Routine veterinary care such as examinations, vaccinations and pet food are part of responsible pet ownership and are not eligible for funding. The goal of the Farley Foundation is to preserve this important bond in a situation that might otherwise lead to the difficult financial decision of surrender or euthanasia. This foundation relies solely on donations to provide this assistance.
In order to qualify for funding under the Farley foundation, a pet owner must meet specific criteria such as: they must be receiving the Federal Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS); or the Canada Pension Plan Disability Payment (CPP Disability); or the Ontario Disability Support Payment (ODSP); or be a participant of the OVMA SafePet program which assists women at risk of abuse who are entering a women’s shelter in Ontario. There are 2 other situations that may also qualify. Your veterinary clinic must also be a member of the OVMA and there is a maximum yearly limit per clinic that they may apply for.
Across Ontario for the month of October, some veterinary clinics are participating in “Fundraise for Farley” month. For more information or to donate to this important cause, speak to your veterinarian or visit www.farelyfoundation.org