$5,000 — Veterinary Financial Assistance for Teton Valley Residents
The Community Foundation’s Grant Committee fully funded PAWS of Jackson Hole’s Competitive Grant that was both compassionate and strategic in nature. PAWS understands that sometimes people and their pets need veterinary help. When an owner can’t afford to pay for a vet, pets go without proper care. Whether a pet has an unfortunate accident or a sudden illness, this can mean financial hardship for local families. PAWS MedFund provides supplemental funding to special vet cases and this grant marks their expansion of this program to Teton Valley.
By nature, rural communities have more companion animals per family than cities; however, these same areas are serviced by fewer veterinary clinics because small towns cannot offer the same amenities as cities. Rural vets sometimes sacrifice part of their income to those who can’t or don’t pay. In cases of pet owners who are unable to afford services or choose not to pay their bill, the veterinarian covers the debt personally. In the hardest situations, an animal suffers after an accident or illness because their person couldn’t afford veterinary help. When a person declines veterinary help, their pet may return home with an untreated broken bone, laceration, ear infection or other highly treatable condition. An unexpected illness or wound can
The PAWS MedFund Program has been working in Jackson since 2001 to help ensure available assistance for suffering animals and to relieve some of the burden from local vets to ensure veterinarian services remain open and available in the area. Through this program, PAWS offers up to $350, one-time/per owner, towards an unexpected veterinary visit. If a dog or cat needs something routine like shots or a routine teeth-cleaning, the visit does not qualify. They believe owners should be able to care of everyday needs of their pets; however, when a disaster or illness strikes a pet, MedFund can assure that the dog or cat receives veterinary care, and $350 is enough to help an owner make a decision for their animal that is not based on finances. MedFund is not directly advertised. Veterinarian offices let clients know about PAWS MedFund when a client indicates financial stress, or we receive a call when there is a pet in need within the community. After pet owners are referred to PAWS, they fill out a form and conduct a brief interview with PAWS staff. If the situation warrants assistance, PAWS pays up to $350 directly to the veterinarian who does the procedure.
PAWS estimates that with the Community Foundation’s grant they will be able to help an estimated 14 pets and their owners if they fully fund at $350 per incident. Additionally, PAWS plans to double their funding for Teton Valley’s MedFund Program this year through private donations. The MedFund program relies on PAWS staff to handle applications and calls with both the pet owner and veterinarian. They also process payments to the veterinarians post-procedure and track MedFund use and expenditure. The Foundation appreciates the compassion and strategy that accompany this grant to provide pets, people, and veterinarians the support they need to ensure a healthy community for all parties.