Caring for Our Pets When Economic Times are Hard

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A recent report from San Diego’s public television station KPBS highlighted some sobering statistics about how many people in our county, as well as nationwide, are struggling financially. The poverty rate here in San Diego County is higher today than it was during the great recession, rising from 12.3% to 14.5%–with 450,000 people currently living below the federal poverty line ($12,082 per individual annually). U.S. census data shows that 13.5% of Americans live below the poverty threshold nationwide.

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FACE provides financial assistance to qualified families to help them pay for all or part of their pets’ emergency and critical care veterinary services. According to our 2016 statistics, 50% of our grantees had an annual income of $26,000 or less. Here in San Diego County, where the cost of living is quite high, $26,000 is less than the living wage for one person.

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What does all this mean for pet owners facing economic hard times? While the basic cost of pet ownership ranges from around $350-$550 per year (with roughly $1,000 of expenses during the first year of ownership), a veterinary emergency could lead to thousands of dollars of unexpected expenses. What happens when a pet owner simply can’t afford treatment? Sadly, economic euthanasia is often the only alternative. While it’s hard to find official statistics on economic euthanasia rates, animal welfare and veterinary experts estimate that between 10% and 12% of all pet euthanasia occurs for economic reasons.

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The pets of low income families face many hardships, even if they never experience a veterinary emergency. Low income pet owners in rural areas can find themselves miles away from the nearest pet store or veterinarian. In urban areas with high poverty rates, veterinary services are also scarce, and pet owners often face transportation issues.

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Helping pets in low income households is truly a community effort. Besides non-profits that provide financial assistance for veterinary care, like FACE, there are other ways communities have shown compassion for pets in need. Many veterinary schools offer free clinics, animal welfare organizations bring mobile, low-cost spay/neuter services to underserved areas, food pantries are expanding to include pet food and supplies, and specialized programs exist for the pets of veterans, the homeless, and the elderly.

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Pets provide love, comfort, companionship, and even health benefits to their owners, regardless of income. That’s why it’s so important to do all we can to ensure that all pets remain healthy and happy members of their families. Here is a comprehensive list of organizations providing financial assistance to pet owners in the U.S.

 

A Look Back at 2016

Roxie

Roxie

It’s hard to believe the year 2016 is almost history! As we look forward to 2017, and working with our awesome veterinary partners to save the lives of beloved family pets in need of emergency medical care, we thought we’d take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the past year.

Mogget

Mogget

The year 2016 marked FACE’s 10th anniversary. From 2006 to 2016, we have helped save over 1,600 lives.

Rex

Rex

We are one of a small handful of U.S. non-profits with a mission to save family pets from the tragedy of economic euthanasia. We began with one hospital partner…today we have over 125 veterinary partners throughout San Diego County. Our partners discount their services by at least 25% for FACE cases.

Maggy

Maggy

As of 2016, our Humane Education program has positively impacted over 800 youth in our community. Our brand-new program, Roxy’s Dental Clinic, has provided free dental care to 15 pets who were former FACE grantees.

Olaf

Olaf

We are also celebrating our partnership with the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo. To date, they have granted FACE over $30,000 to help save pets with cancer…something we have never been able to do before.

Koa

Koa

Thanks to all of our friends and supporters for a great 2016…we can’t wait for next year!

 

Happy Holidays from FACE!

Lucky

Lucky

Warmest wishes for a Happy Holiday…

Venice

Venice

From our family to yours!

Collin and his Mom

Collin and his Mom

Here are a just few FACE Success Stories…beloved family pets we were able to help save, thanks to all of our generous supporters!

Otis

Otis

Juan Diego

Juan Diego

Mama

Mama

Pup from FACE outreach at Brother Benno's

Pup from FACE outreach at Brother Benno’s

 

A FACE in the Spotlight: Meet Dr. Carrie Bone

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FACE held its first-ever cat dental clinic this month, treating four kitties who received past grants for emergency veterinary care, to ensure that these grantees could continue to lead healthy lives. This clinic would not have been possible without the generous assistance of Dr. Carrie Bone and her colleagues at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital. They donated their time and expertise, and along with funds from Roxy’s Dental Fund (which assists FACE grantees with dental care costs), these deserving kitties were able to get much-needed dental care.

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La Jolla Veterinary Hospital has been a long-time supporter of FACE’s mission to provide financial assistance to families with pets who need life-saving veterinary care. While their particular clientele does not necessarily need this assistance, the practice is committed to helping pets in need whenever they can. Dr. Bone joined La Jolla Vet one year ago, after practicing for 10 years in North San Diego County, and has enthusiastically embraced the cause.

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“FACE has always been there as an option when times and decisions are tough,” she notes. “It’s an opening when many other doors seem closed.” She cites an example from the dental clinic. One of the patients received a FACE grant to treat a urinary blockage. The cat’s urinary problems were under control with a special diet, but his teeth had severe tartar build-up and infection. “Both the urinary issues and the dental disease are very treatable health issues in animals. They can cause suffering if not addressed,” explains Dr. Bone. “But addressing these problems does incur costs which can sometimes be limiting. So, with the help of FACE, this cat’s quality of life truly improved, and he will hopefully be happy and healthy for a long time to come.”

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Dr. Bone’s commitment to her patients is inspiring. “I like to be the one who translates animal health and medicine to the owners who love their pets so much. I like to see how pets can make people so happy, and vice versa,” she says. Her goal is clear: “I mostly like keeping the healthy animals healthy and making the sick ones better!”

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When not working, Dr. Bone enjoys spending time with her dog “Larry Bird”—a terrier mix whose handsome good looks *almost* make up for his naughty behavior! She loves taking him out on neighborhood “smell-a-thons” and also likes to go to concerts and surf.

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FACE thanks Dr. Carrie Bone and everyone at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital for making our first cat dental clinic possible, as well as for all of the generous support they have provided over the years. We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing veterinary partners and we are grateful for their dedication and support!

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wishing all of our friends a Happy Thanksgiving!  We’d like to extend a special thanks to our partners at the Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo for their generous grant to FACE’s Save-A-Life Program pet cancer fund.  Cute little Chaquita is just one of the recipients of this grant.  She received assistance in October and is doing well.  Check our Facebook page in the coming weeks to see more cancer fund recipients.