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When a call to VHS is a needy animal’s last hope


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“My cat accidentally slipped out the front door and was hit by a car. I’m on disability right now and don’t have enough money to cover the entire vet bill. Please, is there any way you can help me?”

This is the kind of desperate call the Vancouver Humane Society gets several times a week. As VHS’s Program Coordinator & Office Manager, I’m typically the staff member handling the calls when distraught individuals contact us in need of help because their dog, cat or other companion animal is in dire need of emergency vet care. These are low-income folks – often they are on disability, or were recently laid off and are struggling to make ends meet while searching for work, or they are pensioners on a limited income. Whatever their circumstances may be, they all have the same thing in common – they are loving and committed caregivers who simply need a bit of help during a tough time.

Unfortunately, there are always more needy animals than there are available funds and very few programs similar to VHS’s “McVitie Fund For Animals” exist. Often, those without enough funds to cover the vet bill are forced to choose between giving up their beloved companion or euthanasia. This is why the McVitie fund exists – to offer an alternative and keep already cherished animals in their forever home, instead of being surrendered to shelters or unnecessarily euthanized.

Being able to say “yes, we can help” when I receive those desperate calls and hearing the relief in the caller’s voice reminds me of the importance of such a program. Because no one should have to go without their own pain medication in order to make sure their companion animal gets the care they need, or be disadvantaged in receiving help because of a disability, or be unfairly judged due to an unexpected financial hardship when in reality they may have been the only hope for an abandoned animal in need.

I believe in the McVitie Fund For Animals whole-heartedly. I believe in the much needed service it provides and in what it represents in a society where we need to do more to help each other. I believe in the important work VHS does to help animals, so much so that as team captain for VHS in the Scotiabank Half-Marathon/5k. On June 28th, we’ll be running for the animals in what is VHS’s most important fundraiser of the year.

All of our team members have unique and personal reasons for joining this run. Mine is the McVitie Fund For Animals. So please, consider and help our team achieve our goal. Your support causes a ripple effect of happiness – for me, answering the phone at VHS, because I can say “Yes!” to the caller; then for the distraught caregiver on the other end of the line; third to the needy animal; and lastly, to the veterinarian we use who has offered his or her services to our clients at such a reduced rate.