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I'm in a Facebook group for dog and cats with luxating patellas and someone just posted a gofundme for THEIR dog's knee surgery. Literally everyone in that group is going through the same thing. I'm still paying off care credit for that surgery from over a year ago and I would never think of begging for money from strangers. That was a choice I made for my dog and I will take responsibility for it.

Unexpected emergencies are different, but situations like this rub me the wrong way. I would never ask strangers for money- I knew having a pet would be expensive. I knew I was taking a risk in adopting a dog with unknown origins.

What do you think? Does online fundraising give people the opportunity to give their pets a better life that they wouldn't have had in the past, or is it passing off your own responsibility to strangers and acquaintances?

I have mixed feelings but I don't know if I could ever bring myself to ask for other people to pay for my pet unless it was a dire emergency.
 

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I guess, for me, it depends on how they go about it and what the situation is. Like, I know a young girl that has a dog that's back legs have been paralyzed for a few years. I think the dog really needs a wheelchair so that it can get around and experience what it's like to run again, but the parents haven't got one. I'd like her to get some help.

If a person truly has no other way to get the needed care for an emergency for their dog then I can't criticize them for looking for outside help. I wish there were low cost clinics where techs and vets volunteer some of their time to help people and offer more affordable options. I don't see how someone that has the skills and means to help save a life, can turn injured and sick animals away. I assume that's why most of them go into the field. For their love of animals. How then can they turn an animal away that they have the ability to save? Human doctors do that too. How can their conscience be okay with doing that?
 

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To me, it isn’t passing it off on others because they can’t MAKE you contribute. They are offing others the chance to get involved if they want to. I personally wouldn’t choose that method but I don’t begrudge them the right to do so.


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Vet care is getting so ridiculously expensive anymore. I know from what my vet charges to prices I see posted here for the exact same procedures that a lot of vets are making a Huge amount of profit and many now days require people pay in full before they will help out a pet.

So I can see how people can be driven to ask for help.

With AU this year... I had some money and was going to get some eye glasses, but it turned out he was in pain and needed urgent surgery on his hips...hip dysplasia. I mentioned on the forum that my eye glasses would have to wait and I gave my vet a down payment of $600 instead.

I got a PM later from a kind person here, who had a friend who helps people by raising money for their pets in need of medical care. It was just a Facebook page request set up...but some very generous people... none of them who knew me...not only helped me pay for AU's hip surgeries, but also sent some money to my PayPal account and that gave me enough money to pay down a bit more than 1/3 for a pair of glasses.

I didn't get the nicer frames I wanted (in fact, I picked my frame out of the discontinued bin...paying $35 for them over the starting price of $120 for basic frames on display). I also didn't get the non-glare option either. When I thought I had the money I was going to treat myself to glasses I wanted, and not just ones that would do. But I didn't do that once I was looking at AU's 2 hip surgeries and knowing I was spending other people's money to help me pay for those things. So, money I saved on getting cheaper glasses, went to AU too.

I'm poor, but I'm willing to give up what I can for my pet's care. The vet care here is Super Inexpensive compared to other areas...but without the help of the poster here and those who called in donations...I would probably still be making monthly payments on those surgeries...and be without new glasses.

But too, I didn't ask for help... it was given to me. But I guess if it was coming down to a life and death situation and I was out of funds and the vet wouldn't allow payments... I would be out on the street rattling a begger's bowl asking for help to save my pets. I have no pride when it comes to that. But if I can try to figure it out, I try to pay my bills with what I have and by doing without other things.

What bothers me though, is that a lot of people are not using crowd funding as a last resort. They don't want to give up their DISH t.v. for a few months, or eat ramen noodles rather than steak dinners...etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Stormy I think I have similar feelings to yours and it could be a good tool as a last resort in an emergency or for someone who really is struggling, but IÂ’m also seeing it be abused so often by people who probably can figure out how to pay on their own, they just donÂ’t want to. Some people who I know for a fact are better off financially than I am.
 

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I see no problem with crowd funding, it used to be normal in community organisations like churches, country women's associations etc...

It can overwhelm pages though so I'm not sure about it in the quantity it's going on, this is one of those issues that will get worked out further into the digital age. Technology is moving so fast our community initiatives haven't caught up yet.

As it is, I either fund it or don't and try to move on.
 

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If a person truly has no other way to get the needed care for an emergency for their dog then I can't criticize them for looking for outside help. I wish there were low cost clinics where techs and vets volunteer some of their time to help people and offer more affordable options. I don't see how someone that has the skills and means to help save a life, can turn injured and sick animals away. I assume that's why most of them go into the field. For their love of animals. How then can they turn an animal away that they have the ability to save? Human doctors do that too. How can their conscience be okay with doing that?
They have no choice, they can't assess people's financials and they get asked enough that they would actually go out of business and not be able to help anyone.

My vet uses their time and resources to help the local wildlife rehab, desex and treat animals for the shelter and will in an emergency treat an animal for free if the owner surrenders it. I feel like this is the best they can do.
 

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I'd ask for help as a last resort, and do so only after I have exhausted everything I can personally do to get my boy the care he needed. I think that when people accept help for animal care, that they do not desperately need, they are taking that help from someone that does desperately need it. There is only so much help to go around.

I've had emergencies come up with Zody, and have had him need unexpected trips to the vet, but I've not asked friends or family for help paying for his care, I've either put the vet trips on my credit card, or done without stuff that month that I wanted or needed.

Ever wonder why those GoFundMe campaigns hardly raise any money? It's because everyone and their grandmother have one and the people who may have contributed no longer do so. Look how many we get on here. Have any of y'all donated to them?
 

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..........My vet uses their time and resources to help the local wildlife rehab, desex and treat animals for the shelter and will in an emergency treat an animal for free if the owner surrenders it. I feel like this is the best they can do.
I think that's the cruelest thing ever to do to someone, to give up their dog in order to let their dog live. Some people are not capable of pulling out a huge wad of cash to pay for a major needed surgery.

If the vet is willing to treat the animal for free...they should just do it and then ask for payments from the owners and at least try to recover some or all of the cost over time.

Many owners, can and do bring in their pets when needing to get them their shots, or it has an ear infection or needs a bad tooth taken care of, but they can't come up with several thousand dollars all at once to get their beloved pet some emergency care.

I think sometimes a vet can see that an animal is matted or under nourished and can see evidence the animal isn't getting basic care...so in that case, requesting a surrender could be in order - but it shouldn't be the policy to do that with everyone who can't whip out their credit card, or cough up the cash. It's just wrong too that if a dog has a good home, to separate it from it's beloved (if not super rich) family at such a painful stressful time in it's life.

Stormy
 

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I think that's the cruelest thing ever to do to someone, to give up their dog in order to let their dog live. Some people are not capable of pulling out a huge wad of cash to pay for a major needed surgery.

If the vet is willing to treat the animal for free...they should just do it and then ask for payments from the owners and at least try to recover some or all of the cost over time.

Many owners, can and do bring in their pets when needing to get them their shots, or it has an ear infection or needs a bad tooth taken care of, but they can't come up with several thousand dollars all at once to get their beloved pet some emergency care.

I think sometimes a vet can see that an animal is matted or under nourished and can see evidence the animal isn't getting basic care...so in that case, requesting a surrender could be in order - but it shouldn't be the policy to do that with everyone who can't whip out their credit card, or cough up the cash. It's just wrong too that if a dog has a good home, to separate it from it's beloved (if not super rich) family at such a painful stressful time in it's life.

Stormy
I can see and accept your view here but I take the view that they are offering an alternative to euthanasia for a beloved pet. Sometimes it's enough to make someone re evaluate their budget and find a way to work it out with the vet. Sometimes it's an opportunity for someone to be able to give their pet a better life as the vet takes a great deal of care to find a good home. I've only seen it happen once in a year.

The vet has to make money to stay operational, they don't force people to take this option, there are other vets in the area that offer lower cost services and I believe payment plans. They are doing their best to meet the needs of the community while meeting their own.
 

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They have no choice, they can't assess people's financials and they get asked enough that they would actually go out of business and not be able to help anyone.

My vet uses their time and resources to help the local wildlife rehab, desex and treat animals for the shelter and will in an emergency treat an animal for free if the owner surrenders it. I feel like this is the best they can do.
I do agree with what you said, but I still don't see how they can live with themselves and have a clear conscience if they don't offer what they can at more affordable rates. That could include helping rehab centers or low cost clinics on occasion. The tv Series Dr. Jeff and all the staff there believe in not turning away patients and in helping when they can.

I "thought" I had to see a vet dermatologist recently. It was a completely useless visit where I literally got no information at all. I had about a 15 min conversation, no tests and a very cursory exam of feet and mouth. I was charged $170. smh.
 

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I can see and accept your view here but I take the view that they are offering an alternative to euthanasia for a beloved pet. Sometimes it's enough to make someone re evaluate their budget and find a way to work it out with the vet. Sometimes it's an opportunity for someone to be able to give their pet a better life as the vet takes a great deal of care to find a good home. I've only seen it happen once in a year.

The vet has to make money to stay operational, they don't force people to take this option, there are other vets in the area that offer lower cost services and I believe payment plans. They are doing their best to meet the needs of the community while meeting their own.
They don't "Force" people to take the option of giving up their pet, but what kind of "choice" is that? Do what you can to save your pet and in doing so give it up, or let it die? That's not an option. It would kill me to have to make that choice. What an awful and horrible thing to have happen. There needs to be options for payment plans available. No one should have an animal die that can be saved, just because they can't pay in cash or get a charge card.
 

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Personally, I would have my pet put to sleep before I was told by a vet that they would not treat it unless I surrendered it...but yet...they could/would fix it for free.
Either way, I Lose My Beloved pet.

But in putting it to sleep, I know for a fact my pet will never feel pain again, nor feel the confusion and sadness from being separated from me. Nor the chance it could get stuck in limbo...being sent from one foster home to another or having to hang out in a cage/kennel area where dogs are barking all the time and it might not ever get any other home than that.

Also, some pets bond so firmly with their owners that no other owner will ever be the same for them even if someone did adopt the pet. That pet will spend the rest of it's life, living in a home but never bonding with anyone there.

Also, to me, it's just rubbing salt into my emotional wounds...knowing they have the financial resources to patch up my dog for free...but won't do it because they are biased against poor people and feel that people with low incomes don't deserve to keep their pet if they can't come up with several thousand dollars for an emergency procedure.

Stormy
 

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I see where people are coming from about losing a pet to surrender in order to save it but let me just say, I have seen SO MANY pets rescued from horrible neglectful owners through this and similar policies. So many. I wish I hadn’t seen so many people who don’t care about their pets and would rather just give the pet away but I have. Over and over and over again. All of these people claim they “can’t afford” treatment but really they just don’t want to and don’t value the pet. This policy saves those pets.

Obviously most vets are very compassionate people. Payment plans are often possible even if it’s against policy. I once had to take my dog to the vet right after 3 other major unexpected financial issues. I thought she had a bowl impaction and would need surgery. I was sobbing. I said “This stupid dog should have done this two weeks ago! Any other week I would have money! I have $500. That’s it. That’s all I have. That’s not even true; I hav like $30 but I think I can get $500 somehow. I think I can get it.” I thought my dog was going to die because of my money issues. The vets did over $3k of tests and procedures on her. The bill? $500. I cried again. And they let me make tiny monthly payments. One month my payment was $5 because that’s all I had.

The point I’m trying to make is that the policy of owner surrender for free treatment is a good one used to save pets. But vets aren’t looking to steal your loved, well cared for pet; they will almost always help you find a solution.


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The simple answer is that no one has a clear conscience, we make the best decisions we can to meet our own needs and find value in life.

I work in private health, I consistently struggle with the idea of charging for services. If I could run a free clinic I would, in fact I do as much as I can because I run outreach clinics for a government program on the side. I can not meet my financial needs without the private network and since the public system will not fund some of the services I can provide it's also the only way I can service other people's needs. Still, it drives me to find solutions.

I can't imagine the stress vets are under.
 

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Whenever I can, I donate to a local shelter intervention group. It's not uncommon for a poor family to bring their dog to my local shelter as a last resort. In fact, just 20 minutes ago, I donated a bit to help a dog that needed ear surgery.

The mission of that group is to help the families cover vet bills so that they can keep their pets at home. I agree that it's cruel to both the owners, and especially the pets, to expect the families to give up their pets in order to secure vet care.

Personally, I prefer going through this organization than to donate to a Gofundme page. I'd like to know that there is some oversight, and that my money will be spent in the way in which I intended.
 

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I couldn’t agree with you more. This go fund me thing is becoming a scam and an easy way for people to get others to pay for whatever. I belong to a site of more than 20,000 people… 47 subdivisions within a 10 mile radius of me. Someone got taken badly by a crooked auto repair shop. He lost a couple thousand dollars and someone suggested starting a go fund me to pay him back for his loss. That’s insane.
You don’t know who you’re giving money to, and you don’t know whether it’s a legitimate need. Why should I be asked to pay for someone else’s car repair or in your case someone else’s dog surgery.? This could go on forever and people will be paying for anything the owner has a whim to collect and let someone else pay for.
 

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I do think that they have become overly common. That said, I think they do more good than bad. I've seen a lot of people in the service dog world helped by them.

I actually know of a dog world acquaintance currently using one for unexpected medical bills for one of their breeding dogs. They did a surgical AI for a bitch (common for semen with low motility, most commonly frozen but sometimes belonging to an older dog as well), and she developed an infection. She ended up needing 2 additional surgeries, the second of which involved removing her sex organs and I believe part of her bowel. She's been in the ICU for several weeks hooked up to machines and keeps getting slightly better and then worse again. They've maxed out their credit cards at over 20,000, and they have a whole ton of bills they've yet to accrue. They've managed to raise almost 10,000 to offset some of the cost. Without the benefit of a GoFundMe I have to imagine they'd be in quite a different situation.
 

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I have no problem with individuals crowd funding for their pets, or anything else they want to. I usually don't donate (I did give my boss $100 toward her newly adopted dog's $4500 surgery for a pre-existing condition she didn't know would require surgery, as I had intended to pitch in toward his care before she adopted him- it was a drop in the bucket but with various people fundraising, her portion was much more manageable), as my money is already allocated toward my own island of misfits' various needs, but if others want to, and an individual has that many people who want to help them, great! I don't think I would do it (but I've never been that desperate and hope my luck continues), but it's not hurting me.

knowing they have the financial resources to patch up my dog for free
I can't speak for other veterinary offices, but where I work, if a doctor is offering for an individual to sign over their pet in order for it to receive medical treatment, it is because a staff member has offered to be responsible for their care, INCLUDING their bill. Whether that staff member pulls cash out of their pocket right then to pay, or fundraises the needed funds (often getting a discounted rate as an employee, but still), they are on the hook for the bill, regardless of the outcome (have more than once seen coworkers stuck with a bill for a dog who did not make it). Scenarios like this are usually reserved for situations in which an animal obviously isn't getting the care it needs in it's current home (lack of basic care standards/neglect; easily preventable injuries/illnesses), or will require extensive treatment which will be difficult/unfeasible for the owner over the long term.Often it occurs when an owner requests euthanasia (either due to funds, unwillingness to provide supportive care, or reluctance to "put dog through" treatment), and vets or staff are reluctant to do it based on the dog's prognosis with care. Also, a vet "working with" a client to allow payments or discount services, or offer alternative, less expensive treatment options which may not be as ideal as the gold standard; does not protect the doctor from liability in the event of an unfavorable outcome, which I would imagine is sometimes a factor in these situations.

It is not uncommon for an owner to indicate that they can't possibly afford to have their dog's fractured leg repaired with a plate by an orthopedic specialist, begging for a splint to be placed despite it not being ideal or in some cases even likely to result in a functional leg, only to complain when that scenario plays out as predicted. There certainly are clients who make a legitimate effort to pay a bill if allowed to make payments, however they are the minority in the area I work in. The vast majority of individuals only make an effort to pay when they bring another animal for a visit, and only the bare minimum required to be seen that day. Sometimes we don't see these individuals until they have another emergency situation, in which case we rush their injured dog back for treatment only to find that they still owe $600 from their last dog's visit which they've never bothered to pay a dime toward, despite it having been 3 years and them having had money to "get rid of" that dog and get a replacement. These same people, if we tell them we need some kind of payment to treat their dog, will complain loudly that it is unfair that we won't work with owners to get animals the treatment they need when THEY are THE reason we try to avoid billing.

As an individual, I hate telling an owner that they can't receive care for their pet due to lack of funds; however, as an employee, I understand why most vets have that policy. It is one of the more difficult parts of my job, which I otherwise enjoy.

I can attest to the fact that a vet is more likely to allow an established, regular client to make payments or receive a discount than someone who only appears from the woodwork when things are dire. It is absolutely worthwhile to form a good relationship with your vet while your pets are healthy, and ask questions about these sort of situations so you can have a plan in place.
 
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