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kayla1

Pet Medical Crisis Fund

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kayla1   

Great story, and it's good to see that all donations go directly to helping the animals. link

Pet Medical Crisis Fund established after whopping $30,000 vet bill

Updated about an hour ago

Jennifer Hunt spent $30,000 on vet bills in a year to save the life of her eight-year-old rescue border collie, Jed, and said he was worth every cent.

The registered nurse from Melbourne realised most others could not afford to do the same, so she started a charity to help them.

Nearly nine years later, the Pet Medical Crisis Fund has distributed around $350,000 to save more than 450 pets.

Jed's story

Ms Hunt adopted Jed from a rescue group but he ruptured discs in his back while chasing seagulls in 2009.

Ms Hunt's vet said surgery for Jed would cost $10,000 and he would likely be a paraplegic, so recommended putting him down.

She told the vet she did not want Jed to be put down.

"I'm a registered nurse, I fix people, and I can afford to pay," Ms Hunt said to the vet.

However that was not the end of the vet bills as Jed ruptured two more discs and required an additional $20,000 of surgery.

 

"I was told most people would put their dog to sleep and I asked 'Am I doing the wrong thing by my dog?'," Ms Hunt said.

"The vet said 'No', it was just that most people couldn't afford it."

Which was the reason why she decided to start the charity  to be able to contribute to vet expenses for people not in a financial position to pay themselves.

"It started with [Jed's] vet. I said I wanted to start a fund to help people who can't do what we've done," Ms Hunt said.

"The vet said it as a good idea and then I turned it into a charity."

The charity not only helps pet owners and their pets, but it also assists vets by not having to absorb the costs associated with treating pets free of charge.

"We've discovered we don't just help the pensioner and you don't just help the pet, you actually help the vet," she said.

"The vet is left with the scenario of being emotionally blackmailed [to treat pets for free], whether it is overt or covert they feel very much under pressure.

"Jeddy went on to live to be 17. He died three weeks ago."

 

Paying it forward

The charity has been building up its profile in Australia through people sharing their stories on Facebook and in local media.

"If we assist someone, we say 'can you help with sharing beautiful photos?' and we ask them to do a story in their local newspaper," Ms Hunt said.

The exposure in local media often results in donations to the charity.

"We usually get [in donations] what we put in for the pet back and more," she said.

"This then pays it forward to the next person.

"Most people don't feel like taking charity, so if they can pay it forward, to help the next person out [they are happy to]."

The fund criteria

The Pet Medical Crisis Fund offers a donation of $1,000 for vet bills to those who have exhausted all other options.

"Go to the bank, Centrelink, family and friends first," Ms Hunt said.

"But a lot of pensioners are isolated from family and friends. They may have burnt bridges and their pet is what keeps them going.

"Keeping people and pets together has enormous benefit in mental health and companionship for the elderly."

Once other loan options have been exhausted, the vet asks to see pet owners' healthcare cards or pension cards to ensure they have a genuine need for financial support, at which point the charity can be approached.

Ms Hunt asks the vet to do the surgery at cost so they are not using publicly-donated funds for profit.

"We limit our donation to $1,000 so it relies on the vet to reduce costs and the owner to contribute," she said.

"On some occasions this is not enough.

"We had a husky, Wolfie, who had swallowed two nails and a length of cloth. The owner got a loan through Vet Pay, but this was used up on the first night.

"We raised $5,000 and the dog is great now."

 

The Pet Crisis Medical Fund gives 100 per cent of the donated funds directly to the animals.

"I'm sick to death of hearing stories about other charities where the money people are putting in is not going straight to where it was intended [but to admin costs instead]," Ms Hunt said.

"People need to be confident where the money is going."

This year, a philanthropist has donated money specifically for Ms Hunt to focus on stopping work as a nurse, hiring help, and taking the charity nationwide.

Edited by kayla1
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