One of my favorite reasons for writing Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog is introducing new resources to families caring for a disabled pet. My latest find is The Buddy Foundation of Maryland. It is a nonprofit group that provides financial aid for dogs in need of lifesaving procedures. The organization does everything in its power to keep a dog from being euthanized because their family cannot afford urgent veterinary care.
If you live in the state of Maryland, you are going to want to know about this group. I had the opportunity to learn about the organization during an interview with Erin McManus, Director of Development.
One animal lover started The Buddy Foundation
The Buddy Foundation of Maryland is named in honor of Jay Dackman’s beloved Basset hound, Buddy. The dog was known as the “loudest hound you ever met” and he was Jay’s best friend.
The idea for the group began after a woman, who worked in Jay’s law firm, ran into a crisis with her puppy. The dog needed an emergency surgery and the woman couldn’t afford the cost. Jay loaned her the money and the puppy’s life was saved.
After the crisis, Jay began to think about other pet owners who couldn’t pay for an urgent procedure but didn’t have anyone to ask for help.
So, he decided to start the Buddy Foundation for canine families in need. The group provides support for sick dogs who live in the state of Maryland.
In the beginning, Jay paid for surgeries out of his own pocket. And today he continues to cover the overhead expenses so the group can focus on saving dogs. To date, more than 70 dogs have received financial aid.
Here is how the application process works
Maryland dog owners can complete an application for aid on the Buddy Foundation website.
The Buddy Foundation pays up to $1,000 for a procedure. They also require the dog’s family to participate by raising a small percentage of the funds. The foundation helps owners learn how to start a GoFundMe page or do a fundraising event. The Buddy Foundation believes strongly that pet owners and their organization are in a partnership to help a dog in need.
Families must also meet these requirements:
- Show proof of income.
- Get a letter from their veterinarian about the medical necessity of the treatment.
- Provide an estimated cost for the procedure.
- Demonstrate their capability to take care of the dog before and after surgery.
- Allow the foundation to make a home visit.
- Demonstrate a willingness to fundraise part of the cost.
Here are two dogs saved by the Buddy Foundation
Colleen and the Parker family
Colleen is a two-year-old Labrador retriever/ Pit bull mix who is part of Tanya Parker’s family. Tanya tells everyone that she has 4 children, but Colleen is the only one with four paws. Colleen loves to run but had been unable to do so due to an injury in her back leg. The injury turned out to be a torn ligament in the dog’s knee that required a $1440 surgery to repair it.
The foundation was able to process Tanya’s application and do a home visit in one week. Colleen received her surgery on December 26, 2017 and her knee healed beautifully.
Izzy and the Brunet family
Izzy was adopted by Joan Brunet and her son from BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter, Inc.).
Joan explained, “Izzy was the last dog we looked at and the staff remarked that ‘she might not be the prettiest thing, with that under-bite, but she is the nicest dog we have.’ When we got outside my son said, ‘she’s not ugly and we have to take her.’ She is so loving and caring, I think she was a nurse in a previous life.”
Izzy’s family reached out to the Buddy Foundation after they were told the dog would need a $800 surgery to remove several small tumors. The surgery saved Izzy’s life because the tumors were found to be cancerous. Izzy is now on a regimen of prednisone that should stop the cancer from spreading. Her veterinarian says her prognosis looks good.
The advances in veterinary care have exploded in the past decade and unfortunately so have the costs. The Buddy Foundation plans to be there to fill the financial gap for lifesaving procedures. They do this through fundraising events, networking with veterinary groups and by gaining community awareness through their work with rescue shelters.
The Buddy Foundation understands how tough it is for families when they get hit with a bill they can’t afford. Their goal for the future is to serve more dog families in Maryland and expand to other areas in the country.