Other ideas: Talk to your veterinarian about discounts or payment plans, or see if your area veterinary association will subsidize routine or emergency care. If you or a family member needs to relocate, you may be able to secure money from an animal rescue group for a pet security deposit or get help with foster care while you get resettled.
NY S.A.V.E. helps financially strapped owners get pet emergency veterinary care in the five boroughs of New York City. But spokesperson Effie Cooper said such programs only work when pet owners effectively seek them out.
Cooper, 71, is currently caring for Buddy, a 9-year-old beagle whose owner lost his house to foreclosure. "The man works but simply couldn't find a place to live that allowed animals or a no-kill shelter. He networked through animal lovers, and one called me knowing I had recently lost my pet," she recalled.
Though Buddy grew up with a house and yard, he'll live out his days in a Manhattan apartment. And even though Cooper offered Buddy's owner the opportunity to reclaim his pet, she suspects he won’t. "[The man] was so beaten down; we won't see him again."
The Internet is proving to be another good resource for pet owners who need help. Petfinder.com, which specializes in pet adoptions, has more than 12,000 animal shelters, humane societies and rescue organizations listed on its site. Pets 911 maintains a national pet-friendly apartment-rental database.
No Paws Left Behind lets users search for no-kill shelters or foster care facilities by ZIP code. The brainchild of Cheryl Lang, president of a mortgage-default management company, No Paws Left Behind (call 866-682-3001 if you want to discuss your situation) also provides monetary assistance to pet caregivers nationwide for vet bills or security deposits required by landlords.
Should you or someone you know face the problem of caring for a pet, leave no resource unexplored. Try the resources we have mentioned above. Ask family, friends, or co-workers to care for you pet while you relocate to pet-friendly housing or get on firm financial ground. As Lang implored, "Any solution is better than dumping the animal."