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Farley Foundation 
If you have pets, you already know the joy and love they bring to your life. Now science is confirming just how good they really are for you – both mentally and physically. Pets are apparently great oxytocin boosters!
Recent studies (here, here and here) have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. They can increase opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Pets can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship.
However, there may come a time when some people face an awful truth. Their much-loved pet needs a critical procedure or treatment and they lack the means to pay for treatment.
This places the pet owner in a distressing predicament that has only two possible outcomes – neither of them good. The choice is stark – decline non-elective treatment, or possibly euthanize.
Not only is the health of a beloved pet at risk, so is the potential health of the owner.
Thankfully, there’s a third option.
What is the Farley Foundation?
The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) established the Farley Foundation – a registered charity – in 2002 because they (and we) believe there needs be a potential third option – to get financial help for those who need it. The goal is to help pet owners who aren’t able to afford necessary or emergency veterinary care for their beloved pets.
The funds distributed by the Farley Foundation are a direct result of OVMA-member veterinarians fundraising efforts, big-hearted donations from the public and sponsors.
The Cabbagetown Pet Clinic has been actively involved with this growing initiative since 2012 and has raised thousands of dollars through bottle drives, garage and bake sales and raffles. This success could not have been accomplished without incredible support from Cabbagetown residents, veterinary partners and the local business community. In turn, these civic-minded Cabbagetown citizens and businesses have helped support many local pet lovers in need.
Who is Farley ?
The Farley Foundation name pays homage to one of Canada’s most renowned pets – Farley, the Old English sheep dog – from Lynn Johnston’s internationally acclaimed comic strip, “For Better or For Worse”. Her comic strip chronicles the life of the Patterson family, and has appeared in more than 2,000 newspapers worldwide.
In 2001, Lynn Johnston generously allowed one of her most beloved characters – Farley – to be the face of the Foundation to help promote it’s philanthropic efforts. Famously, the treasured Farley character dies after saving a family member who had fallen into a raging river.
Farley’s image helps to promote awareness of the Foundation, making it possible for thousands of low-income pet owners to continue the relationship with their pets who mean the world to them.
Who we help.
The Farley Foundation assists those who are struggling financially to pay for veterinary care for their pets. Pet owners who cannot afford medical care for their sick or injured pet are encouraged to talk with their veterinarian about the availability of Farley Foundation funding, if they fall into one of the categories below:
- Seniors receiving the Federal Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
- Disabled individuals receiving the Ontario Disability Support Payment (ODSP) or the Canada Pension Plan Disability Payment (CPP Disability).
- Individuals receiving assistance through the Ontario Works Program.
- Persons with an annual income of less than $25,000.
- Supportive housing for seniors, retirement homes or long-term care facilities with live-in pets.
- Women at risk of abuse who are entering a registered Ontario women’s shelter and who are participating in OVMA’s SafePet Program.
If the above requirements are met, funding is available to subsidize the treatment of any animal whose primary purpose is companionship, without restriction on the species of animal. If the pet owner doesn’t meet these criteria, they’re not eligible to receive Farley funding.
What’s covered… and what’s not.
The Farley Foundation provides funding for non-elective procedures or treatments such as surgery (including some dental surgery), diagnostics and hospitalization.
It is important to understand that there are a couple caveats associated with this financial assistance program.
The Farley Foundation does not deal directly with pet owners. Pet owners interested in the program are required apply for assistance through their regular veterinary clinic. Pet owners must have a pre-existing veterinary-client-patient relationship with the practice from which they’re seeking funding. Status updates on the application are also handled through their clinic.
Ineligible treatments include:
- Routine physical examinations and vaccinations.
- Spays and Neuters. (unless it is deemed essential to the continued health of the animal)
- General Prophylactic Dental Care.
- Food and Medications.
To date, the Farley Foundation has disbursed more than $4 million to assist nearly 10,000 pet owners in need. Donations in excess of $25.00 can be claimed as a charitable deduction.