When Fuzz arrived at Mission Animal Hospital, the situation was grim. The orange and white feline had been caught in the crossfire of neighborhood gun violence, and the cost for treating his wound seemed out of reach for his family. Thankfully, a veterinarian referred his owner to Mission, where a skilled team soon determined his injured leg would require amputation. Without Mission’s subsidized veterinary care, Fuzz’s family would have been forced to make difficult choices. Instead, he was soon home, adapting to his new life.
“Poverty impacts nearly every aspect of a person’s life, but the impact it has on pet owners and their animal companions is among the most devastating,” says Christine Durand, development director at Mission. “It’s painful to lose a pet due to old age or other natural causes, but it’s even more traumatic when a pet must be surrendered or euthanized due to financial limitations.”
Founded in 2015, Mission Animal Hospital aims to offer low-income families another option. The Minnesota-based non-profit provides a range of services, from wellness pet check-ups to urgent care surgery. Last year alone, Mission provided more than $1.5 million in subsidized care to 6,000 families. And it’s not just about pets.
“We care for their people, too,” Christine emphasizes. “We understand the human-pet bond runs deep.” That’s why Mission’s staff includes a social worker, to assist clients with difficult medical decisions, grief counseling and even housing or food insecurity. It’s a novel approach to pet care – but one Christine says pays dividends every day.
To quantify that value, Mission partnered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Ecotone Analytics. Their research found that for every dollar invested in Mission, there was a $4.64 social return, with benefits that included improved quality of life from pet companionship, lower veterinary care costs and reduced healthcare expenses for pet owners. “Those result speak to the larger social benefits of pet ownership, and the need to provide pet owners with affordable options for veterinary care,” Christine emphasizes.
Fuzz and his family certainly agree!