Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine gets calls frequently asking for free or reduced cost services.
Don’t misread this and assume these calls are exclusively for clinical services in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. While the majority are for such, still a few are from people or companies wanting “free research services.”
There are people around who believe that since the VTH is owned by the state, services must be free or deeply discounted. Nope. We are a fee-for-service facility like many state owned resources. And when it comes to undercutting private practices, we just don’t have the ability to give away state resources like that.
We do have a program in our teaching hospital that is in perpetual need; the Good Samaritan Fund. It was started in the mid-1990s by WSU veterinary students to help animals in need of special care but whose owners could not afford treatment.
Today that mission has broadened slightly, and includes funding that may benefit accepting a very unique case that provides a unique teaching opportunity for veterinary students. Unknown ownership, or ownerless animals in need can also have an application made on their behalf.
An “unknown ownership,” patient might be say, a dog with no identification hit by a car. But perhaps the dog is well groomed, well fed and shows it is likely to be an owned animal. Good Sam funds, (as we refer to them) could be applied until ownership is established. An “ownerless” animal is one that has obviously been living at large for some time with no identification.
Good Sam funds are only awarded to treat common companion animals only at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at WSU. Because the fund is always in need, there are significant limits on eligibility and the amount of funding awarded.
Eligible patients must have a need for life saving procedures and a reasonable prognosis for good long-term recovery. Patients will be either ownerless or owned by clients that cannot pay for care because of circumstances beyond the client’s control. Unowned patients must have a temperament that does not prohibit transfer to a new owner.
Animals from animal control agencies, humane societies and business entities are not eligible for funds. The reason is, they are in fact owners of the animals they hold for placement. The college does many other things to benefit local and regional shelters. It is uncommon that are we able to provide the entire $1,000 upper limit toward a case. Owners are always responsible for some portion of the final billing not covered by Good Sam.
The team that reviews each application does so quickly. They have my total respect for their difficult task where needs far outstrip the fund’s ability to help. You can make application beginning here: vth.vetmed.wsu.edu/good-samaritan.
On that same page, you can donate funds, too. The end of the year is near and donations are tax deductible. You might want to consider making a donation to the WSU Foundation and directing it to the Good Samaritan Fund.The Good Samaritan originated as a biblical parable in the book of Luke. A traveler was beaten, stripped, robbed and left for dead. A priest came along and avoided the man. So did a Levite. It was the third person who earned the title Good Samaritan for stopping and rendering aid in the form of bandaging and applying oil and wine to the wounds.The Good Samaritan then loaded the man on his animal and took him to an inn for care. Thank goodness for both Good Samaritans and healthy animals.
Charlie Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. For questions or concerns about animals you’d like to read about, email email@example.com.