Idaho Humane Society awarded grant to support and expand veterinary care for low-income families

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IDAHO, USA — The Idaho Humane Society was awarded a $200,000 grant to help make veterinary care more accessible for low-income families.

The grant comes from PetSmart Charities. The funding will be used by the Idaho Humane Society for new veterinary staff training, improving service deliverability, and help make sure low-income families can afford a trip to the vet. 

“We had applied because vet care has completely changed within the last decade. Even in the last five years, it has changed,” Kristine Schellhaas, communications manager for the Idaho Humane Society said. “Right now across the nation, there’s a veterinary shortage. A lot of people may have experienced this themselves when trying to get their pets in for veterinary medicine.”

The Idaho Humane Society has new graduates joining their team, which requires some extra training. The new grant will help meet that need, while also making sure more people can afford a trip to the vet. 

“With this grant, we’re really looking forward to doing some new staff training. Taking a look at our processes, which might include looking at our pricing, are we offering the most competitive rate that we can,” Schellhaas said. “Are we able to get more of those low-income clients through our doors, who are really at the heart of our mission. And making sure that we can keep loving pets in their homes. We never want a pet to be euthanized that we can provide grants for, financing for, or any kind of help for through our nonprofit.”

The funding will allow the Idaho Humane Society to increase the number of appointments for low-income families, and provide urgent care for pets from families that need financial support.  

“As a nonprofit, our heart is to look at what we can do to meet the most people and help the most,” Schellhaas said. “That means that we are trying to make sure we can provide any kind of financial help that we can. We are one of the only nonprofits in the United States that will guarantee financing to anyone that walks through our doors.”

Fifty million pets in the United States experience a lack of access to basic veterinary care. 

Unexpected health issues can be one problem for pet owners – and their finances. The Idaho Humane Society says its important to take preventative measures to help avoid serious health complications.

“If we can do that education of saying, ‘Here’s one of the benefits of spaying and neutering’. And of course, that’s why we do so much for our pets before we adopt them,” Schellhaas said. “So that’s microchipping to make sure those pets can get home to their owners, that’s providing current vaccination, providing any dentals if that’s needed, spay/neuters, all of that. It’s really important for us to make sure that pet is set up for success.”

The PetSmart Charities grant is part of a nationwide $100 million program to improve access to veterinary care. PetSmart Charities says rising costs have put standard veterinary care out of reach for as many as 50% of pet-owning families. 

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