Many factors contribute to pet owners not being able to afford emergency treatment for their companion animals, says Danae Davis of FACE Foundation in San Diego.
Lately, though, her nonprofit organization has been facing an unprecedented situation: Since California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide shelter-in-place order on March 19, FACE has experienced a dramatic increase in contact from pet owners who are suddenly out of work.
“Whereas prior to this in 2020, only 10% of our applicants were unemployed; this has now jumped to over 70%,” said Davis, FACE Foundation’s executive director. “We can expect this to continue and can also expect to eventually see an increase in pet owners reaching out for assistance because of this.”
Mariah Moore is among those in Southern California recently laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When Bow, her 5-year-old Great Dane, was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), Moore and her fiancé, Mason Tripp, sought financial help from family and friends first before getting in touch with FACE on March 26.
“They submitted their application online, and we followed up with them promptly, as this condition is very time sensitive to get it approved for surgery,” said Davis.
FACE’s veterinary partners provide a 25% discount on FACE procedures, and the nonprofit ensures pet owners are contributing as much as possible before FACE makes its pledge, explains Davis. Any funds approved by FACE go directly to the treating veterinary hospital.
On March 28, Bow had his surgery at the Pet Emergency & Specialty Center in La Mesa.
“Without [FACE], Bow might not be here,” said Moore. “He’s healing really fast. He’s back to his normal self.”
“We think every success story here at FACE is notable and one step closer to ending economic euthanasia,” added Davis. “We are still assisting at least one pet per day, each with their own story.”
FACE (which stands for Foundation for Animal Care and Education) has six staff members who run its operations and programs, plus about 100 volunteers who play a key role at annual fundraising events. Due to California’s shelter-in-place order, FACE’s annual Bags & Baubles auction will take place online from April 17-19. Jewelry, sunglasses and shoulder bags are among the items up for bid, with proceeds going to FACE’s life-saving programs.
At top: Mariah Moore with Bow, prior to his surgery in late March.