By Linda Cole
As responsible pet owners, we do our best to make sure our animal companions live long and healthy lives. We make sure they get adequate exercise, regular vet checkups and important vaccinations, and feed them a high quality pet food like CANIDAE. Sometimes even all of that is not enough to keep our furry friends from getting sick, and when a beloved pet has a serious illness or injury, it can create a financial burden. The Brodie Fund was created to help pet owners who need financial assistance for a pet undergoing treatment for cancer.
It’s estimated that around 6 million dogs and 6 million cats in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer each year. Nearly 50% of dogs over the age of 10 are likely to develop some type of cancer, compared to 32% of cats over the age of 10. Early detection and treatments can save your pet’s life, but it often comes with a hefty price tag many owners can’t afford. The cost can be anywhere from $500 up to $10,000 or more, depending on the size of the pet, the type of cancer, and the treatment needed.
Getting a cancer diagnosis isn’t necessarily a death sentence for a pet. There’s a range of treatment options available that can save a dog or cat’s life, or extend their life to give an owner some extra months with their pet. Making a decision about whether or not to put a pet through cancer treatment involves other factors besides cost – like the age of the pet, overall health, temperament and prognosis. But the Brodie Fund doesn’t believe age or life expectancy should be a factor when searching for financial help.
Sally Williams, a lifelong cat lover, cat behaviorist and founder of the Brodie Fund, understands what pet owners go through and the high cost to treat cancer. She created the non-profit organization in 2015 while her cat, Brodie, was undergoing radiation treatments. It was a way for her to refocus her energy and do something positive to help control her fear. It opened her eyes and heart to the challenges other pet owners go through trying to find financial help for an older pet or one given a low prognosis of survival. Williams discovered there are very few organizations that help with funding for cats, senior pets or those with a small chance of recovering from their cancer.
Williams believes all pets deserve treatment regardless of the financial ability of their owner. Brodie was diagnosed with cancer of the nasal passage, adenocarcinoma. After costly tests were completed, a treatment program was formed. Brodie went through four weeks of radiation, 19 treatments in all, and had regular follow-up exams along with supportive care. Unfortunately, his prognosis wasn’t good, but that didn’t stop the Williams family from doing everything they could to prolong Brodie’s life, which was extended for 13 months.
The mission for the Brodie fund is simple: to provide grant assistance to pet owners regardless of a prognosis for a shortened life or the owners ability to pay. “The Brodie Fund knows that they are not just pets, but they are family.” The organization is unique in other ways besides giving financial help. Free counseling is provided via Team Brodie Facebook page and a “Help a Pet Today” option is available on their website where you can donate directly to a specific pet.
The organization currently works with only four east coast vet hospitals: one in Tinton Falls, NJ, one in Red Bank, NJ, one in Norwalk, CT and one in New York, NY. They have plans to expand to more states in the future by adding more participating hospitals, but they are aware of the need to not exhaust their funds by expanding too quickly. Right now, pet owners applying for grants have to be a client of one of the participating vet hospitals. The Brodie Fund also allocates two special grants each year outside their tri-state network, during the holidays. So far the fund has given out 20 grants from $500 to $4,000 over the last two years.
You can help the Brodie Fund by spreading the word on your favorite social media sites and sharing this video, donating or volunteering at the organization. Visit their website for more information about the fund and how to donate.
Read more articles by Linda Cole