Brown Dog Foundation Helps Pet Parents with Vet Bills

Thanks to Deanna, Jezzi's furmom, for barking in this news from Tennessean.com about an organization that helps fur parents pay those vet bill when they...

Joy  |  Apr 22nd 2007


Brown Dog Foundation logo.jpg

Thanks to Deanna, Jezzi’s furmom, for barking in this news from Tennessean.com about an organization that helps fur parents pay those vet bill when they are just too big for their families to handle. What lovely people!

Deanna (Jezzie) wrote:
Came across a great story today at Tennessean.com about a foundation that offers financial assistance to help pay vet bills when a pet pawrent can’t.

I thought this was definately one worth barking up about! It’s sad enough when your pet is ill but when you can’t pay the vet bills, it can become devastating and too often the choice between life and death for your beloved canine companion.

Seriously ill pets saved by Brown Dog Foundation

By SARAH B. GILLIAM

Whitland Avenue resident’s group pays vet bills if family can’t

When Carol Smock’s dog, Chocolate Chip, died from lymphoma last May, she did what most pet owners do she grieved. Then the Whitland Avenue resident turned her sorrow into a 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation.

Now her chocolate Labrador’s legacy lives on through Brown Dog Foundation, which she created to help families who can’t afford lifesaving treatments for their pets.



“The mission of Brown Dog is to ensure family pets don’t have to be unnecessarily euthanized at a time when the family may be struggling temporarily,” Smock said.

Foundation has raised $9,000

The foundation issues grant money to families with pets needing vital medical attention. So far, the foundation has raised $9,000, and donated $1,100 to help four animals in need of immediate veterinary care.

The business is run from Smock’s home on Brighton Road, which she shares with her dog, Toffee Nut, and occasionally several other canine house guests she fosters for Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital in Brentwood.

Smock adopted Chocolate Chip from a family who couldn’t afford to treat his tumor. Smock had the growth removed, and the 4-year-old Lab lived four more years under her care.

“When (the tumor) returned, it took him quickly,” she said. “If a dog has to go, it’s not a bad way,” she said of his constant pampering and good lifestyle.

Pets die needlessly

Veterinarian Janet Grace treated Chocolate Chip for routine care and now sits on the Brown Dog Foundation board to evaluate grant candidates.

“If you don’t have the money right now, you lose the pet. That’s what we’re trying to prevent,” said Grace, whose veterinary practice is at Valu Vet in Inglewood. “One day I put 13 animals to sleep that could have been fixed if the owners could have afforded it. A lot of people assume when they get a pet, they’re going to be healthy. Pets are a luxury.”

Though Grace wants to help responsible pet owners, she worries people will apply for grant money who won’t properly care for their animals.

“We don’t want to help people that after we help them their dog gets hit by a car,” she said.

Dog with tumor helped

The foundation recently helped an owner whose dog had a tumor beginning to cover her eye. Grace said typical life-threatening surgeries like broken bones from being hit by a car can cost owners $1,000, but many owners choose euthanasia because they can’t afford the treatment.

“Dogs get put down all the time for injuries like that,” Grace said.

Fundraisers being organized

The foundation depends on a lot of fundraising, and this year, Smock is organizing several events.

“We spend a lot of time raising capital,” Smock said. “If the grant is approved, then we pay up to 75 percent of the vet bill directly to the vet.”

The foundation’s first fundraising campaign the Top Dog and Cat Competition will be held June 10 at The Farm at Natchez Trace.

Out of 25 cat and dog nominees, 11 dogs and five cats were chosen to participate in a 12-week campaign to raise money. At the end of the 12-week fundraising competition, a pet will be crowned at a coronation party.

“We’re looking for crowns and sashes right now,” she said.

Smock also is planning a 5.5K walk and a wine dinner gala later this year. When she isn’t working with the foundation, Smock works as a freelance consultant facilitating workshops and seminars for municipalities and small businesses. Her goal is to raise enough money to work full time for the foundation.

A valued resource

When Brentwood resident Celeste Blackburn read a story about Smock’s foundation in Nashville Paws magazine, she decided to do something.

“How great is it to have a resource like that so more animals can have a home instead of being put down,” said Blackburn, whose cat, Kiwi, has feline immune deficiency virus.

She is still working on a cat treat line, but the dog treats peanut butter balls and beefy bacon bones are in production and available on Brown Dog Foundation’s Web site.

“They are all organic, all human quality food,” Blackburn said. “But that doesn’t mean your dog needs to eat the whole bag.”

She said though her treats are wheat germ and hormone-free, they aren’t fat-free.

Follow this link for more information.

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