Hanging with dogs and engaging in altruism share something amazing in common: Both release significant amounts of oxytocin, the “love hormone,” into the human bloodstream, strengthening our bonds to other humans — and to our canine counterparts. This holiday season, why not bathe your senses with a double dose of this feel-good hormone by donating to canine-centric, nonprofit dog charities dedicated solely to advancing the health and well-being of our furry friends? Countless canine health charities work to fund groundbreaking research. Here are just seven dog charities that work overtime to make an impact.
The largest nonprofit funder of health research focused solely on dogs embraces the big picture, building its mission in large part on the One Health initiative, a movement that links human, animal and environmental health and fosters global collaboration among all health care professionals, including veterinarians and academicians.
Last year was a record-breaker for the foundation, as it funded nearly $2 million in 35 new grants around the globe for studies focused on lymphoma, epilepsy and tick-borne diseases. Since 1995, the organization has awarded almost 900 research grants totaling nearly $40 million.
In 1963, the American Veterinary Medical Association founded its nonprofit charitable arm. It has funded more than $10 million in grants, all in pursuit to fulfill its mission of “advancing the science and practice of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health.” As one can imagine, as part of the organization representing everything folded into the U.S. veterinary profession, the foundation provides grants for studies that require a veterinary dictionary for the average owner to even begin to understand, but all you need to know is that this foundation delivers results and helps save countless lives.
One man, Arthur L. “Bud” Johnson, harbored such a lifelong passion for German Shepherd Dogs and “loved seeing them put to use to help people,” that in 1990 he started a foundation in honor of his beloved wife, Elaine, and began making grants to assist other organizations in providing shepherd guide dogs (the foundation today includes other dog breeds and assistance animals).
“Together we are the cure” touts the nonprofit that spent almost $400,000 in 2015 and more than $300,000 in 2016 to fund research for cures, better treatments and cost-effective diagnostic methods for canine hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma and sarcoma, as well as for canine bladder and lung cancer.
The foundation’s website suggests a great idea in the vein of giving: honoring a beloved dog, a veterinarian or a special occasion by making a donation in memory and helping other dogs to get a leg up in their journey toward greater health.
Senior dogs are the sweetest angels among the canine family. Grey Muzzle knows how special older dogs truly are, which is why it funds a range of senior pup programs, including those focused on prevention of or early intervention in diseases that would otherwise be extremely costly to treat.
The organization funds shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries and other nonprofits across the U.S. expressly for programs designed to improve the lives of at-risk senior dogs. In fact, this year, 50 animal welfare organizations received more than $300,000 to help at-risk senior dogs in 25 states. Since 2008, Grey Muzzle has funded more than $1 million in grants.
Having invested almost $44 million in 951 canine studies since 1950, Morris Animal has made all the difference in thousands upon thousands of pets’ lives. This year, the foundation is helping canine researchers study osteosarcoma, behavior, canine influenza, mast cell tumors, hemangiosarcoma, genetics, nutrition and a whole lot more.
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study aims to target risk factors for cancer and other major health problems found in the breed. “Morris Animal Foundation keeps a focus on animals through lifting up critical scientific research that is helping to save lives,” says Tiffany Grunert, APR, the foundation’s vice president of marketing and brand strategy. “We want to shine a very bright spotlight on … the urgent health needs of animals living in our homes and in the wild.”
7. The Pet Fund
Many of the organizations listed here couldn’t make such amazing advances without generous support, but what about owners who are unable to take advantage of even basic veterinary treatment when their pet is sick because they have no support and limited means?
Founded in 2003, The Pet Fund national nonprofit funds veterinary care for those who can’t afford it. (The organization says it receives more than 200 phone calls daily from pet owners seeking assistance.) Its primary focus is helping provide nonbasic, nonemergency care for cancer, heart disease, endocrine disorders, kidney disease, cataract surgery and chronic conditions.
The Pet Fund also urges owners to enroll their pets in clinical studies or trials, which may include free medication, surgery or other treatment at no cost, and keeps a running list of trials offered by veterinary colleges and teaching hospitals.
Thumbnail: Photography by Holly Hildreth Photography
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Editor’s note: This article appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!