What does Tails of Help do?

Tails of Help benefits Alberta pet owners and their animals and is supported by Alberta veterinary practices, veterinarians and animal health technologists who frequently encounter the situation where animals are surrendered or euthanized due to an owner’s limited financial resources.

Tails of Help charitable activities will be delivered through participating Alberta veterinary practices.  Veterinarians and animal health technologists are essential to program success. As well, Tails of Help encourages ABVMA members, animal rescue and shelter groups to become involved as volunteers in the Tails of Help activities with respect to education, and the reduction of root causes leading to forced and unnecessary surrender or euthanization of pets due to an owner’s financial hardship.


What are the goals of Tails of Help?

Tails of Help has the objective to provide assistance to the Alberta pet owner facing financial hardship whose companion animal is ill or injured and requires essential veterinary care. Tails of Help also strives to educate the public on the cost and responsibilities of pet ownership, including  disease and injury prevention. The goal is to help reduce the burden on animal shelters, humane societies and social services in the province by keeping pets healthy and with their loving families. 

Why should I donate to Tails of Help?

Too many Albertans are forced to give up a family pet because they can’t afford needed health care.    

When financial hardship strikes, ill or injured animals are often left untreated, suffering, surrendered, or even euthanized.  

Tails of Help strives to reduce the burden on animal shelters, humane societies and social services in the province by keeping pets healthy and with their loving families.  


What will my donation support?

When you give, you can be assured your dollars are being used effectively to keep pets healthy and with their families.  Tails of Help collaborates with participating veterinary clinics to determine medical need for the pet and financial need of the owner.  This ensures that charitable activities serve qualified recipients with pets that face a good prognosis for recovery and treatment.  

Tails of Help will be measuring results in this program and will report back to donors. We have developed rigorous standards of excellence for performance in all aspects of our operation as a registered charitable organization.


Who is eligible for assistance?

Qualified Alberta pet owners who find themselves unable to afford essential health care for their ill or injured pet will be eligible for applications to be made by their veterinary clinic.  Essential health care is treatment without which the animal will die or require humane euthanasia, would cause undue suffering to the pet or would require that the pet be surrendered to a Humane Society.


Who is a Qualifying Owner?

A qualifying owner:

  1. Is an adult resident of Alberta

  2. Agrees to contribute what they can to the cost of care for their pet

  3. Agrees to follow the directions of the veterinarian regarding aftercare

  4. Provides the nominating veterinarian with the following supporting documentation of financial qualification in one of the following categories:

  • Senior Citizens that receive the Federal Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) who provide to the veterinary clinic a Statement of Old Age Security (T4A OAS) for the current or most recent year available.

  • Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH) recipients that produce for the veterinary clinic a valid AISH identification card.



What is a Qualifying Patient?

A veterinarian or their designate will need to evaluate the companion animal’s case for eligibility for funding. The following criteria will need to be met by the patient:

  • Is an owned animal presented to a participating veterinary practice.

  • Is ill or injured and does require veterinary care

  • Has a condition that failure to treat will result in the death of the animal or would require euthanasia for humane reasons, or would necessitate the surrender of the animal.

The intent of the program is to provide essential care for ill or injured pets. Services such as wellness exams, vaccinations, spays and neuters, and cancer treatment will not be funded through Tails of Help.


How does a qualifying pet owner seek assistance from Tails of Help?

Owners of pets in need of health care must take their pet to a participating Alberta Veterinary Medical Association practice for treatment.  Applications are made by participating veterinarians, on behalf of qualified owners. Any clinic can participate in our program at any time. Please be advised that at this early stage of our operations, there currently are annual funding limits in place for any individual pet, owner family, or clinic.

How is a funding decision made, and assistance provided?

Each funding application is reviewed by Tails of Help, and each case is individually determined based on available funds and meeting the program criteria for financial and medical need. When assistance is approved for an individual case, the funds are disbursed directly to the veterinary practice providing the treatment.

We are currently fundraising, have established our reserve fund, and began accepting applications in November 2013. With the donations and volunteer efforts of generous Albertans, in December 2013 Tails of Help were able to begin funding treatment for pets to keep them healthy and with their loving families.  


What is the ABVMA relationship to Tails of Help?

Tails of Help has been created as a collaborative initiative between public community representatives and the ABVMA, as approved by the ABVMA Council in 2012. It is a charitable foundation registered as a corporation with the Alberta and federal governments in 2013, at arms-length from the ABVMA. The ABVMA has a majority stake in the foundation structure, and a majority position on the foundation board of directors, in order to ensure that the new organization is a secure long-term sustainable structure, with integrity and high credibility, and protect the reputation of the ABVMA. The foundation board of directors also includes public members who bring their skills, expertise, and experience to help develop an effective new organization, and to help further engage public participation and that of other community organizations, foundations, and corporations.

Is the ABVMA donating money from members’ dues to fund this program?

No, the ABVMA is not donating cash to fund Tails of Help. The ABVMA has provided certain resources at no material cost to its members and has engaged key veterinary members, with a passion to develop this worthy activity, to support an orderly and successful start-up of this foundation. Tails of Help will conduct direct fundraising with the public, foundations, and corporations, and encourages direct contributions from ABVMA members.


Are practices required to participate in delivering the program? and Are practices required to contribute funds as Founding Donors?

All participation is voluntary, for delivering the program or for contributing as Founding Donors. Veterinary practices that contribute as Founding Donors can choose whether or not to participate in delivering the program. Practices and/or individual veterinarians that participate can choose whether or not to contribute as Founding Donors.  Tails of Help encourages all Alberta veterinary clinics with companion animal practices to participate in this program.


What is required for veterinary practices to participate in delivering the program?

Practices are free to opt in or out of delivering the program at any time. 

A participating veterinary practice:

  1. Is an ABVMA certified Veterinary Practice Entity

  2. Agrees to comply with the terms and conditions of the program

  3. Agrees to evaluate the owner and patient according to the program criteria and nominate only eligible cases and eligible owners

  4. Agrees to actively engage in the activities of Tails of Help including promotion, and/or fund-raising.


How are cases submitted for financial assistance?

Tails of Help intends to make the process as quick and convenient as possible for practices that are submitting applications for assistance. One way we can help achieve this is by having clear information to define the qualifying criteria. Financial assistance applications begin with the veterinarian’s assessment of both the patient and the owner suitability for the program. Details of the qualifying criteria, and forms for submitting an assistance application, are available on the For Vets page of our website.


How much of my donation to Tails of Help is used for fundraising and administration?

During the start-up of this foundation, the initial costs (for CRA registration, website development and materials to promote awareness of our organization and for initial fundraising activities) were generously funded by private foundations, individuals and certain associations interested in supporting this initiative.  The ABVMA has also generously provided certain resources at no material cost to its members and have engaged key veterinary members, with a passion to develop this worthy activity, to support an orderly and successful start-up of this foundation.  It is our objective to keep all related administration costs below 20 per cent of the total funds raised in our first year of operation and to reduce this percentage as we develop our capacity and capability in the organization.   For comparison, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers 35 per cent to be an acceptable standard.