How VEG Cares Saves Pets’ Lives

Dr. Lisa Soyka

Oct 4, 2022

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One of the greatest things about working at Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG) is the ability to say YES to the most underserved customers by using our philanthropy, VEG Cares. This is a partnership we have with a nonprofit called the Veterinary Care Foundation. It reserves funds for the care and medical treatment of pets who are experiencing an emergency and have a good prognosis but finances are unavailable. Every VEG hospital has a VEG Cares amount, based on donations from customers, VEG employees (VEGgies!), and local fundraisers.

VEG Cares has saved over 1,000 pet lives and the more donations that come in, the more pets in need we can save. This includes pets from families experiencing extreme financial hardships, or sometimes it’s used for an animal that was a victim of a natural disaster. Every so often, a rescue animal may need care and through VEG Cares, we do what we can to help the shelter or rescue facility save a life. 

Can I Get Help Paying for My Veterinary Bill?

At VEG, we’re open about treatment options, outcomes, and of course, the cost. We never want pet owners to be hit with a surprise bill afterwards. After all, we want our customers to see us as superheroes, not villains! So, we’re here to offer some suggestions to help with the cost, like CareCredit or Scratchpay. That’s part of being a VEGgie—to be open and transparent in our communication, and it’s one of my favorite things about VEG. 

We use VEG Cares when all other financial avenues are exhausted. If the pet owner tries every option to pay for treatment and is just not able to secure the finances, I would then assess the pet’s age and prognosis. Sometimes we can work with the customer and use VEG Cares funds to supplement at a discounted rate. 

Who is Eligible for VEG Cares?

The ideal VEG Cares situation is if the pet is relatively young and otherwise healthy. Let’s say we have a 2-year-old canine patient who has an abdominal obstruction. We see that he’s otherwise healthy, maybe his tail is wagging, and it appears that he has a very good prognosis with surgery to remove the obstruction. If the customer has made a great effort to secure the payment but the funds simply aren’t there to cover the entire cost of treatment, that’s when VEG Cares may come into play. 

The decision to use VEG Cares isn’t an easy one and may require consultation with other VEGgies, like our Medical Director or Hospital Manager. We’ll come to a consensus if the pet should have the treatment, courtesy of VEG Cares. 

Pet and Animal Success Stories Thanks to VEG Cares


One case I’ll never forget is Star, a 5-month, super sweet pitbull. The owner said she was hit by a car, and she was paralyzed from the neck down. The owner panicked for some reason and  abandoned Star at VEG. Now, obviously I’m a huge advocate for animals. They don’t have a voice and we need to be there for them. We waited the seven days that the state required in case the owner came back. We spent those days caring for Star and just falling in love with this sweet pup. The owner never came back and after we treated Star, thanks to VEG Cares, we had a physical therapist come in. It took a long time, but today Star walks and even runs! She’s a happy dog, adopted by one of our very own VEGgies!


Another case that received quite a bit of recognition was Cora the German Shepherd. A Good Samaritan saw someone throwing a bag out that looked suspicious and lo and behold, there was a puppy in the trash bag. We assessed that she was approx. 9-months-old. She was skin and bones, covered in feces and urine; it was incredibly heartbreaking. She was minimally responsive and through testing, we found she was anemic. Her blood sugar could not even be read. Yet, she still had a little fight left in her. So, I accepted the challenge. I looked that poor dog in the eyes and said, “I’m going to fight for you.” We used VEG Cares funds for her treatment, which included IV fluids, antibiotics, a blood transfusion and deworming. When she was well enough, she eventually went to a local rescue group, Animal Luvr’s Dream Rescue, and once again, a VEGgie stepped up and fostered her through the rescue until she found her forever home. She was really special.  There was even an article in People about her!  

VEG Cares Simply Saves Lives

Since I started at VEG North Tampa’s hospital in 2020 and now as an Emergency Doctor at VEG Clearwater, I’ve seen the benefits of VEG Cares in action. Bottom line: VEG Cares simply saves lives. And this philanthropic effort takes place at all VEG hospitals throughout the country and it’s one more reason VEG is like no other emergency hospital.  

Please make a donation to VEG Cares and help save a pet’s life. 

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