Vet bills got you down? Pet Friends Gabriola can help 

Submitted Article

Wednesday, May 29 2019

Two local friends, Penny Sidor and Lisa Millard, got together in October to create a slush fund to assist animal owners with big bills. So far, Pet Friends has made 12 donations, ranging from a badly-needed grooming to several hundred for emergencies and ongoing problems. 

One family had just arrived on the island when their puppy gobbled down an entire bowl of rising bread dough. “It was a weekend, so we sent them off to the animal hospital in Nanaimo. I called ahead and pre-paid. That felt good. The dog recovered and that felt even better,” says Sidor. Another family was facing a layoff, catastrophic illness and a very serious injury all at once. On top of that, their elderly dog was ill and in pain. He was ultimately euthanized, but Pet Friends took some stress out of a devastating period in the family’s life.  A neglected little dog arrived at its new owner’s home with multiple health problems, costing thousands. Pet Friends reduced the bill considerably, and that pup also recovered. 

Sidor said, “We were lucky to get community support right from the get-go. One rock star of a donor gave us $1,000 as soon as we put out a Go Fund Me notice. Other people made cash donations of $100, $50 – it all adds up. Then donations of bottles and cans starting rolling in. I’m collecting and sorting almost every day and I admit, I’ve lost track of the bottle donors. But we are very grateful for all that comes in.” 

Some folks are making automatic donations of $10 or $20 each month through Coastal Community Credit Union. As well, CCCU is planning a Beer ‘n’ Burger fundraiser for Pet Friends at the Skol on June 8. “We are so lucky to have this kind of support. It’ll be a lot of fun and a huge help. I’m confident that the animal-loving community will come out en masse.” 

Pet Friends’ “corporate sponsors,” Flying Fur Grooming, Salty Dog Grooming Parlour, and Scissor Shack have all donated generously. Raven Feed has a donation box on their counter and Petra Stewart donated the great poster that’s up and around on the notice boards. Pet Friends Gabriola is truly a community effort. To donate, or if needing assistance with a vet bill, please call Penny Sidor at 250-247-7344.