Portland, OR. The Westie (and Friends) Walk was a fun way for pet lovers to spend National Dog Day. More than 100 Westies and their friends gathered at this annual event to enjoy a 1.5 mile walk in Northwest Portland and raise money for DoveLewis. Proceeds from the walk benefit the Velvet Assistance Fund, which provides financial help to needy pet owners. The August 26th walk started in Wallace Park and featured popular costumes like the “Holy Hound.”

There were plenty of “friends” at the Westie (and Friends) Walk. This little guy won a prize in the costume contest.

Here’s more information about the Velvet Assistance Fund:

At DoveLewis, we understand that a pet emergency can be stressful, both emotionally and financially. On July 1, 2015, our donor-supported Velvet Assistance Fund was increased to almost a quarter of a million dollars per year to provide financial assistance to qualified low–income clients of DoveLewis experiencing pet emergencies.

We’re proud to offer this financial assistance to help qualifying families with the cost of veterinary treatment in an emergency. As you might imagine, there is a tremendous demand on this donor–funded program. The Velvet Assistance Fund provides more money, more often to local families than any other DoveLewis community program.

How Does the Velvet Assistance Fund Work?

  • Eligible clients may apply for Velvet Assistance.
  • DoveLewis staff determines who will receive help from the Velvet Fund. Help is given on a case-by-case basis.
  • Before they may apply for help from the Velvet Assistance Fund, DoveLewis clients must first fill out a Care Credit application. If clients receive Care Credit, they must fully utilize this option before receiving money from the Velvet Fund.

Cases being considered for Velvet Fund money must meet three criteria:

  1. Must be an emergency
  2. Patient must have a fair to good prognosis
  3. Owner must have financial need

The Velvet Assistance Fund covers a maximum of $750 per case. Anything above that must be paid by the owner at the time of service. DoveLewis does not bill or set up payment plans.

In order to remain viable, the Velvet Assistance Fund carries an average monthly cap. Just recently, thanks to our generous donors, the fund was increased by 67 percent to a total of $232,000 per year, with an average $19,000 monthly cap. Once that cap is reached, Velvet Assistance Fund money is not available to anyone until the next month. The cap allows us to manage The Velvet Assistance Fund and stretch its money based on donations to the fund.

Velvet Assistance Fund money recipients will never be asked to pay the money back. The Velvet Assistance Fund relies only on donations, not payments. We have had some recipients of Velvet Assistance Fund money tell us they would like to give back in some way. Some have made donations to the fund when their financial situation improved, but there are many options. DoveLewis welcomes volunteers in many capacities. For more information about volunteering, visit dovelewis.org. Again, donations and volunteering at DoveLewis are not required if DoveLewis clients receive money from the Velvet Assistance Fund.

The Velvet Assistance Fund was named after a dog who showed remarkable loyalty, bravery, and intelligence. Stranded with her human climbing partners on Mt. Hood during a February 2007 storm, Velvet took turns cuddling with each of her companions, keeping them alert and warm, lifting their spirits, and making the wait for rescuers that much more tolerable.

A donor who gave a generous gift to the assistance fund asked that we name the fund after Velvet. We are honored to immortalize Velvet’s bravery, as well as our donor’s generosity. The Velvet Financial Assistance Fund will help many DoveLewis clients through one of their toughest experiences, just as Velvet helped her fellow climbers through one of theirs.