October is Fundraise for Farley Month

It’s every pet owner’s worst nightmare. A beloved pet needs veterinary care, but the owner can’t afford treatment. For many seniors and people with disabilities, this scenario is a sad reality.

That’s where the Farley Foundation steps in.

Farley logoThe Farley Foundation helps sick and injured pets that belong to low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

The Foundation offers financial assistance to veterinary clinics in Ontario to help cover the cost of providing necessary veterinary care for pets belonging to seniors receiving the Federal Guaranteed Income Supplement or people with disabilities who receive the Ontario Disability Support Payment, and who cannot otherwise afford treatment for their pets.

The Farley Foundation pays tribute to one of Canada’s most famous pets. Farley is the Old English sheepdog who appeared in the For Better or For Worse® comic strip. For Better or For Worse® is the charming and poignant chronicle of a Canadian family. Cartoonist Lynn Johnston first introduced the fictional Patterson clan to audiences 21 years ago.

Farley was the first dog I ever owned. As a puppy he was a boundless ball of black and white energy. As an adult, he was a personality, unique unto himself and truly, part of the family.

Owning a dog introduced us to the world of veterinarians, groomers and obedience school – all of which helped us to learn how to care for and understand what owning a pet entails (pun intended). Farley was a wonderful, unforgettable companion, who died but lived on for years in FBorFW.

In 1995, Johnston decided to develop a storyline about the death of Farley, the Patterson’s 14-year-old sheepdog. The powerful and moving story received international media coverage. Johnston received more than 2,500 letters from fans. Many were devastated that the beloved dog was written out of the comic strip. Others shared their heartbreaking stories of losing a family pet. After seven years, Farley’s loss is still a sentimental subject!

Farley strip

Long after Farley left us, I had the opportunity to work with my husband’s sister, a veterinarian in Manitoba. It was Beth who made me so aware of her role in the community. As an “animal doctor”, she tended to family pets as well as large farm animals. Every patient was handled with professionalism and sincere consideration for both the animals and their owners. After all, when a member of the family is sick, it affects everyone!

Seeing a worried family greet their healthy pet after a night in the “hospital” was a rewarding sight. Calming someone who had lost a pet was as heartwrenching as any final passage.

Beth did her work for the love of it. When people couldn’t pay, they brought us chickens or fresh pies. Never did a patient go untreated – even in the middle of the night, sick animals were treated and cared for. Calves were born, piglets too and abandoned kittens were nursed by hand until they were big enough for adoption.

It was a hard job, and I was part of it for a season, carrying supplies, cutting sutures, holding flashlight and holding hands.

To be asked to help veterinarians to care for pets who, for lack of finances, might be left to suffer is an honour. By lending Farley’s name and image to the Farley Foundation, I feel part of this venerable group, and once again, my very first dog, is remembered in a very special way.

More about the Farley Foundation and how to help out here

For Better or For Worse® official website here

More about For Better or For Worse® here

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