Michigan State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine has a program that is called the IRONDOG Fund. It has been set up to help those in need, be able to get lifesaving medical procedures partially paid for, when the human family simply could not afford to pay on their own.
Last May, Matt Jones had heard of the fund for the first time, and boy was he glad it was there. He was faced with having to come up with $5,000 on the spot, or end up having to put his dog down. The latter, still would have required a loan he wasn’t exactly sure he was going to qualify for anyway.
Matt had left his dog Reggin with a friend when he went to Pittsburgh to propose to his girlfriend. When he got home, it took only a moment to realize something wasn’t right. Reggin kept scratching himself, and was throwing up.
Matt got Reggin to the ER at the MSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Unfortunately, Reggin wasn’t having an allergic reaction like Matt had though. Reggin had ingested several feminine hygiene products, and was suffering from a blockage in his digestive system.
Matt knew he didn’t have the $5,000 he needed for surgery and treatment, and his credit wasn’t going to allow him to get a loan. None of the financing options were going to be viable for him, and Matt was beside himself.
“I love my dog. He’s my best friend,” said Matt. “I can’t imagine coming home from work and finding him dead on the floor.”
So what was Matt to do? That’s where MSU’s IRONDOG Fund came in. It’s all made up solely from donations to the veterinary teaching hospital. It has one goal, and that is to help people pay for emergency medical bills for their pets.
“When they told me about the IRONDOG Fund, I started crying tears of joy,” said Matt. “Out of someone else’s generosity, my dog gets to live.”
According to Doctor Matthew Beal, a professor at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, the IRONDOG Fund helped pay for 31 medical bills. Both he and student Christian Weder started the fund in 2010. They wanted to help service and other working dogs, along with other emergency cases with good prognosis after treatment. Basically, help anyone that they can, with how much was available at that point in time.
“Most of the time, there’s far too many patients to help them all,” said Dr. Beal. “We can help five families a little bit, or one family a lot.”
Mostly, the IRONDOG Fund gets the money it uses to help through an annual 5K race. It’s a run or walk, and anyone near the school helps out with the 5K, either with donations or support setting things up.