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How Vouchers Helped Save a Stray Kitten Named Pepper


When Gina’s daughter Kime’s cat was sick and the family was worried about paying for an expensive vet visit, Gina did a Google search for financial assistance. She found One Health Organization’s website, learned about our mission, and applied for Veterinary Care Vouchers.

Unfortunately, the Vouchers arrived two days too late for Kime’s cat, which died before it could get the care it needed. But the universe has a way of helping people cope with these terrible losses. Not long afterward, Gina’s husband was getting off work and noticed a scrawny kitten who had crawled into the engine compartment of a truck.

How Vouchers Helped Save a Stray Kitten

The kitten came home and was given to Kime, who named the spunky little guy Pepper.

Pepper had an upper respiratory infection and fleas and needed veterinary care. Luckily, the family was able to use the Vouchers for a checkup. Their veterinarian at Fox Veterinary Hospital in Elyria sent them home with medication for the fleas and prescribed antibiotics. Pepper is now around 5 months old and is still affected by the infection. He doesn’t meow, says Gina, and you can hear a rasp in his chest, but he loves to purr.

“He is now happy and healthy and living with us,” says Gina. “She has spoiled that cat beyond measure. She got him so many toys. She absolutely loves him.”

Assistance in a Time of Need

Gina lives on a fixed income and worried a lot about paying vet bills before she found One Health Organization. “I’m on disability, and so I was looking for any type of assistance. I can’t really afford outrageous vet bills,” she says. “We were going to use the Vouchers to find out what was wrong with the cat, but she passed two days before the appointment.”

Veterinary Care Vouchers are available for eligible families in Northeast Ohio who need assistance covering vet bills. They are worth up to $250 at a participating veterinary clinic. Since 2014, One Health Organization has provided more than 1,334 households with economic relief. 

And Gina’s family is eternally grateful for the chance to save a kitten in need.

“Even though it didn’t help the one, it did help another,” says Gina. “It’s like someone was saying ‘She’s not going to make it, but we’ll give you another handful.’”

“Amazing Generosity”

Gina is grateful for the attention and care given to her at One Health Organization and Fox Veterinary Clinic. “It was wonderful. I was amazed by the generosity of people that come together and help the animals that are less fortunate — and the people that are less fortunate,” says Gina.

The family’s experience with the staff at Fox Veterinary Hospital and One Health Organization were universally positive. “The vet was super sweet and friendly and informative,” says Gina. “My daughter wants to go back there.” 

Still More Families in Need

Gina’s family is not the only one who needs help covering the costs of pet care. In Northeast Ohio, 112,000 households have incomes that would qualify them for Vouchers. That means hundreds of thousands of pets might not be getting the quality food, housing, and medical care they need.

And when more pet parents get connected with resources they need to keep their pets, fewer pets go into shelters or face euthanasia if they’re not adoptable (that is, they have untreatable health conditions or they are feral or aggressive). Luckily, a number of organizations and resources exist to help low-income pet parents cover the costs of critical vet care.

Veterinary Care Vouchers are designed to help struggling pet parents cover the costs of essential veterinary care, such as physical exams, vaccinations, parasite control, tests, treatments, and other surgeries. Like the care Pepper received.

As Gina puts it: “Everybody wants to love a pet. But not everyone can afford it. Sometimes it can be pricey.”

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