Comfort Garden Bells help finance Cause Four Paws

I had already planned to write about this terrific local charity for today’s Blog the Change for Animals event before the recent tragic shootings in Tucson. Now I’m doubly glad to have the opportunity to showcase one of the many strengths of my adopted hometown: Its devoted and compassionate community of animal lovers.


In these tough economic times, many people can barely afford to feed their pets. Imagine their sense of helplessness when facing the cost of care resulting from an accident or sudden acute illness.

The founders of the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson (VSCT), a top-of-the-line emergency and referral hospital, don’t think that money should stand in the way of getting urgent medical treatment for companion animals. That’s why they created Cause Four Paws, dedicated to helping pets and their owners in times of financial need.

Along with offering specialty and emergency veterinary care to families below the poverty line, the 501(c)3 nonprofit Cause Four Paws also:

  • provides scholarships to veterinary schools and veterinary technician programs to southern Arizona students of proven scholastic abilities.
  • helps create and maintain a library of the latest veterinary textbooks, journals, and databases, most donated by VSCT’s staff of boarded specialists (if I were to describe their myriad medical accomplishments, this would be a very long post).  Like most states, Arizona has no veterinary school, so this growing collection of educational materials is an invaluable resource for southern Arizona’s pet services community.

Cause For Paws is financed in part by memorial bells displayed in the VSCT’s Comfort Garden, a beautifully landscaped patch of desert outside the striking facility (it  just won its second Merit Award for excellence in hospital design from Veterinary Economics magazine). A donation of $100 or more buys you one of these brass beauties — and a legacy. You’re not only providing a remembrance for your pet; you’re also helping other pets in need and their present and future healers.

I can’t think of a better tribute to a beloved family member.

For more details — and for donations — visit the Cause Four Paws site.

Note: I should emphasize that treatment is provided for a single severe illness or injury, not for chronic diseases. And that the fund is just getting started. But the more people who contribute, the more animals can be helped.

37 thoughts on “Blog the Change: Tucson’s Cause Four Paws”

  1. For low income families, maybe they can provide the food and the love, but veterinary bills can really add up, especially if there is a major illness or accident. Kudos to this organization for stepping in to help. It’s great to know that these pets will get the treatment they need.

  2. That’s really inspiring! People have been rocked during these economic times and more and more pets suffer with untreated illnesses/injuries simply because families can’t afford to visit a vet… it’s great to see a clinic doing something to offer aid to families in need. It’s even MORE awesome that they are offering scohlarships to local students who may or may not have otherwise been able to pursue college or tech school! Awesome!

  3. What a great program. My group has an Emergency Medical Fund for victims of abuse or neglect who are in our county, but it would be an interesting endeavor to see if the local veterinary community would be willing to do something similar to this. Thanks for sharing.

  4. you have an amazing blog! (but you already know that!) I am now subscribing to it via email….

    I loved this post and wish more vets would step up to the plate….I think the high cost of veterinary care is the main reason people are forced to let their pets go.

    Thanks for this important post!

    1. Thanks for your nice words and your subscription, Caren — only on selected days (usually the full moon) am I convinced that my blog is amazing. It IS a great cause, isn’t it?

  5. Fantastic! There needs to be more programs like these. Perhaps the more support they get, the more other areas will be inspired. I know I would take a serious hit if my dog were to have a serious injury – some people just wouldn’t be able to do anything at all. It is beyond heart breaking.

    1. I’d never heard about that before, but I’m learning these types of programs exist elsewhere, which is great. If nothing else, I hope this inspires people to find out that resources they might not have considered are available.

  6. That is an amazing cause. Having been through lots (and lots and lots) of treatments at a specialty center, the costs can add up very quickly. I’m so proud of that practice for helping those in need who want the best for their animal!

  7. This is a very good idea, since a lot of vet medical treatments and procedures are costly.
    I hope they will get the help to also, in turn, help a lot of animals.

  8. What a great program! With all the medical advances in veterinary sciences and all the specialty vets out there, it’s amazing how much more can be done for our pets when they are ill, AND how much more it costs to own a pet now due to all these advances. For many people it simply isn’t an option to choose expensive treatment, and it’s such a heartbreaking decision to know that something CAN be done, if you have the money to pay for it.

  9. How I wish Mama had prepared a blog for this worthy cause. We did one about Lhasa Rescue .. where Mama found me, but she certainly could have done another one. We’ll be ready next time!
    Your pal,

  10. Oh wow. What an awesome cause! I wonder what it sounds like when the wind blows and all the bells are chiming. I bet it’s beautiful. I love the cause too Edie. So many people are having to choose euthanasia or surrendering their pet because they can’t cover the medical costs when an emergency comes up. I am so glad you shared this with us! A wonderful tribute to Tucson (or should I say Tuscon? Just kidding!).

  11. Thanks so much for this post. I hope that these types of funds become more common. Dove Lewis Animal Hospital in Portland, OR runs one similar to this but overall I don’t think they’re very common. It is so heartbreaking for people who can’t afford their animal’s health care – I’ve attended grief support groups and in my experience, it is the greatest cause of guilt.

    The bells are a beautiful idea.
    -Chandra at Daley’s Dog Years

  12. A few years back, Jersey was hit by a car and had her leg broken. The total cost for surgery and treatment was $3000, which was actually quite “cheap” compared to the bigger city vets. Thankfully, we had the money to pay the vet. If we didn’t have the money, I would have found it, somehow.

    My heart breaks everytime I hear about families that really, really love their dogs, but have to give them up because the dog is ill and they can’t afford the treatment. This program in Tuscon is wonderful! It’s nice to know that there are people out there who care 🙂

  13. This is so touching – such a true-hearted way of handling things. To care for animals regardless, to offer such a beautiful way to memorialize…wow!!!

  14. Wow. We have the Cornell Cooperative Extension so close by that I never think about places that don’t have that kind of facility. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. This group truly gives back to the community and I love the idea of making a commemorative donation that leaves a legacy.

    Thanks for Blogging the Change!

  15. Glad to hear this organization is operating in Tucson; wish there were more places that had the resources to do this. I love the name, too: Paws Four Cause. Edie, you always post such interesting information!

  16. Hi Y’all,

    With all the distracting news assaulting our senses, it is good to take a moment and acknowledge that there are caring people still living in this world…and that they appreciate God’s most helpless creatures.

    Hawk aka BrownDog’s Momma

  17. Just wanted to thank you all for coming by if I didn’t answer you personally this time. I decided to try to visit as many blogs as possible on this terrific Blog the Change hop and interact there rather than here. And they just kept on coming. WOW! I am blown away by the commitment so many have shown to animals, in so many different ways.

    Paws Four Cause is a wonderful concept — may it live and prosper, here in Tucson and in other places that have similar types of programs.

  18. What a great focus, Edie! Veterinarians who have made it possible for people in dire financial straits to get a serious injury or sudden illness taken care of, instead of the normal pay as you go forewarning. What a wonderful way to do business and be a true member of the community! And I love the idea of the brass bells, makes me smile for some reason:)

  19. Yeah! I agree with you. Help a cause is really a great thing. And now a day, internet has developed so much that it helped to donate money to a cause, which is worthy enough to spend money. I am very glad about it. And people should do it more often. Help a cause

  20. This is great! You may also be interested in Pit Bulls: Villains or Victims. The whole book is great ammunition against BSL, and it makes a case for the danger in targeting the dogs when it is really the people who would abuse these dogs that are dangerous to our communities, especially to our children. The book started out as a master’s thesis for a forensic science program, so it is well-researched and documented. I have to admit I edited it, but I really did learn a lot about the issues surrounding pit bulls and how detrimental to our society these laws are.

  21. Hello..My husband and I took in a stray Brittany Spanial back in Dec 2010. He came to us having an injury on his back leg and I took him to the vet and she told me he probably had a broken pelvis and needed surgery. My husband is a fireman and was injured in an ambulance accident and had to have two surgeries and we are a family of six. With the loss of income for almost 6 months any little extra money we have is playinh catch up to our bills not to mention our son is special needs and medical bills are expensive for him as well! We absolutley love Rex (our dog) and it breaks my heart to see him not using that leg. Since then something is going on because he is not using one of his front legs anymore either! He just lays around and I cant afford to help him. We could afford to take him in a nd feed him extra but as far as vet bills we just cant. I even applied for care credit in hopes we could just charge his bills and have the surgery but because my husband was off work for medical we could not get approved. If anyone has any suggestions please share. I hate see this beautiful dog just deteriorate like he his so fast! The vet estimated him to be only about 2 to 3 years old! He is the sweetest dog you will ever meet! We found him roaming the desert and he would show up at the fire station for months. Who knows how long he was wondering efore we took him in! Please help with any suggestions!! Thank you!!!!

  22. Good job..I really like this blog because it was very informative to us..Thank you for sharing your blog post.

  23. Dogs love to get out — they love car rides, the park, the mountains and pretty much anywhere you take them. The one place dogs don’t like is the veterinarian’s office. Our feline friends share this sentiment and it’s no surprise. Historically, the vet’s office is the place where they have been poked with vaccines, violated with thermometers, and even spayed or neutered.A good vet can provide much more than just healthcare for sick animals and emergency treatments, your vet can give you advice about nutrition,training, preventative healthcare and sometimes even advice on where to source your pet if you haven’t already got one.

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