1) What is S.O.S.?     Akita SOS FAQ Sheet  (PDF)
S.O.S. is a program under the Akita Rescue of WNY, Inc. established to provide funding for the care of senior Akitas when their owners are unable to pay the costs. S.O.S.’s overall purpose is to help senior Akitas remain in their home and thus alleviate the senior Akita from ending up in a shelter, rescue, or losing its life.

2) Is S.O.S. a local or national organization?
S.O.S. was started to assist senior Akitas on a national basis. Our parent group is Akita Rescue of WNY, Inc. but S.O.S. is a national program.

3) How is the organization supported?
S.O.S. is seeking contributions from the public as well as from corporations and foundations for its financial support. It has established a Gone But Not Forgotten Program and will hold fundraisers. Eventually we also will have a newsletter subscription as well. Bequests, gifts of life insurance, and other kinds of deferred gifts are also being solicited. S.O.S. receives no governmental aid of any kind.

4) Are contributions to S.O.S. tax deductible?
Yes. Donors may deduct contributions as provided in the Internal Revenue Code. We are a 501(c)(3) not for profit.

5) Who is responsible for the overall operation of S.O.S.?
S.O.S. is governed by its board of directors, as listed on our S.O.S. Board page. We also have an ever growing list of advisers to assist with the daily needs of this operation.

6) When are funds made available to pet owners whose animals are in need of funding to remain in their home?
Funds are to be provided when: (a) Without immediate veterinary care the senior Akita’s chances for survival will be affected; or (b) The senior Akita suffers from a condition that will affect its survival and well-being without veterinary care, or (c) The senior Akita will lose its home without some funding assistance.

7) How does a pet owner qualify for financial aid under S.O.S.?
Any senior Akita pet owner may apply when he/she truly needs financial assistance in order to keep their senior Akita. To verify your financial status, we will ask you to provide identification and some form of documentation indicating that you are currently unemployed, on public assistance, disabled, or living at or below the poverty level. You will have to complete our funding request form and be approved for funding.

8) How do pet owners apply for funding?
Pet owners may apply directly to S.O.S., or may be referred through veterinarians. Our funding form must be filled out and a ruling will be made by the board.

9) How much financial aid will be available to a pet owner through S.O.S.?
The S.O.S. program has a per dog cap/limit per household requesting funding with an emergency funding per dog cap as well.

10) Are there any instances when the pet owner will be expected to contribute to the cost of veterinary care?
If it is determined that the senior Akita owner can afford to pay a portion of the treatment costs, we will ask them to so.

11) Will veterinarians reduce their fees in order to care for animals accepted for treatment under the S.O.S. program?
We are working to institute a national network of veterinarians who are willing to provide senior discounts for a senior Akita we agree to fund. We will pay the veterinarian directly for services and the pet owner will need to work with that veterinarian we have in the area. This program is in its start-up phase and we will need to secure veterinarians willing to work with us. Volunteers on a national level are needed to help get this network up and running. Go to our Volunteer page if you’re interested in assisting in your area or can refer a vet.

12) Will the pets treated through the S.O.S. program receive the same level of care as other veterinary patients?
Yes. If S.O.S. agrees to fund a veterinarian approved treatment, we will pay the veterinarian directly to insure the treatment plan is followed as suggested.

13) Will the owner be given money directly?
NO! Akita-S.O.S. will pay the veterinarian directly for any services authorized and will send directly to the senior Akita’s owner any food, medicine, supplements, or supplies deemed necessary for the senior Akita in need.

14) How will you make sure the owner does not still surrender their dog later?
Just as with any hands-on rescue dog placement, follow-up visits will be conducted. Prior to any funding, we will attempt to have a local person visit with the senior Akita and its owner to insure what is needed. When no local person is available, we will conduct phone interviews with the owner and veterinarian, if needed. After the funding and care is provided for the senior Akita in need, we will do a follow-up visit as well to monitor the senior Akita’s needs. As with any hands-on rescue placement, you can never 100% guarantee what the future will bring, but careful attention and thorough follow-up will be given to insure the senior Akita’s quality of life remains the best it can be within our funding guidelines.

15) How Can You Help S.O.S.?
By becoming a member, a volunteer, corporate partner, or simply making a contribution. Donations to S.O.S. are tax deductible within the IRS guidelines for 501(c)(3) corporations. If you would like to contribute to our work, you may make a donation in any amount you wish.