Funding Assistance Details

Please read this section for DETAILED guidelines and to ensure you are eligible for aid. (Get the PDF)
If you still aren’t certain whether your situation is eligible, please apply and the S.O.S. board will make that determination.

Eligible Rescuers:
S.O.S. will accept applications to aid rescued purebred Akitas from any group, organization, or from an individual who is of legal age (18 years).  The Akita must be at least 9 years of age or older to be considered as a “senior.”

S.O.S. cannot and does not provide long-term funding for the care of Akitas in rescue.  However, in the following cases S.O.S. will consider funding for dogs adopted within the last two weeks if the application meets all other S.O.S. guidelines:

a.  INDIVIDUAL RESCUES: An individual has rescued an Akita that was injured or ill at the time of rescue, and plans to provide a permanent home for the dog.

b.  ADOPTION THROUGH A HUMANE SOCIETY OR SHELTER: An Akita that appeared healthy or had a minor illness/injury has been adopted from a shelter and, after adoption, it becomes apparent that the dog’s condition was more serious then it appeared.

c.  PLACEMENTS THROUGH A RESCUE ORGANIZATION: Within the first two weeks after an ill or injured Akita has been taken into an established rescue organization, and a permanent home is waiting for the dog. If a treatable health issue arises, during the funding application waiting period, the Akita may qualify for assistance from S.O.S.  The assumption here will be that, in the absence of an adoptive home, the case would have met all S.O.S. funding guidelines, and that the adoption would have been seriously jeopardized if the assistance were not available.

Under no circumstances does S.O.S. fund routine, non-emergency care, such as spay/neuter, microchipping, flea/heartworm prevention, vaccinations, routine worming, teeth cleaning, grooming, or any non-life threatening general care.

An examination by a veterinarian must take place within two weeks of adoption, and the illness, injury, or condition must be diagnosed at that time.  As always, S.O.S. must have a clear indication from the treating veterinarian that the dog has a reasonable chance to have a good quality of life if treated.

S.O.S. is the last resort as a source of funding.  If the individual or organization is eligible for funding of any portion of expenses through a breed or other rescue organization, that funding must have been denied or exhausted before applying to S.O.S.  The reason for denial must be stated at the time of application to S.O.S.

We expect rescuer(s) will cover all of the usual expenses incurred during the process of rescue with their adoption fees.
Please apply to S.O.S. only for funds needed by an individual Akita when you are unable to cover the expense with your adoption fee.

Eligible Dogs:
To be eligible for funds from S.O.S., the dog must be a purebred Akita or resembling a purebred Akita closely enough that the S.O.S. board is reasonably certain the dog is an Akita.

  • Applicants must provide a clear picture of the dog to enable the committee to verify its eligibility as an Akita.
  • The dog must not show signs of aggression toward humans.  No excuses and under no circumstances will aggression be acceptable.
  • The dog must be neutered or spayed, or a planned spay/neuter must be scheduled as soon as medically possible.

S.O.S. cannot fund medical expenses for dogs turned into rescue, as our mission is to enable a senior dog to remain in their home.  When it is inevitable that an Akita will lose its home, and a permanent home is available, but the re-homing is not possible without medical treatment, we may consider an exception.  The S.O.S. Board will make the final decisions on aid to the Akita.  Ultimately, the S.O.S. board has the right to refuse any application for any reason.

If a dog is terminally ill, or needs to be euthanized for unpredictable temperament, S.O.S. will consider paying for the euthanasia in a more humane setting than a shelter.  Extreme medical treatments for dogs at the end of life will not be considered.  Each case will be judged as to quality of future life for that dog.

Eligible Expenses:
Expenses must have been incurred within six months of the application.

S.O.S. may provide monetary assistance toward medical expenses, and possibly toward other extraordinary expenses on a case by case decision.

The board assigns a per-dog limit, except under extraordinary circumstances.  The board may review each limit on a case-by-case basis at its discretion.

S.O.S.’s first goal is to make sure that expenses for therapeutic medical needs are covered.  Therapeutic medical care is defined as treatment that either cures or alleviates a current condition or illness.  Before funds are given, a licensed veterinarian must assess all injuries and ailments and make a reasonable prediction that the dog has a good chance for an acceptable quality of life with treatment.  The vet should provide a detailed list of treatments required and/or given.

While we have sufficient funds, we may also cover expenses of providing preventive care for dogs in permanent homes.  Preventative care is defined as the use of medicine to prevent debilitating conditions.  Vaccinations and heartworm preventative fall in this category.

We may also be able to help with non-medical, extraordinary expenses.  We may consider boarding for short term, when no other housing is available while the owner is actively searching for alternate housing.

At present we do not cover such “normal” expenses of rescue as toys, collars, leashes, phone calls, and advertising.  Food will be supplied on an as needed basis, again to keep the Akita in its home or to assist with a better quality of life.

If the funding request is for non-emergency surgery, all surgical and non-surgical options need to be considered.  S.O.S. may require the applicant to seek a second opinion and/or further evaluation to ensure that the suggested surgery or treatment is the only option for ensuring a good quality of life for the dog.  In the event that a second opinion is requested, S.O.S. will pay for the second opinion.

S.O.S. generally cannot help with cataract surgery, nor with consultations about cataracts.  If an applicant decides to pay for a consultation with a veterinary ophthalmologist, and that ophthalmologist is very confident surgery will greatly improve a dog’s sight, we may consider helping with surgery.

Funding for TPLO cruciate ligament surgery may be considered for only a small portion of the total cost, if at all, and only then if, in the opinion of the veterinarians consulted, there are no other options that will result in a satisfactory prognosis.  In addition to being very costly, this surgery does not reflect an immediate or emergency need for a dog and there are alternative treatments/surgeries (such as lateral suture stabilization or extra-capsular repair) available which are much less expensive.

Applications for the treatment of congenital orthopedic conditions will be considered with the following additional requirements:

a.   If the funding request is for surgery to correct a congenital orthopedic condition, the veterinarian has assessed the condition and is of the opinion that the dog’s quality of life and adoptability will be significantly compromised without surgery, as opposed to other maintenance treatment options.

b.  If the funding request is for the correction of hip dysplasia, all surgical options need to be considered.  Total hip replacements and triple pelvic osteotomy (as opposed to femoral head ostectomy or other procedures) may be partially funded by S.O.S. only if, in the opinion of the veterinarian and S.O.S. veterinary advisers there are no other options that will result in a satisfactory prognosis.

c.   S.O.S. may require the applicant to seek a second opinion and further evaluation to ensure that the suggested surgery or treatment is the only option for ensuring a good quality of life for the dog. S.O.S. will not be responsible for funding this type of evaluation.

d.  The dog must be symptomatic.  That is, a diagnosis was based not only from routine x-rays, but the Akita must be showing signs of lameness or other dysfunction.  Many dogs with hip dysplasia never display any lameness throughout their life.  Applications for funding these conditions must include a description of the symptoms being displayed by the dog.

e.  While S.O.S. does not wish to suggest “bargain shopping” for veterinary care, because of the high cost of orthopedic work all options for surgery should also be explored by the applicant (vet schools, a vet that will give a larger senior discount, etc.). S.O.S. reserves the option of offering a partial funding.

S.O.S. will not fund the entire cost of treatment for a dog living in an adoptive home (also known as a “forever” home).  The adoptive/rescue home is expected to pay some portion of the cost.  Applications must include a dollar amount that will be paid, or that has already been paid, by the new owner.  Prior to release of funds, S.O.S. will require receipts documenting these expenditures.

In all ownership situations, funding applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the severity of the illness/injury and the details of the case.  The fact that S.O.S. may have funded a similar case in the past is not in itself a guarantee that funding will be granted.

Ready to apply?  Apply for funding and submit a Photo Consent form now.