Dear Friend,

If you’re like us, pets are part of the family and a source of comfort and companionship. Imagine if an unexpected veterinary expense was more than you could afford and you were faced with the terrible decision whether to euthanize or surrender your pet?

Take the case of Henry, a lovable Dachshund whose companion, Catherine, found herself in a very tough spot earlier this year.

It’s hard to believe that Henry was an unwanted puppy. Fortunately Catherine was looking for her ‘perfect dachshund’, saw his face online and was immediately smitten. She drove to Manteca, California, picked him up and brought him home to San Francisco. Catherine loved him and he loved her and all was well for almost five years.

This past January Henry began to have back problems. First, there was unusual crying and obvious discomfort and then suddenly, paralysis. Catherine immediately took Henry to the E.R. of San Francisco Veterinary Specialists (SFVS). After a thorough examination Catherine received the bad news that Henry had a slipped disc in his back that was putting pressure on his spinal cord and without surgical intervention, his rear legs would be permanently paralyzed. The estimate for the surgery to correct this problem was way more than Catherine could possibly afford which left her with only two other options: put Henry to sleep or surrender him and the clinic would try to find a new owner who could afford the surgery.

At that point everyone was in tears. The hospital staff came up with a plan to save Henry. Five veterinarians combined their grants from San Francisco Aid for Animals (SFAfA) and with the hospital match lowered the bill by $7,000. The surgery was a complete success; Henry spent three days in the hospital and went home walking on all four legs. Today he is happy and active, a much loved perfect dachshund. 

In Catherine’s own words: "Dear SFVS Doctors: I cannot thank you all enough for saving Henry’s life. The night that I brought him to your emergency room was the absolute worst night of my life. When I witnessed Henry lose the full use of his hind legs my world fell apart. It was you, SFAfA and the kind, comforting staff at SFVS that worked so diligently to make it happen. I don’t know how I could ever repay each and everyone who donated to Henry’s surgery but please accept my sincerest thanks. Henry is also an Emotional Support Animal and is the calm to my storm when I face depression and anxiety. His warm greeting at the door after a long day of work and listening to everyone’s problems has always meant so much to me. In a few days we both celebrate our birthdays, being only one day apart, and we will always remember everyone whose help allowed us another sweet year together. We love you all! " -Catherine

Catherine and Henry’s story is just one of the dozens of cases we have helped with this year. Over the last year we have made over $30,000 in grants to help more than 50 beloved pets stay with their families. With your help, and our continuing partnership with more than 90 local veterinarians, SFAfA will be able to offer more grants in aid. 

Every dollar you donate turns into at least two dollars of pet care. This is accomplished by our requirement that the veterinary practices in our program contribute medical services of equal value to the grant we provide. We are proud that many of the hospitals contribute substantially more in services than we do in cash.

SFAfA is entirely volunteer-run. We have no paid staff and no office to support, so most of your donation goes directly to keeping companion animals and their families together.

Please take a moment to write a check or visit our website at to make a donation. Any amount you can afford is greatly appreciated. With your support we can continue to grow. Your generous donation will allow the next dog, cat, bird or other companion animal facing an emergency to stay with their family. 

Thank you,
Kathy Hajopoulos
Program Chair, SFAfA Advisory Committee


No matter what the amount, your tax-deductible gift will make a difference. Does your employer have a matching contribution program? Consider including Community Initiatives / SFAfA in that program. Your dollar could go even further!

Please take a moment to write a check and mail to: 3545 Pine Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94104-3229 or visit our website at to make a donation. Any amount you can afford is greatly appreciated. With your support we can continue to grow. Your generous donation will allow the next dog, cat, bird or other companion animal facing an emergency, to stay with their family.
Our mailing address is:
354 Pine St., Suite 700, San Francisco, CA 94104-3229

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San Francisco Aid for Animals · 354 Pine Street · San Francisco, CA 94104 · USA

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