Thousands of dogs are diagnosed with cancer every day. The news isn’t only emotionally devastating—it can be financially devastating as well; canine cancer treatment is often prohibitively expensive for people with limited means. And when a hearing, guide, or service dog is diagnosed with cancer, there’s another entire level of concern.
Magic Bullet Fund began in 2005 to help people with financial need afford cancer treatment for their dogs (it is not specific to assistance dogs). The fund is reserved for people whose dog would not otherwise be able to receive treatment without monetary assistance, paying the portion uncovered by the dog’s owner.
Aid is also only made available in situations where treatment stands a reasonable chance of adding at least one year of life expectancy with a good quality of life. Magic Bullet Fund money may not applied to past-due balances from care, diagnostics, experimental treatments, veterinary bills related to other health conditions, palliative care, or euthanasia.
Founder Laurie Kaplan adopted an 18-month-old Siberian husky named Bullet from the SPCA in 1992. In 2000, at the age of 9, Bullet was diagnosed with lymphoma. With chemotherapy and a well-researched at-home care regimen, Bullet exceeded the average life expectancy of two years. In fact, Bullet was in remission for four and a half years when he passed due to kidney failure at the age of 14. He was dubbed “Magic Bullet” by his veterinary care team.
Kaplan authored the book “Help Your Dog Fight Cancer” and founded Magic Bullet Fund in 2005 in conjunction with the Perseus Foundation.
Magic Bullet Fund does not issue grants, but instead performs a 30-day fundraising campaign to deliver financial aid for canine cancer treatment. It has a network of sponsors and a honed process for soliciting donors. The recipient is expected to help publicize the push for funds, though.
Applications and applicant financial information are reviewed, and when the organization has a possible recipient, a case manager consults the dog’s veterinary care provider. The dog’s family is notified as soon as a decision is reached.
Funds are collected by the organization and paid directly to the clinic providing the cancer care. Any money that isn’t spent on the particular dog is moved to a general fund to help other dogs.
See this page on the Magic Bullet Fund website for additional information about eligibility and to submit an application for financial assistance.