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Crowdfunding site helps pet owners afford medical bills

Waggle offers a unique approach to help people pay for unexpected veterinary bills.

PORTLAND, Ore. — After losing a beloved family dog, Darka Dusty decided to foster a poodle mix named Lulu.

“Lulu came into our lives through a foster and adoption organization. Her personality was bigger than any personality I know, including all my friends. She immediately changed my frown and put it upside down. She immediately brought joy back into my life,” said Dusty, who ultimately decided to adopt Lulu.

But it didn’t take long for reality to set in. Dusty got news that Lulu had severe dental disease, and if left untreated, Lulu could die.

Credit: Darka Dusty

“We realized we have to get this done as soon as possible. At that time, it wasn't clear whether we were going to have enough funds for it,” she said.

The cost of the operation was around $1,500, which Dusty and her husband couldn’t afford. That’s when the couple found out about a website called Waggle, a crowdfunding service specifically for pet owners.

Waggle partners directly with veterinary providers and nonprofits to help people pay for vet bills. The money donated goes straight to the provider or clinic, so donors know it ends up where it’s intended.

Waggle hopes to cut down on economic euthanasia, when people are forced to put down their pets because they can’t afford medical treatment.

Darka signed up with Waggle, and the company created a video and crowdfunding website. Within 24 hours, people donated enough money to cover Lulu’s operation.

Credit: Waggle

While removing 12 teeth, the veterinarian also found that Lulu had a tumor.

“It was this incredible lifesaving operation. She not only had dental disease, but she also had a large tumor on her neck. While she was under, we took care of both of those things at the same time,” Dusty said.

Today, Lulu is as spunky as ever, and Dusty and her husband are forever grateful to Waggle.

“Her prognosis is great. She's happy, she's healthy. I don't know of a dog that's more of a cheery, sweet pup than Lulu. She really makes everyone smile,” she said.

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