TEXAS VETERINARY MEDICAL FOUNDATION
Rusk Veterinary Grants
The Rusk Veterinary Grants offer financial assistance for qualifying families in need of medical or surgical intervention for their beloved pet. These one-time grants aim to preserve the human-animal bond by funding life-saving or life-changing veterinary care to a pet that might otherwise be relinquished, euthanized or enduring prolonged suffering.
The grants are named in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Colton Rusk and Eli, the bomb-sniffing dog assigned to Rusk in his post as a military dog handler. When Rusk was killed by sniper fire in Afghanistan on December 6, 2010, Eli threw his body on his fallen handler and stayed with him until other Marines arrived at the scene. Following the loss of their son, Kathy and Darrell Rusk decided to adopt the dog they had heard so much about. Because the U.S. military had spent thousands of dollars on Eli's training, he was still considered operational, but the Secretary of the Navy approved his discharge, marking only the second time in history that a U.S. military dog has been adopted by the family of the fallen handler. Today, Eli lives with the Rusk family in the Southeast Texas city of Orange Grove. When the TVMF Board of Trustees learned about Eli, they stepped in to fund any veterinary care the black Labrador may need in the future.
Because Eli and Colton's relationship exemplifies the strength of the human-animal bond, TVMF wanted to further recognize the service of both Eli and Colton by creating a veterinary grant program and naming it in their honor.
In order to be eligible for a Rusk Veterinary Grant, financial need must be demonstrated (either as a low-income family or because of undue financial burden due to extenuating circumstances) along with the capability to make some financial contribution toward the cost of the animal's care. (Those ineligible for the grants may wish to consider CareCredit, a business alliance partner of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association that allows for veterinary care to be paid off in installments.) The animal must also have a good-to-excellent prognosis following the medical or surgical intervention.
Only veterinarians who are members in good standing of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association and who practice in the state of Texas will be eligible to apply for these grants for their clients.
To make a donation toward funding the Rusk Veterinary Grants, please click here.