TVMF PALS Program Gets a New Name

The TVMF PALS (Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors) program is now known as the TVMF LEAP (Lending Economic Assistance for Pets) program.

In 2012, the TVMF PALS program began as a partnership between the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) and the Meals on Wheels Central Texas (MOWCTX) PALS program in Austin with the goal of providing 40 pets belonging to homebound MOWCTX clients with basic wellness veterinary care free of charge. Prior to partnering with TVMF, MOWCTX had already started a successful pet-food delivery program called PALS. When the partnership between the two organizations began, it was agreed that the partnership to provide veterinary care would be called the TVMF PALS program. Over time, as the program became more successful, it expanded to include more services, such as dental surgeries and mass removals, and began to operate in more cities. Today, the TVMF PALS program operates in five cities—Austin, Bryan/College Station, Dallas, Houston and Abilene—and benefits more than 460 pets per year.

While the program has seen tremendous growth through its partnership with Meals on Wheels organizations across Texas, the use of the PALS name has caused confusion due to its origination with Meals on Wheels Central Texas. In addition, TVMF has been approached by other community-based nonprofit organizations seeking to develop partnerships modeled on TVMF’s partnerships with Meals on Wheels. With the prospect of these new partnerships, which would expand the demographics of clients served, a new name was needed that could include all partnerships following the PALS model. 

At a December 2019 board meeting, TVMF Trustees set a goal of deciding on a new name for this important program. The new name—Lending Economic Assistance for Pets—was proposed by Mark Sheets, DVM, of the Animal Clinic of Grand Prairie. Trustees voted for this name based on its appealing acronym, LEAP, and its inclusivity for a wide range of clients. Existing Meals on Wheels partnerships will now fall under the LEAP name as well as partnerships with other local nonprofits.

TVMF proposed the following description of the LEAP program: “The Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation LEAP (Lending Economic Assistance for Pets) program provides much-needed veterinary care free of charge to animals belonging to economically disadvantaged community members. The TVMF LEAP program is a truly synergistic partnership between TVMF and local nonprofit organizations that promote and support the well-being of some of our most vulnerable community members. By capitalizing on the strengths of each organization, we are able to provide a service to underserved pets and their families that enhances the quality of life of pets and humans alike. By caring for the pets of our disadvantaged community members, the TVMF LEAP program is promoting and preserving these important human-animal bonds, enhancing the quality of life for these vulnerable individuals and ensuring that none of our TVMF LEAP clients have to choose between caring for their pet and their own necessities.”