So You're a Nonprofit Hospital...

Why do you ask for donations?

DoveLewis’ mission is to care for every animal, and every person who cares for them.  Always. But not every animal has a family to take care of them, and sometimes families face financial challenges. An emergency with their pet can come out of nowhere and force them to make an impossible choice if they don’t have the resources to pay for emergency veterinary care. We strive to provide a place where these animals can get the care they need, no matter the circumstances. As a part of this community, DoveLewis provides programs to be a resource for these animals.  Donations sustain and grow these programs. 

Where does the money go when I pay my bill?

Revenue from the clinic goes to offset the cost of operating a 24/7 veterinary hospital. Funds from your bills go to expenses just like those in human healthcare - everything from equipment, medical supplies, electricity and oxygen to salaries to pay, recruit and continuously train the employees who provide care for you and your pet (did you know DoveLewis is a teaching hospital too?). We ask for donations to sustain and grow our community programs and maintain our ability to offer care 24/7.

Why is emergency vet care so expensive?

As a Level 1 Emergency and Critical Care Facility, DoveLewis must maintain the staff, technology, resources and specialty training necessary to provide uninterrupted emergency and critical care every hour, 365 days a year – including a separate system to provide continuous energy that will support the hospital in case the power goes out! We take this responsibility seriously, and we are committed to making sure our patients always have a place to access care. DoveLewis regularly benchmarks our service costs against other providers to ensure we are providing fair and equitable rates.

I want to help! Where can my donation make the biggest difference? What does DoveLewis need the most?

​​​​​​​First and foremost – thank you! Our patients and their families are fortunate to have people who want to help. Truth be told, we get this question a lot. The easy answer is to make a gift to DoveLewis’ Area of Greatest Need Fund, or Unrestricted Fund. This type of fund is like the emergency savings account you build for yourself and your family. The hospital uses gifts to the fund to supplement other areas throughout the year. It allows our team the greatest flexibility to put your gift where it is needed, when it is needed most.

From time to time, DoveLewis takes on special projects as our community grows and changes. For example, the hospital recently undertook a capital campaign to expand the current facility after seeing a 27% increase in the number of patients over the last three years. Donations helped cover the cost of this critical expansion. Additionally, sometimes our medical team will raise opportunities to purchase special equipment that will help with the demands being placed on the ER, ICU and specialty departments. Recently some our donors helped purchase a second endoscope which is a tool that is used to look inside an animals stomach and intestines to identify potential foreign body obstructions or what might be causing other health issues.

That said- do you have a DoveLewis program you really care about? The more gifts we have to support a specific program or service area, the more families and pets we are able to help. Many of our donors share stories about how they were once helped by the Velvet Assistance Fund, and now they want to give back to Velvet to help other families who may go through a similar situation. Maybe you brought a stray cat or pup in, and you value having the Stray Animal & Wildlife Program available in the community. Maybe you’ve found yourself with more time after retirement, love volunteering, and have become certified with your dog as a DoveLewis Portland Area Canine Therapy Team, bringing smiles and canine cuddles to people in schools, hospitals, care facilities and courtrooms. Perhaps your pooch is a superhero, donating blood through the DoveLewis Blood Bank to help other dogs in need of blood transfusions for emergency care and medical conditions. Or you experienced the loss of a beloved pet and took some comfort from the group counseling offered by the Pet Loss Support program. Whatever your personal story, your passion and commitment can help make a difference for animals in need.

Do you have a question or want to talk to someone about how you can make a gift to DoveLewis? Contact our development team at!

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