New Pilot Program Launched to Address Veterinary Technician Shortage Thanks to Maddie’s Fund®

Two Bay Area national animal welfare leaders, the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) and Maddie’s Fund®, marked National Vet Tech Week by announcing a partnership to address critical veterinary field shortages delaying or preventing access to care for many pet owners and animal rescues. A new scholarship program grant from Maddie’s Fund®, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, will be implemented through ARF as a pilot program. It is designed to boost the number of high-demand registered veterinary technicians (RVT), who are essential to access to veterinary care including spay and neuter surgeries.

“The veterinary technician shortage has been impacting pet guardians on a national scale. And it’s a crisis that disproportionately affects under-resourced communities,” said Elena Bicker, executive director of ARF. “Thanks to Maddie’s Fund, we’re taking a proactive approach to increase our capacity to rescue animals in need, expand scarce veterinary services to pet families, and provide entry to a high-demand field.”

This new pilot program aims to reduce financial barriers to educational programs required to become licensed veterinary technicians through a limited number of annual scholarships available to ARF employees.

According to American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), there were only 118,000 veterinary technicians in the US at the end of 2019 – a situation only exacerbated by COVID shutdowns and an exodus from the veterinary field. That number is estimated to be half of the recommended ratio of four techs to each veterinarian. With the demand for appointments increasing, especially for affordable veterinary care services, veterinary hospitals and community programs are feeling the strain.  

 “This program will eliminate the financial barrier for scholarship recipients to advance their careers, while supporting ARF’s lifesaving community programs,” Bicker said. “It’s an intersection of animal care and economic development, and we’re thrilled to have a partner like Maddie’s Fund® willing to look beyond quick fixes and invest in long-term solutions to a problem that’s growing worse every day.”

In addition to this scholarship program, ARF is hiring for several full- and part- time positions in their clinic, including veterinarians, RVTs, vet assistants, and service representatives. Those interested in this lifesaving work can find more information available at

About Maddie’s Fund®

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy for over ten years and continues to inspire them today. The Foundation has awarded over $265 million in grants toward increased community collaborations and live outcomes, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Maddie’s Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.

About the Animal Rescue Foundation

The Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader for its unique, dual mission of People Rescuing Animals … Animals Rescuing People®. With 47,000 adoptions and counting, the 32-year-old Bay Area nonprofit also provides programming to strengthen the human-animal bond for children, seniors, Veterans, and under-resourced community members. With an emphasis in high-quality veterinary care in its own on-site clinic and behavioral care and training, the organization has been recognized with Candid’s Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

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