2018-08-23 / News

Ben’s Fund

The program at a Lyman vet hospital takes off, benefits animals in need


John Boucher Sr. of Biddeford, left, and Jocelyn Layman, office manager at Southern Maine Veterinary Care in Lyman, in front of plaques memorializing Ben, a former patient at the hospital, and Boucher’s beloved black Lab. The team at the vet hospital, including Dr. Chris Lynch, embraced the idea of Ben’s Fund when Boucher came to them shortly after Ben died. (Molly Lovell-Keely photo) John Boucher Sr. of Biddeford, left, and Jocelyn Layman, office manager at Southern Maine Veterinary Care in Lyman, in front of plaques memorializing Ben, a former patient at the hospital, and Boucher’s beloved black Lab. The team at the vet hospital, including Dr. Chris Lynch, embraced the idea of Ben’s Fund when Boucher came to them shortly after Ben died. (Molly Lovell-Keely photo) It’s been three years since Biddeford resident John Boucher Sr. came up with Ben’s Fund, a way to memorialize his best friend, a black lab named Ben who died in 2015 at the age of 11.

Ben’s Fund is a program at Southern Maine Veterinary Care in Lyman where donations can be made and given out at the discretion of staff at the hospital to those who may have a hard time paying for treatments for their companion animals.

Office Manager Jocelyn Layman said funds are generally given out piecemeal.


This, along with a plaque explaining Ben’s Fund, hangs in the lobby of Southern Maine Veterinary Care. (Molly Lovell-Keely photo) This, along with a plaque explaining Ben’s Fund, hangs in the lobby of Southern Maine Veterinary Care. (Molly Lovell-Keely photo) “We may use the fund for blood work or X-rays to figure out a mass or foreign body,” she said. “It has allowed us to do a more complete diagnosis on an animal instead of guessing what may be wrong.”

As difficult as the decision is to euthanize a suffering animal, there are times when the fund has been used for that.

“It’s what’s best for the animal, but the owner couldn’t afford it,” she added.

When Boucher first came up with the idea of Ben’s Fund, he thought he’d make the program further reaching than his own vet, but decided to “keep it at home.”

Layman said one client leaves $20 on the counter for Ben’s Fund every time he visits with his dog.

“Even when his dog was coming in for a no-charge bandage change, he’d leave money,” Layman said.

Boucher doesn’t know who the financial boosts go to, but Layman lets him know when a big donation comes in.

“There were these two sisters who mailed in a $500 check, three times,” he said, glowing. “People are embracing it.”

Layman said the practice offers free health exams to animals rescued from area shelters and people began to offer those exams to Ben’s Fund. There’s also a referral program that includes a monetary incentive. Clients have offered that, too, to Ben’s Fund.

Layman told of one woman who cried when she was told a portion of the services needed for her companion animal were going to be covered by Ben’s Fund.

“She’s wasn’t expecting it,” Layman said. “It was special to us because she had a Lab and Ben was a Lab. You see lots of sad things in a vet hospital but Ben’s Fund allows you to see the good in people.”

Boucher keeps Ben’s ashes close by and every once in a while he’ll look to him and smile.

“’Good job, buddy,’ I’ll say. Ben lives on through this fund. He was always such a good dog, and he’s still doing good.”

To make a donation to Ben’s Fund, send a check to Southern Maine Veterinary Care, 1445 Alfred Road, Lyman, 04002, or stop by the front desk.

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