by Lynne Haley, senior director of development
The Pet Memorial Program has been a favorite of mine since arriving at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine over 20 years ago. The program is a way to offer meaningful comfort to those who have lost an animal companion or for those who want to make a lasting memorial of their own. Periodically I take some time to read through the stories and look at the photos posted by animal “parents,” and every once in a while, I even look up my beloved dog “Timber,” who is memorialized there. The stories are heartwarming and heartbreaking, but a good reminder of why veterinary medicine is so important.
Recently, we received an estate gift from a man who was relatively unknown to us. He never let us know we were in his will, so when the gift arrived it was a welcomed surprise. I love a good mystery and sometimes spend way too much time researching them. This one however, I found extremely gratifying and worth the time. When we received the funds from Earl Tanner’s estate, they were designated for the Pet Memorial Program. I had a hunch that the only way he would even know to designate funds toward the Pet Memorial Program was if someone had memorialized his pet in the past. After a bit of sleuthing, I found “Fantasy” on our Pet Memorial Program website. It turns out that VCA Redwood Animal Hospital had made a $25 donation in Fantasy’s memory in 2014—thank you, VCA Redwood Animal Hospital and Dr. Kenneth Jacobsen (’77 BS, ’82 DVM)! Following that gift, Earl and Ruth Tanner also made a $200 gift to the Pet Memorial Program to memorialize Fantasy, and then they obviously added us to their estate plans.
More than $475,000 came from the Tanner estate to support our Pet Memorial Program fund. Pet Memorial funds are used for teaching and research priorities set by the dean of the college. What a nice welcome gift for our new dean, Dori Borjesson! Dean Borjesson is still getting to know the college but already has several priority areas she knows she will be spending some of these funds: diversity and inclusion scholarships and innovative education.
Many thanks to the Tanners, as well as everyone else who memorializes their pets (or their friend’s or client’s pets) through our Pet Memorial Program.