Gifts in Action

Your Gifts Tell the Story

Behind every gift to WSU's College of Veterinary Medicine is a story. The detection of a new disease helps save lives. A scholarship makes school more affordable. A beloved animal's life is saved from cancer. From everyone at the college, you have our sincere gratitude for your generous support.

  • We Can Feed Our Patients Even Better Thanks to a New Diet Kitchen

    Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04

    Nestle Purina Kitchen

    (l-r) Emily Cross, Purina Veterinary Communications Manager;
    Bryan Slinker, dean of the college; Ainsley Bone (’11 DVM);
    Harmon Rogers, former director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

    Feeding our patients the very best nutrition got a whole lot easier thanks to a partnership between WSU and the Nestlé Purina Center for Nutrition Excellence program. In the spring of 2013, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital received the state-of-the-art dietary kitchen thanks to a $70,000 gift from Nestlé Purina to the college.

    "Nestlé Purina partnered with Washington State University to install a state-of-the-art diet kitchen, which provided a significant upgrade to the hospital’s facilities," said Emily Cross, Purina Veterinary Communications Manager.

    With the diet kitchen, veterinary students, residents and faculty have easier access to therapeutic diets for hospitalized animals. A computer workstation inside the kitchen allows students and veterinarians to use special nutrition software to calculate optimal diets depending on a patient’s needs. There are also dispensers for dozens of dry and canned pet foods that makes it easy to prepare the special diets required by hospital patients.

    "The organization in the kitchen is very helpful in making diet recommendations based on patient conditions," said Matt Mickas, WSU small animal veterinarian.

    For oncology patients, for instance, who greatly benefit from additional calories and high quality nutrition, the kitchen can help veterinarians easily find the optimal diet plan.

    "When animals are really sick they can have food aversions," said Rebekah Lewis, a WSU oncology resident. "Having a variety helps a lot because we can try different foods."

    Lewis explained that maintaining a good quality of life for patients is the goal. "We want them to be as happy and comfortable as we can," she said.

    "By providing ready access to optimally formulated diets, the kitchen enhances the care and recovery of small animal patients," said Deb Sellon, director of the Teaching Hospital. "It also is a great educational tool to help veterinary students better understand how important nutrition is in a comprehensive medical care plan for their patients."

    Nestlé Purina also supports the WSU Pet Loss Support Hotline, the Veterinary Clinical Communications Program, senior papers, scholarships, and our Transitions Ceremony for third year students.


    The state-of-the-art kitchen makes it easy to prepare special diets for patients.


  • A Lifesaving Amputation Gives a Dog a Fighting Chance Thanks to Good Samaritan Funds

    Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04

    Wrigley and Greg

    Wrigley and Greg

    Wrigley was an active, loyal, outgoing dog. One fall day after running on the beach at Point No Point near Hansville, Wash., Greg B. noticed Wrigley was limping. Worried that he had sprained his leg or had a torn ligament, Greg contacted his friend, Dr. Jerry Demuth, at Summit Veterinary Referral Center who suggested he bring him in for an x-ray.

    "All the signs pointed to osteosarcoma," said Greg. Two days later his veterinarian did a bone biopsy and the next day it was confirmed that Wrigley had bone cancer.

    A Cruel Twist of Fate

    The cancer was growing in the upper right elbow of his front leg. Because it was causing Wrigley a lot of pain, Greg was deciding how to best help him. But in one of those improbable life moments, just as Greg was receiving the cancer news from the lab, his office was calling him to tell him he was being laid off from his job in medical sales.

    "At that moment, Wrigley became my number one priority," said Greg. "And what was the best thing I could do for him."

    Realizing the cost of leg amputation and chemotherapy, Greg was unsure how he would be able to pay for the treatments. He knew that he needed to consider leg amputation right away to help with the pain.  As he was reading about osteosarcoma on the web, he learned about a couple who had also gone to great lengths to save their dog. They had taken their dog to a veterinary teaching hospital.

    "When I read that a light bulb went off," said Greg. He called the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital to ask about treatments. And because he now found himself unemployed, he inquired about financial assistance. 

    "That's when I found out about the Good Samaritan Fund," he said. "Learning I qualified for the donation meant I would not have to choose between doing nothing and amputating with treatment. I was able to know Wrigley would not be in pain later and it allowed me to keep pursuing treatments."**

    The Monday before Thanksgiving Wrigley and Greg came to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for the surgery. On Wednesday, Wrigley was ready to make the 5-hour drive home. Knowing that they had to make a long trip, the WSU nurses helped get Wrigley into the car and gave him a relaxing shot to make the trip easier. 

    "Post surgically, everyone was very accommodating," he said. "They stayed just to make sure he could get home."

    That care meant a lot to Greg and to Wrigley.

    The Road to Recovery

    For the first six days after Wrigley's surgery, Greg was unsure what to expect. He had never had a three-legged dog before.  And to see Wrigley in so much pain made him initially second guess his decision.

    "I would look at him and think, I did this so he didn't have to have so much pain," he said. 

    Julia Parker ('14 DVM), a fourth year veterinary student, called him every day for the first several days to see how they were doing. Dr. Julie Noyes, a first year surgical resident at WSU, emailed him every day for the first week.

    "Owners are sometime unsure if their animal may be groggy from the surgery or if they are actually ill," said Dr. Noyes. "Clients can feel alone in the process when they leave the hospital and we are out of the picture. By communicating they feel part of the team."

    Two weeks after his surgery, Wrigley and Greg returned to WSU to have his stitches out and get a post-op review. It was recommended by oncology resident, Dr. Rebekah Lewis, that Wrigley receive five rounds of chemotherapy treatment. While Greg and Wrigley could have received the treatments in Seattle, Greg believes that even with the drive the treatment costs are less at WSU. And he says he is confident that at WSU they have also been getting the best care possible.

    "The service and treatment at WSU has been phenomenal," said Greg. "He's been doing awesome. He is the fastest three-legged dog around."

     **Greg received $1000 from the Good Samaritan Fund to help cover a portion of the costs of the amputation procedure.