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.

  • 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.

  • A WSU Small Animal Intern Gets Specialized Critical Care Training thanks to a Gift from The Dean H. Smith Excellence Fund

    Story by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04

    Marie-Lou Gauthier

    Marie-Lou Gauthier,
    WSU Small Animal Intern

    After earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of Montreal, Marie-Lou Gauthier was thrilled to be accepted as an intern at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital to further her education and gain more hands on experience. So she felt very fortunate when she and other WSU interns were given the opportunity to spend two weeks at the Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services (ACCES) in Seattle.

    "Getting a chance to be in a private practice and speak with a criticalist and learn as much as I could was a great experience," said Gauthier. "It really increased our confidence."

    While at ACCES, the interns were able to work on a wide range of cases with the critical care medical team and the other veterinarians. They were also encouraged to be involved in the patient cases and go along on rounds with the critical care veterinarian.

    The opportunity was possible thanks to the Dean H. Smith Excellence Fund. The fund was established by Dr. Dean Smith ('49 WSU DVM) to support his alma mater.

    After she finishes the WSU internship, Marie-Lou plans to do a specialized neurology internship in Texas and after that she will apply for a neurology residency. Her hope is to become board certified and work as a neurologist at a university.

    She is grateful for the experience she's had at WSU and believes her time at ACCES will help her succeed in her career.

    "It was really important see how emergency care worked in a private practice," said Gauthier. "It gave me a new perspective about what emergency medicine is."