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Las Vegas Singer Raises Over $5000 in "A Canine Christmas" Musical Show

Story by Marcia Hill Gossard '99, '04

Dolly Coulter and Jacquelyn Holland-Wright
Dolly Coulter and Jacquelyn Holland-Wright

Some people have really big hearts. When Dr. Jon Pennell ('81 DVM) made a donation to the Pet Memorial Program at WSU to honor a black lab named Gus who succumbed to cancer in 2010, Gus’ owner Jacquelyn Holland-Wright did something extraordinary--she put on a musical show.

Jacquelyn, a singer who has recently performed the lead in Mamma Mia at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, decided to put on the show as a thank you to Dr. Pennell and to raise money for the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine. She and her close friend, Dolly Coulter, planned the first annual "A Canine Christmas" held December 27, 2011.

Once we put our hearts and minds to it, it was effortless," Jacquelyn said.

She invited everyone who had been involved with Gus personally or with her professionally. Jacquelyn and her closest friends performed Christmas carols for an audience of about 75. The show ended with the full cast singing "Joy to the World."

"It was such a success and a beautiful tribute," Jacquelyn said. Her goal was to support cancer care, stating, "We want to try to help veterinarians come up with answers since so many have lost their pets to cancer."

A total of $5,559.80 was raised and donated to the college.

"He [Gus] was amazing to me," Jacquelyn said. "We would hike every day. When I would sing, he would sing." She hopes to make this an annual event that will benefit animal cancer research.

The entire cast of 'A Canine Christmas'
The entire cast of "A Canine Christmas"
Jacquelyn and Gus
Jacquelyn and Gus

Jacquelyn is currently in the Tony award musical "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" at the newly renovated Plaza Hotel downtown Vegas (May 2012).

"Gus continues to teach me: live simply, love generously, care deeply and speak kindly. Thanks Gus!" - Jacquelyn Holland-Wright

Washington State University