by Barry B. Burtis D.V.M.
Goldie made her first visit to the animal hospital when she was just nine weeks old. A blond haired little butterball, confident, outgoing and beaming, she waddled into the examination room with her proud new owners. Actually, she slept through most of that first visit. Stretched out on the exam table, totally passed out after the excitement of her checkup, she missed the discussion about vaccines, spaying, feeding and various other health care matters.
Over the next fourteen years she made regular return trips to see her friends on her health care team. She got to know them and they got to know her. It was a mutual appreciation relationship that developed. Goldie's family, who loved her, acted as her chauffeur, her interpreter, paid her health care bills and administered any medical after care required, were lovely people, dedicated and responsible pet owners. It was always a pleasure for the staff at the veterinary hospital to see them, as well as Goldie.
It was indeed a very sad and difficult day, for both Goldie's family and her health care providers, when the time came to say goodbye. There were many memories recalled and strong emotions felt by all. However, it was the correct decision to let Goldie's life end peacefully and with dignity. Her final moments were spent in her own home, lying in her favourite spot in front of the family room window, surrounded by those who knew and loved her. The last act of kindness her veterinarian could offer caused her no pain, as the injection was given.
As a way of offering sympathy to her grieving owners and to celebrate Goldie's life, a donation was made, in her name, by the animal hospital, to the Ontario Veterinary College Pet Trust Fund. Goldie's owners were very appreciative of this gesture and when they learned more about the OVC Pet Trust, they also gave a monetary gift in her memory. This registered charity has helped people memorialize animals and advance veterinary medical knowledge for the past twenty years. Could there be any better way to ensure the memory of a cherished pet lives on in the health and well-being of other special animals?
The Pet Trust Fund was established in 1986 and is the only program of its type in Ontario dedicated to advancing the health, health care and quality of life of companion animals.
Over the years, generous gifts from animal lovers have raised $10 million dollars. These funds have been used to fund vital programs that benefit companion animals in many ways. There is support for research projects that explore common health problems. There has been development of new therapeutic, diagnostic and surgical techniques. Pet Trust funds were instrumental in bringing radiation therapy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to the Ontario Veterinary College. Other studies have assisted with further understanding of animal behaviour and the special human-animal bond. Monies have been utilized to educate veterinary specialists by providing scholarships for graduate students focusing on companion animal medicine. Finally, Pet Trust has supported projects that enhance the quality of care in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the OVC.
Recently, the OVC Pet Trust Fund board of trustees has agreed to lead the campaign to raise $10 million to fund the establishment of a cancer centre. The OVC companion animal cancer centre will be a first in Canada. The campaign will help attract international leadership in the field of animal oncology. It will allow more faculty to train future leaders in the area of animal cancer. It will also allow for the employment of more veterinary specialists to provide care to pets living with the disease. More researchers will be able to pursue the science that will eventually lead to breakthroughs in treatment and patient care.
Support from Pet Trust will also allow OVC to build new examination rooms and purchase new equipment such as a linear accelerator to offer more effective radiation treatments for pets with cancer.
For more information about the OVC Pet Fund Trust, visit online at www.pettrust.ca or ask your veterinarian.