No one needs to tell Landon Brough, president of the 2021 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine class at Washington State University, or his peers just how special the bond between humans and their pets can be.
They have all seen it in their own patients and clients at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
It is why they decided to donate $4,000 of their class treasury to WSU’s Good Samaritan Fund. The fund was established more than two decades ago by WSU veterinary students to help animals in need of care but who were either ownerless or their owners could not afford treatment. In 2020 alone, the fund awarded more than $100,000 to help provide critical care to 179 animals at the WSU veterinary hospital in Pullman.
“Pet ownership is such a wonderful blessing and so enriching in our lives that the last thing that I would want someone to have to go through is to shorten that experience because finances got in the way,” Brough said. “I think those who have the means to donate and those who have personally been blessed by the companionship of animals should also consider donating to the fund.”
In an ordinary year, money in the class’s treasury would go toward paying for graduation events and a speaker, and to purchase a “senior gift” for the college. Of course, COVID-19 changed graduation plans and the class had more money than typical to direct to their gift.
“So, we said how can we use these funds – do we throw ourselves a graduation party? Instead, we said, let’s donate it,” Brough said.
The fund has helped to provide care to countless animals since it was established in 1996, largely thanks to the effort of Kevin Sheehy (’96 DVM).
“I noticed there were a lot of cases with students and other people who didn’t have the money to pay for treatments for the pets,” Sheehy said, remembering his first days at WSU. “There was no real fund to help people like that on the fixable stuff, like a broken leg, a bite wound or an abscess.”
Prior to arriving in Pullman, Sheehy worked under WSU alumnus Kyle Frandle (’80 DVM) at the Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital in Los Gatos, California. The clinic had its own Good Samaritan Fund, and Sheehy witnessed first-hand the difference it made for people who didn’t have the means to provide needed veterinary care for their pets. With that experience, Sheehy modeled a fund at WSU that persists today.
Sheehy is now practicing veterinary medicine in Santa Rosa, California, in addition to serving as an adjunct professor for the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Diagnostic Challenge.
He is proud the fund is still helping to save animals and that the senior class chose to contribute toward it.
“Everyone has their challenges over the years,” Dr. Sheehy said, “so hopefully people are encouraged to start their own funds in their hospitals because it is a great resource to have.”