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Chance encounter leads to lifelong puppy love

By Alex Jimenez

Some people don’t just make a habit out of doing good deeds—they make it their life’s mission. At Morris Animal Foundation, we might also call these people Lamplighters. Diane Tanner is a perfect example.

As a member of the Lamplighter Society, Diane is including Morris Animal Foundation in her estate plans. Her selfless choice will give more animals the opportunity to enjoy longer, healthier lives.

But Diane didn’t decide to become a Lamplighter overnight. In fact, she can trace her commitment to Morris Animal Foundation all the way back to a youthful joy ride and a serendipitous encounter with a dog who changed her life. Diane impishly recounts how she had to stop for gas after being chased around town by the local boys, but she turns a bit serious as she recalls her unexpected encounter with the gas station owner’s ferocious-looking Doberman, Duke.

“Duke came strolling across the lawn like some motorcycle rider with a pack of ciggies rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve,” she continues. “He walked right up to me, leaned on my leg, turned his head up to my eyes, and I swear, he said, ‘Hey baby, what’s your name?’”

Diane was hooked and continued to visit Duke every day. A few years later, when he fathered puppies, Diane didn’t miss a beat and quickly adopted one.

“I named her Ilsa,” Diane says. “And she was my entire life for the next 12-and-a-half years.”

Sadly, on the night of Diane’s birthday many years ago, Ilsa lost a 9-week battle with cancer, passing away in Diane’s arms. It was terribly painful, but Diane remembers how much it meant when her veterinarian sent her a memorial card through Morris Animal Foundation, commemorating Ilsa’s life.

This past year, Diane’s appreciation for Morris Animal Foundation grew even stronger when her late mother became attached to a copy of AnimalNews in the weeks leading up to her passing. The magazine’s cover featured two sweet kittens that Diane’s mother absolutely adored.

Diane sees the magazine as a symbolic token of her mother’s love for animals. Diane’s mother passed away on Valentine’s Day, which she says is fitting because her mom had such a huge heart. “The more love she had, the more she gave away,” Diane says of her mom. “She taught me to love, as did Ilsa. Supporting Morris Animal Foundation is the perfect way to honor them both.”

Now retired, Diane spends her time volunteering at several animal shelters and community outreach programs and tending to the local public gardens. She is also devoted to her greyhound, Fudgie Ripples.

With such a huge heart and an unrivaled dedication to animals and the greater good, Diane is a superb embodiment of a Lamplighter, lighting the future of animal health.

Posted by MAFon May 18, 2012.

Categories: Animal health, Animal studies


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