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Donor’s support pays off in an unexpected ways

By Kimberly Smith

As a lifelong animal lover, Linda Stone, of Scottsdale, Arizona, has experienced the deaths of her dog (kidney failure), skunk (hemophilia) and trap-neuter-release cat (transmittable venereal tumor). When her veterinarian made a donation in memory of her cat Darth Vader, Linda assumed that Morris Animal Foundation was named after Morris the Cat from the famous 9 Lives commercials. She quickly discovered that our namesake was really Dr. Mark Morris Sr., a forward-thinking veterinarian who believed there was a need for a foundation to advance animal health.

Linda shares, “A steep learning curve followed, and the more I read the more impressed I became with the broad scope of the Foundation’s research, its groundbreaking results and the expertise of the researchers involved.”

Linda’s dedication to animal health comes in all forms, not only as financial support of animal health science. She has traveled the world to observe animals in their native habitats. Currently, she volunteers with a local nonprofit group, Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry, which works to keep pets with their owners when their “people” are homeless, veterans, seniors, disabled or financially struggling.

“As a single woman, I know personally what good companions all kinds of animals can be,” she says.

Over the years, Linda has generously supported many Morris Animal Foundation–funded studies, and this year something special happened when one of her own cats benefited from a study she is supporting. The study is being conducted by Dr. Craig Webb, of Colorado State University, who is exploring the use of probiotics in felines to improve treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Linda had adopted Kahlie, a rescue cat, in 2009, and shortly thereafter the cat underwent a total ear canal ablation with lateral tympanic bulla osteotomy. After surgery, Kahlie started slowly losing weight. Although lab tests showed no identifiable problems, nothing changed this downward trend.

Out of desperation, and even though Kahlie had no IBD symptoms, Linda decided, with her veterinarian’s approval, to start Kahlie on probiotics in December 2012. No other lifestyle modifications were made, and within two months the lovable cat had gained back all the weight she had lost.

“If I had not known about this Morris Animal Foundation study, who knows what would have eventually happened to my girl,” Linda says. “There is an old saying that what goes around comes around, and for me this has been especially true. It makes me feel good to donate to such a worthy organization, and thanks to Morris Animal Foundation, my own cat has directly benefited from its research.”

What a powerful example of how science improves the lives of animals—even our own when we least expect it.

Categories: Animal health, Cat diseases, Cat health
May 31, 2013