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November 15, 2018 – Over the last 15 years, Dr. Mark Rutman and his associates estimate they have sent nearly 3,000 Morris Animal Foundation memorial cards to clients who have had to say goodbye to their pets. Each card represents a donation to Morris Animal Foundation-funded research that seeks solutions for the many health threats animals face.

For Dr. Rutman’s team, after providing their client’s pets with as much quality time as possible, the cards also allow them to honor the pets who had been under their care, as well as the owners who are grieving the loss of those pets.

“We want to do something as a last gift for our clients. The cards we have sent through your Foundation have been very appropriate,” said Dr. Rutman, who practices at the Eastside Dog and Cat Hospital in Chesterland, Ohio. “Many of our clients respond to our cards, saying they really appreciate the donation in their pet’s name. The concept of promoting the entire animal profession is something that has been very appealing to us and making a donation in their pet’s name helps to convey to the owners that we really do care and that we are sorry for their loss.” 

In March 2017, Dr. Rutman saw Mama, a 10-year-old black, domestic shorthair cat that was presented to him for dramatic weight loss. Cancer was suspected, but could not be confirmed. Dr. Rutman and his team started her on a course of prednisolone and Mama made a miraculous recovery, gaining weight and eating normally once again. Her owners felt she was back to normal.

Unfortunately, in late September of 2018, her owners brought Mama back after noticing she had trouble breathing. X-rays confirmed a cancer diagnosis and she was euthanized. Although Mama’s family was distraught over her loss, they were thankful to have had more quality time with her.

The next day, Dr. Rutman sent Mama’s owners a Foundation memorial card with some personal words of condolence. Mama’s family responded with a letter of their own, thanking his team for their compassion and the care they provided, as well as for donating in Mama’s name.

“It’s a wonderful way for veterinarians to stay in touch with people who have lost pets,” said Dr. Rutman. “It’s not uncommon for a family member to come back many years later to say ‘you sent this wonderfully thoughtful card and gave a donation to Morris Animal Foundation. We really appreciated it.’”

Morris Animal Foundation tribute and memorial cards aren’t just available to veterinarians. Anyone can send tribute cards to honor a friend or family member’s pet, celebrate a birthday or holiday, or simply just to say you are thinking of them. Visit our online store where you’ll find a beautiful selection of tribute and seasonal cards. Select your card, create a personalized message or choose from several preformatted options, select your donation amount (minimum of $10), then enter your recipient’s mailing information.

This season, you can help cats like Mama and the special animals in your life have more snuggles and more special moments. Please consider making a gift to the Foundation, whether through our Tribute Card program or an end-of-year gift. And, now through December 31, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $100,000, thanks to a group of generous donors.