2006-06-15 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets...

by Joanne Anderson

Patricia Cornwell with Okey and the Cornell staff. Patricia Cornwell with Okey and the Cornell staff. "You can measure the civility of a society by the way it treats its animal," states Patricia Cornwell, the award winning author of so many mystery and crime novels such as Body Farm and Trace. Her latest book At Risk is the current "NY Times" #1 best seller. Ms. Cornwell champions animals in need, and last week on her 50th birthday, Cornell University Hospital for Animals at the College of Veterinary Medicine dedicated The Patricia Cornwell Intensive Care unit for Companion Animal. On June 9th a name plaque was installed to honor her gift of $1 million. The popular writer wanted her donation to be spent in a way that would benefit the most animals, and Cornell did just that.

A descendant of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Cornwell has embraced personal causes including victims' support, historical research and forensic studies, but her fondness for pets, particularly Bulldogs, prompted her commitment to Cornell. Her pledge came as gratitude for the excellent care her beloved English Bulldog Booboo received from veterinary internist Dr. Richard Goldstein and his staff. She returned later with Okey, a rescued Bulldog. The author brought Okey and his new owner to the Ithaca campus for the best in medical care. Okey was found with one eye blinded and almost totally deaf due to neglect, but his treatment at Cornell helped to improve his quality of life. To date 6 of the author's pets have been to Cornell.

Mush, the Tabby Mush, the Tabby When people ask her why go to trouble for just one dog, Cornwell responds, "believe you look at the life in front of you and do what you can. That's what they do at Cornell." Thanks to her generous gift, a wireless server was installed that beams MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, and x-rays throughout the Companion Animal Hospital. Every second counts when an animal is in crisis. This state of the art technology allows the veterinary team to view and share the images more quickly, which in turn speeds up diagnosis and treatment. The server was intended for the approximately 17,000 pets seen annually at the Companion Animal Hospital but the new system is enriching other departments, like the equine hospital, too.

Cornwell's concern for animals is global. Prior to the Cornell project, she strove to preserve endangered species. A laboratory in North Florida at White Oaks Conservation Center, one of the world's premiere wildlife breeding, research, and training facilities, is named in her honor. Established in 1982 as part of Gilman International, the 500 acres of White Oaks provides conservation techniques that ensure genetic diversity in 60 threatened species, including 2 close relatives of the giraffethe okapi and the bongo. Research continues to strengthen the genetic structure of captive populations and to explore ways to reintroduce at risk species into the wild.

Snickers, Collie/ Snickers, Collie/ Patricia Cornwell really knows how to celebrate a landmark birthday. For years the author's suspenseful insight into the criminal mind has brought her millions of readers, international acclaim and fortune. Her recent generosity, in honor of her own dogs, will sharpen the medical insight of Cornell clinicians so they can touch the lives of the thousands of animals "in front of them", and so many more beyond.

An abandoned dog or cat now at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (643-9270) Miller Place Syosset would love to be #1 in your book. See more photos on the Oyster Bay Petfinder website.

Cats: The cats at the shelter really need you now. Two weeks ago the shelter rescued a large collection of neglected cats from a home in Hicksville after their elderly owner was hospitalized. The SPCA and other groups are placing the infant kittens, but 33 of the older kittens and adults are now available at the shelter. These cats have tested FeLV/FIV negative. They deserve a chance for a much better life. "Mush" #60439 a longhair tabby female is a favorite of the Hicksville horde because she is so loving and playful. Another beauty is a longhair black female teen kitten #60440. Huge SPCAstyle seizures of animals are tragic in themselves, but they also fill the limited space in town shelters and compete with the existing pet population for good homes.

Dogs: "Snickers" #060517 a sweet, gold Collie mix with a Chow tongue became homeless himself when his owner lost her home; "Star""060517purebred female German shepherd, gorgeous, needs training; "Buddy"-#060480handsome Siberian husky, best in breed experienced home.

Low Cost Spay/Neuter for your pet: Island Rescue in Bay S

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